In 2018, having a social media marketing strategy is a must-have component for every loan officer, whether they are growth-minded or simply wanting to maintain and strengthen existing relationships.
Just a few years ago not everybody would have considered social media to be such an important piece of their business. So why is social media marketing now so important for loan officers and other business professionals?
Because a vast majority of people spend a whole lot of their time consuming what they see and read on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and others.
And no, we’re not talking about kids firing off Snaps to each other.
In fact, according to a Pew Research Center study published in March of 2018, 68% of adults in the U.S. use Facebook. And roughly three-quarters of those adults use the platform daily.
This is why having an idea of how you will implement social media marketing is so important. Will you use paid social channels? Distribute content? Run promotions? Who are you trying to reach?
How LOs Use Organic Social Media Marketing
When it comes to organic social media for businesses (and yes, you should create a business page and not use a personal profile) there are some realities that need to be addressed first and foremost.
Not all that long ago it was possible for a business to develop a following, distribute content and updates that would be easily seen by those followers, and have a pretty streamlined way to connect with people. But now it is more difficult to do those things without putting dollars behind them.
Posting an update to Facebook or LinkedIn no longer makes it’s way to the newsfeed, unless sponsored. Social media companies are businesses too and rely on revenues generated through advertisements and sponsored content.
And while there is still good reason to push content and updates to these sites for the benefit of browsers on your page, it does change the best practices for realizing value in social media marketing when you don’t want to or don’t have the budget to spend money.
In general, this has meant a shift away from the “content is king” paradigm and an embracing of personal engagement.
Although this type of strategy requires time and effort for yourself or whomever on your team manages the social accounts, it is an excellent way to build and reinforce relationships with referral partners and past-clients. For some originators, their entire business is based on the referrals made by partners and former clients, making it even more valuable to stay top-of-mind in as many ways as possible.
Set aside time every day to like, comment, and share from your business’ page.
Organizing an open house or lunch-and-learn? Don’t just post it as an update that nobody will see. Communicate directly with referral partners about news or events relative to their business. Ask them to share with other agents who might be interested, giving you the opportunity to meet more people.
How Originators Can Leverage Paid Social Media
Across platforms, there are usually two primary ways you can put money behind your social media marketing: ads and sponsored/boosted posts.
Running ads can get complicated, and expensive, very fast. They’re definitely not for everyone, but they are undoubtedly powerful tools for reaching targeted audiences. You can target people who’ve visited your website, or who follow other pages or based upon their demographics or interests.
But is running social media ads really an effective strategy for an LO? It depends.
As we mentioned, the cost of these ads can snowball pretty quickly. Unless your budget is limitless, you’ll want to have a very specific purpose for going this direction, with a very targeted audience, and a limited duration for the campaign.
Most LOs who want to invest marketing dollars into paid social prefer to use the other primary tool at their disposal: sponsored posts.
Sponsored posts are exactly what they sound like. Remember how we said earlier that your posts don’t organically mix into your follower’s news feed? Sponsoring your updates not only helps overcome that hurdle but also lets you expand on your network to reach to a custom audience – which you pay for via impressions or clicks.
One big advantage to sponsoring your updates versus running them as ads are the format with which they are displayed to people.
On platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn, ads appear in the sidebar and look and feel like you would expect an ad to. Sponsored posts, on the other hand, are shown in the primary news feed and are designed to look very similar to any other organic post making them more likely to be seen, read, and engaged with.
If paid social sounds interesting to you, try to dip your toe in on their dime. Most platforms will run special promotions for first-timers every now and then to offer free credits to get you started.
Whether you decide to dip that toe or stick to the safer shores of organic social media marketing, it is imperative as a loan officer to use the tools available to you in order to communicate and engage on a personal level with prospects, partners, and past clients. Your bottom-line will appreciate the boost to repeat and referral business.