Social Media for the Referral Based Originator

The 5 keys to using social media in the mortgage industry

90% of the stuff I see originators post on social media is purely a waste of time or it doesn’t have enough of a reach to actually make an impact.  There are a ton of things an originator can do on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/LinkedIn but what I wanted to do is give you a framework so that everything you do on social has a purpose and what you do on social media will actually work. I’ve broken it down into the 5 things that will actually impact and help you grow.  With social media, it’s always changing and no one does it 100% right.  That’s ok, but most LO’s do it 10% right so I created a 5 step system to increase the impact of your posts and actually get something out of what you post.

How to successfully use social media when you don’t buy leads and have a referral-based business

  • Build your audience
  • How to Post and When to Post.  (you can’t be all mortgage all of the time)
  • Be a Habitual “liker” and “commenter”
  • Use Video:  Josh Pitts Interview
  • Be You, Be Professional, Bring Value, not just Information

The #1 thing I see missing from originators social media posts is an actual audience.  When I was building this out I went on facebook and took a sampling of originators posts then went to their page to see how many friends they had.  The average was 527 which is insanely low.

Think of it this way, when a company calls you and says “hey I want you to advertise in my magazine or my newspaper or my local publication.”  One of the first things they say is we have 10,000 subscribers, we mail to 5,000 homes in the area and on and on.  They charge by readers and how many eyeballs they can get you in front of. That’s because in marketing the goal is to get your message in front of as many people that could use your service as possible.  If you only have 500 or 600 friends there is no way you’re getting in front of enough people with your message.  So if that’s what you’re doing and you have a small friends list the only way you get something out of posting on social media is luck.

Here are the steps you need to take to build your audience

  1. Start Fresh:  Go through your friends list and see who you actually have in there and delete the people that aren’t part of your audience.  This isn’t being mean but that guy from high school, who moved out of state and you haven’t talked to for 20 years. Well, he doesn’t need to take up a spot in your audience.  I’m not saying purely look at this from a business side of things and delete anyone who isn’t a client.  I’m just saying clean it up.  Even if you haven’t talked to someone in 20 years but they still live in a state you’re licensed in, keep them on there.  It’s really just to get rid of the totally random people we all seem to accumulate over time on social media.
  2. Go through your client database and friend request as many clients as you can. This means go through to all of your past clients, current clients and anyone whose name is in your database.  That can be someone you were referred to by a realtor but never even spoke to.  Again this is just about getting as many eyeballs as you can for your message.
  3. Go through and all every realtor that you work with, every realtor that you know or have met and even ones that you haven’t met.  A pretty easy tactic is to look at all of the contracts that you’ve closed in the past couple of years and add the listing agents.
  4. Go through and add every wealth advisor, CPA, escrow officer, etc… That you know, have worked with or have friends that know them.  Again we need to get as many people in our audience as we can.
  5. Once you’ve done that wait a few days and let the social media algorithms take over.  You’ll start getting a really extensive list of  “people you may know” and then you can go through those and start friend requesting anyone that might be part of your target audience.
  6. Once that is done get in a habit whether it is daily, immediately, weekly, etc… To friend request people every someone new calls in, or you get in contract or go to an event and meet people.  If you do this little by little you won’t have to keep going back to step 1 to 4.

Keep in mind I’m not saying just add everyone to add everyone.  Facebook, for example, has a 5,000 friend max.  I’m just saying take these steps to get as large of an audience as you can to make everything you do on social media as impactful as you can make it.

How to Post and When to Post

There is an art not a science to social media posting which simply means everyone can do it differently based on their personality but there are some fundamentals that everyone needs to follow.

Create Lists out of your friends list.  This only applies to facebook since Instagram, LinkedIn etc.. Just blast it out to everyone.  What Facebook allows you to do is to create a list, for example, “clients” “realtors” “wealth advisors” “referral partners” etc.. You can get as granular as you want but keep in mind if you create a list you better be ready to post for that specific group.  If you have 50 groups it will be hard to come up with enough good content to constantly post to all 50 groups of people.

Once you create the groups you can go back to your friends list and assign each person to a specific group.  This way your entire friends list is segmented and when you post something you can specify who will actually see it on your page.  This way you’re not overloading people with things they don’t’ really care about and when you do post they are more likely to interact or look at it.

Post things of value don’t just give information and when you do it make sure you tell a story.  An example of this is every time rates drop I see at least 100 posts from LO’s with a flyer of rates or “top 10 reasons to refinance” This is just information and junk and no one who is seeing it knows what to do.  A better way would be to post a video or even a message and say “With bond markets going down today we saw banks reduce interest rates anywhere from 0.125% to 0.375% compared to yesterday.  I just got off the phone with a client of mine who was able to lock their new rate and save over $200 per month with no cost.  I’d be happy to do a free consultation for your or any of your friends and family that might benefit from this recent market move.  We never know how long these dips in markets will last so give me a call anytime and we can see if a refinance would be right for you.

Another example that drives me nut is when I see originators post something like.  “I’m always available for a pre-approval or I’m working on weekends so call me.”  That’s just desperate and you’re really not providing any value other than you will answer your phone.  A better way to get the same point across would be to have a post or video saying.  “I just got done with a  clients pre-approval planning meeting so they can go out and confidently look at homes this weekend.  We were able to establish the specific price point they should be looking in, a payment that they are comfortable with and also determine what the true cost of waiting would be if they don’t find the right house this weekend.  Feel free to call and I’m happy to build a mortgage plan tailored to your specific situation.”

Post things that are personal so people actually get to know you as you.  The major issue with social media is that 98% of the stuff on there is just fluff.  You only see people when they are happy or faking that they are happy or when they are trying to sell you something.  Because of this people don’t pay attention to most of what they see and the true power in posting is being authentic.  Your audience will cut through the garbage really fast but if you’re being authentic and the real you, it will stop them in their tracks and you’ll catch their attention.  I’m sure everyone is thinking “Oh let me post something with my kids, or my wife, or on vacation.”

While I’m not saying that isn’t good or something you should do that’s not what I’m getting at.  Let’s say you just closed a really challenging loan that you’re proud of.  Take 3 minutes and make a video talking about that transaction and why you worked so hard and how it made you feel.  Let’s say you reach a goal whether it’s monthly or yearly it doesn’t matter.  Post that but don’t do it in a bragging way, the theme should be why you’re proud, “our team just closed XXX in volume and when I look back this is the reason we set these goals.  We were able to help XX number of families become homeowners and not just own a home but own it confidently knowing they have a true mortgage plan in place and will be able to build their lives in this home.”  these are just a couple examples but be honest and give your audience some insight to you as a person not just you as a lender.

Post things that are engaging and that you can tag people in.  The average person on Facebook has 500 friends.  If you post something and you tag someone in or you tag 10 people in that shows up on their feed or they engage in you just got 500 people that may not know you to see your name.  That’s free branding and it’s branding in a positive way.  The easiest is when a client closes taking a picture at closing and tagging them in it but I think that’s been played out.  I won’t say don’t do this I’m just not a huge fan.

What if at the end of each month you took every loan that you closed and said thank you to every realtor that was involved and tagged each of them in it?  What if you tagged all your past clients and said: “in the spirit of the holiday season we’re asking all of our past clients to post the funniest picture of their children during the holidays.”  We’ll donate $100 to Toys for Tots in the names of the winners. There are a million things you can do but before you post just think.  Can this engage people or will they just scroll over it?

Post Often but not too much.  This is my biggest pet peeve the originator who posts 10 times a day, has no following and the only reason people don’t block them is they feel bad.  Yes, you need to be top of mind and active but you can’t be the person who cries wolf.  The general rule of thumb is to post 3 to 5 times per week and use the principles I’ve gone over in this section.  Keep in mind this doesn’t have to always be in a professional environment.  I’d take a great post with value sitting in your car that was off the cuff over a fully produced post that only provides data and doesn’t give your audience anything they can use.  A great way is to hold yourself to a schedule.

For example, come up with something that is consistent like “Mortgage Monday’s” where you post something on mortgages every Monday, then on Tuesdays, you post something engaging your audience.  Wednesday’s you post something personal, Friday’s you post something to wrap up the week.  This is just an example and it could be anything but this will hold you accountable to actually posting and it will also give your audience something that they can count on.

Be a habitual Liker and Commenter

What is a habitual liker and commenter?  Well, it’s one of the most important things when you’re trying to run a referral-based business on social media.  I actually know a few LO’s that don’t post much but every day they engage in other peoples posts.  They are super successful doing this because let’s face it “people care more about what they post than you do.”

Yeah, that’s true even if you posted the winning lottery numbers the day before the drawing 50% of the people would still care more about their own opinion of how Game of Thrones ended.”  So take that into account, scroll through check-in with your clients, comment on their pictures at their house, like their family photoshoot, tell them congrats when something big happens in their lives. This is going to go much further with building clients for life than any market update will every will.

A couple of ground rules
  1. Don’t stalk people don’t comment on every single thing they post, that’s just weird.  Have some sort of plan where you comment on 20 people a week and never back to back weeks.  Just be reasonable about it and the point is letting them know you remember them.
  2. By you making them feel as if they are top of mind that is in fact making you top of mind.  A ‘like’ isn’t that powerful but if they have a BBQ on 4th of July and post a picture if you comment and say “glad you’re enjoying the house have a great 4th”
  3. For every 1 post you make, you should make between 5 to 10 comments on their posts or pages. This is a great mix and I think most LO’s do it the opposite way.  Comment and like your clients and referral partners stuff more than you post yourself.

Use Video

So we all know that video is taking over social media and I’m not talking about 20-minute novels I’m talking about things that actually work.  For today’s episode, I wanted to bring on a friend of mine in the industry who posts more videos than anyone I’ve ever met.  I’m not sure if there is a way to measure it but if there was I bet Josh would be top 5 of overall social media video’s posted if not #1.  So who better to go over how to do a video with an impact on social media.

  1. I hear this all of the time, “I’m not good on video so I don’t do it”  what would you say to that?
  2. How important is it to be scripted or is better to shoot from the hip or somewhere in between?
  3. What is the best social media video you’ve ever done or is there a theme to the videos that have had a ton of success?
  4. When you’re going to do a video what is your plan?  Meaning do you just grab your phone and go, do you have a full professional setup what does that look like?
  5. Is there any scenario that someone shouldn’t do video?  I had a buddy say he “has a face for radio” so he doesn’t want to do it.  Is there a scenario that people should just skip it in today’s market?

Be You, Be Professional, Bring value, Not just information

I want to wrap up this series with something that I think is the biggest key to social media in the mortgage industry.  It’s really 2 parts and beyond all the other things we’ve talked about if you use these as your standard for posting you’ll be much better off than your competition.

Be You and Be Professional:  I see too many people faking it on social media or they are too uptight.  Be you, say what you think, don’t be afraid if it upsets some people but always be professional.  This is a really fine line to walk but you have to walk it.  I can’t tell you how many times I see something on facebook and I want to comment and say something that is really how I feel, but then when I take a step back and ask myself is that professional is that something I’d say in a board meeting?  If the answer is no then don’t say it.

If you can make a comment that is 100% real and it’s also professional then it’s ok to post.  The opposite goes because you could post something that is super professional or politically correct but if that’s not you or how you really fell then don’t post that either.  Make sure checks both boxes before you put it out there since once it’s out there you can never get it back.

The final thing is to make sure you’re posts bring value not just information and what I mean by that is you can post on the same thing 2 different ways.  For example, if someone posts about interest rate dropping and they say “Interest rates have dropped call me for a quote I’d love to refinance you.”

That’s just information your audience can get this on google, Zillow or anywhere else they go online.

But if you say “Interest rates are down 0.25% from last week which is the lowest in 2 years.”  Just today I’ve locked 3 loans for clients whose combined savings is over $1,000 per month and if they re-invested that savings they would be able to increase their net worth by over $280,000 in the next 30 years. If your rate is over 4.5% you should re-evaluate your current situation and give yourself the peace of mind that you have the right mortgage for your overall financial plan.

There are a 100 examples I could give but I think sticking to these 2 fundamentals will increase your social media presence and will create an immediate impact to your posts.

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