Downturns are inevitable in the mortgage industry. They’re part of the cycle. They can fill you with dread as they’re always leering just over the horizon, taunting you with their inevitable presence.
The good news is that because you know it’s coming, you can prepare for it. When it hits, you’re not left wringing your hands with anxiety and wondering what to do. The plans, practices and actions you put in place now will be the exact things that carry you through when the market gets tough. These are the things that can make all the difference between sailing through and going out of business.
The more you showcase who you are to people, the more trust you’ll build with them.
One of the most important, underrated and underutilized branding methods to reach your audience is social media. Many mortgage originators think of social media as a marketing tool, and while that’s part of how it functions, social media actually goes much deeper than that.
Social media is your branding hub. It’s the place where people get to know you. Expect prospects to check out your social media presence, maybe even before going to your website. Your prospects want to see who you are, how you operate and what your personality is like. With all of the information of the internet at their fingertips, most audience members learn everything they can about you before approaching you about working together.
This also is true for referral partners. As you build out your referral network, these people want to see the “who” behind the “what.” Out-standing service and clarity around what you provide are no longer enough to stand out, win business or attract referral partners. All of these things require a deeper understanding of the human behind the business.
There are several elements for building your brand with your social media presence that you need to consider. These include marketing, storytelling, education and personality.
Marketing on your social platforms is a non-negotiable. You need to get your message in front of the right people and make sure that your content is consistently attracting them. This is why using your social presence as a channel to market your services is vital.
There’s always someone new to the industry who doesn’t understand what to do, how things work or what they should pay attention to. This is where you come in to support them, as well as to make offers. The best marketing educates your audience about your industry.
What do they need to know and what do they often get wrong? There may be myths or misconceptions they believe that are keeping them from getting what they want. Provide the tips and tricks that your audience needs to know to get themselves into a home faster. For example, there could be some new grants, loan programs or industry information that would be important for prospective buyers to know about.
There are so many things that you know about the mortgage industry that you take for granted by assuming that “everyone knows that.” These are usually the things that your audience struggles with and your insights could make all the difference. So, when you’re putting together marketing campaigns for your social media presence, make sure that you’re leaning into educating your audience as well as selling to them.
One of the most effective ways to frame your content and marketing is with storytelling. You may have heard the quote, “Facts tell, but stories sell,” by marketing expert Bryan Eisenberg. It’s true, because stories allow your prospects to see what the process of working with you, speaking with you or being in your presence is like. It also gives you the power to show them that you understand what it’s like to be in their shoes.
For example, let’s say there’s a couple looking to buy their first home before they have a baby. They saved for their deposit, did the hard work of getting their credit scores where they should be and finally found their dream starter home. They went to another mortgage originator to close the deal and lost the home because of some administrative issues on that person’s part.
If you’re sharing a story on your social media platforms that describes how you helped someone else in a similar situation, this will draw the attention of the audience member. These prospects will know that they can trust you and you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from other loan officers without saying, “I’m different.”
These storytelling posts also give you the power to showcase how you really feel about your audience, the people you work with and the things that are important to you. This creates more intimacy with your followers and lets them see you as a real person, not just an expert. The more things you can do to build trust with your audience in simple, authentic ways — such as adding storytelling to some of your content — will increase both the quantity and quality of your leads.
One of the biggest mistakes that originators make when it comes to building their online social presence is that they try to make it all about the service they provide. The problem with this approach is that it’s sterile and unapproachable. You want to give off the vibe that prospects can start a conversation with you, and that you’re warm and receptive to others.
Of course, your audience wants a professional who can get things done, but that’s considered a given by the fact that this is your trade. The more that you try to come off as “professional,” the more you’re going to be perceived as an expert with zero personality that no one wants to work with.
Instead, focus on your personality traits. Are you goofy and silly? Are you warm and nurturing? Is your personality more sarcastic? Are you a family- and charity-oriented person? Explain what makes you someone that other people want to be around. The more you showcase these pieces of your life and personality, the more your audience will gravitate toward you, and you’ll become more likely to be the only person that they want to do business with. Here are some examples for showcasing your personality that can get your wheels turning.
• Did you feed the homeless over the weekend or did you go to a charity event last week? Post about it.
• Did your child land the lead role in the school play or are you celebrating an anniversary with your partner? Post about it.
• Is there an art project or model-car activity you’ve been working on? Post about it.
• Do you love to cook or are you obsessed with your pets? Post about it.
• Are you a Marvel Universe lover or do you engage in cosplay in your off hours? Post about it.
The more you showcase who you are to people, the more trust you’ll build with them. Posts like these also are great ways to generate conversations that can lead to referrals, deals and other benefits that you may not see coming. Don’t allow yourself to become so narrowly focused with a single sale that you lose sight of all of the possibilities that networking in this way can create for you.
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Building a social media presence is a non-negotiable if you want to thrive through the eventual and inevitable downturn. The key here is to consistently implement these concepts — even if you’re not seeing results right away.
It can take three to six months to really get going with your social presence. The key is to not give up, stay consistent and get support if you need it. That’s how you’ll build a solid network of people who trust you and are happy to do business with you. ●