BLOG VIEW: Loan officers have a lot to worry about, from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule, to if and when the Fed will move rates, to how to help the next client. With so much going on, trying to succeed with social media marketing should not be an extra burden. Yet for many lenders, concerns about social media compliance are actually keeping them from leveraging this powerful medium.
I believe more mortgage companies would embrace social media if they had some guidance. So, I’ve laid out what I believe to be the four keys to developing a successful, compliant social media campaign.
Have A Policy
A social media policy is a must for lenders. A policy establishes guidelines that prevent confusion over what is and is not allowed on social media, protecting both the lender and the loan officer. All employees should be educated on the policy so they can’t say “I didn’t know” later. Ideally, the policy will help those less experienced with social media learn to do it safely.
A good social media policy should align with federal and state advertising regulations. It should also include rules such as publishing your NMLS number and other required legal disclosures. And it should include what not to publish.
For example, Mortgage Network’s social media policy doesn’t allow loan officers to post rates on Facebook and other outlets. It may sound far-fetched, but anyone could screenshot a post displaying rates, crop it and try to demand the same rate a week later after the rate has increased.
Be Creative And Engage
Creative and fun posts, videos and tools like Facebook Live will help to build engagement on your pages. This is true for almost every platform, including Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. So share your own commentary or fun jokes and memes. Remember that not everything has to do with mortgages. However, LinkedIn is a more professional platform, so these posts should reflect a more business-to-business networking and informative feel.
Be kind to other business pages by sharing your favorite Realtor’s open house, announcements from other businesses and interesting links that might be informative to your followers. Become a resource to those who need help with specific types of financing, such as Veterans Affairs or 203k, by answering frequently asked questions about the mortgage process – but refrain from the “hard sell.”
Consistency is key to building followers on social media. You could hire an assistant, use posting software or do both. There are many options available. However, I would caution against relying too heavily on automated posts. Your page may lose out on the engagement it needs, which will hurt your sales success.
If you or your assistant will be taking on the job, a posting calendar is a good idea. Plan out your posts on all social media platforms at least a month ahead so you are never scrambling for “what to post next.” Mix things up with text updates, engaging images, events, videos, informative or fun articles and testimonials.
Exposure Equals Growth
Remember that the goal on social media is to increase not only sales, but also your exposure as the “go to” resource for mortgage information. Advertising on social media can help. Facebook has many options to target the exact type of consumer you are looking for. Twitter ads can help build followers, too. LinkedIn blog postings will help to position you as the resource for all things mortgage. All of these should be part of an overall marketing/advertising plan.
If you are advertising online, use the same ad or images in an email campaign and send out at the same time. Promote the ads in your online posts, and post the images to Pinterest and Instagram. Consistent messages across all platforms both social and traditional should be the rule, not the exception.
The “call-to-action” button on Facebook is a fairly new feature, located below your cover image. You can use this to encourage visitors to watch a video, call you or apply online. You should enable reviews and tagging on your Facebook page so visitors can read all of your fabulous testimonials, as well as let others tag your page in their posts. These steps will give you more visibility and help with page promotion.
At the end of the day, it is possible to be successful and compliant on social media, and you don’t need to be a social media expert to achieve it. If you can create and follow a policy, stay consistent, engage and increase your exposure, social media could be the boost to your bottom line that you are looking for.
Maureen Cioni is the social media manager for Danvers, Mass.-based Mortgage Network Inc., one of the largest independent mortgage lenders in the eastern U.S. A marketing and communications expert with 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry, Cioni is responsible for promoting Mortgage Network Inc. through social media, as well as providing social media training for loan officers and expanding the company’s Web presence.