Communicating with your customers and prospects is more complex than it has ever been. The sheer volume of information on the Internet adds a lot of noise to your messaging. Learn how we help mortgage lenders, B2B mortgage industry service providers, and the real estate industry use social media to build relationships with their target audience.
The buyer path is much more complex than it ever used to be. This is due to the sheer volume of information on the Internet and social networks that connect people all over the world, building their circles of influence. Thus, people now travel a much less linear path to making decisions as they engage on social platforms, garnering insight in a variety of content formats. Due to the popularity of key social networks, mortgage lenders, B2B mortgage industry service providers and the real estate industry have been using them successfully to create awareness and engage with home buyers and businesses for years now.
Many companies that provide real estate-related services are still having trouble keeping up with this trend and key strategies missing out on significant opportunity to connect with their audiences. Either they don’t engage on these networks or fail to do so in a meaningful way with a proper strategy. Those that are engaging properly have been shown to have a distinct competitive advantage. If it was not worthwhile, the biggest companies you compete with are smart enough not to waste their money on such silly things!
Leveraging social media and doing it well is no longer be a competitive advantage, it is now a necessity. It has been for a while now.
According to Pew, 7% of American adults were using social media in 2005. As of their study in 2015, that number jumped to 65%. And, in 2021, 72% of the U.S. population use at least one social network.
Is social media good for me and my company?
Social media is about communicating with people. For those who think that a social media strategy is unnecessary because their target audience are other businesses, too “serious-minded” or don’t have time, remember, businesses are made up of people. They engage in a range of topics both on and off the job, including on various social platforms which presents a great opportunity to target them with the right strategy. They seek information and advice on everything ranging from the best running shoes to mortgage compliance technology and CRMs.
Leveraging social media platforms to target specific audiences must be an integral part of your marketing mix. This is true for almost every business I can think of in the mortgage and real estate industry.
Therefore, knowing which social networks various demographic groups use – whether at home or at work – is an important component of a marketing strategy. Additionally, since these platforms really want you to pay money to reach a substantial portion of your target audience, using their pay to play marketing portals is critically important. A purely organic strategy that relies on the free tools provided by social networks to build a community only reaches a very small percentage of your audience.
Your social media strategy needs to include…
- Your business goals for using social media, such as increasing your brand awareness, retaining customers or reducing marketing costs.
- Achievable marketing objectives, such as identifying how many leads you wish to generate, marketing cost-per-closed you wish to achieve, or cost per click.
- Analytics and tracking tools you will use to ensure you can measure how you are performing against your objectives and what adjustments in strategy need to be made.
- Who your target audiences are and what makes them tick – examples for targeting can include their age range, occupation, income, interests, challenges, likes, dislikes, objectives and motivations.
- Competitive research – what networks key competitors use and what their content strategy is in terms of topics covered, post frequency and anything else you can discern.
- Which and how many social media platforms you are going to use. This should be based on audience demographics, your bandwidth and budget for paid promotions.
- A content strategy – identify the type of content you will post, time of day you’ll post it and how frequently.
- A budget that is based on the objectives you’ve outlined and the tactics you’ve chosen to execute your social media strategy.
- Assignment of internal roles and responsibilities for creating content, curating content, posting content, managing your social media activities and measuring them.
- Ability to adapt. Your social media marketing strategy should not be written in stone. As you move forward, adapt quickly and introduce the necessary changes to your overall strategy.
Which social media sites are “necessities” and why…
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C firm, the social media sites you include in your strategy should be based on site demographics and whether your target audience falls within the demographic audiences the site is geared toward. For example, if you’re a retail mortgage lender, you could make a great argument for Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok. You could also look at LinkedIn for recruiting purposes and branch acquisition.
Top engagement activities
Variety is a key factor to keep your audience interested and engaged. Without successful engagement, your social media strategy will fail. Here are some recommended activities that nurture genuine engagement:
- Upload interesting videos – Engaging your target audience with videos is becoming increasingly important. With the explosive rise of video apps and and now the explosive rise of TikTok, video has never been more popular, both live and pre-recorded. Mastering these tools can push you ahead of your competitors when it comes to social media engagement.
- Incorporate hashtags – Searching for content is easier when hashtags are used – even for people who aren’t following you. But, be careful. If you overdo it, your engagement will drop especially if your hashtags are very loosely relevant or worse, not relevant to the content.
- Start a dialogue – When you ask questions on social media, you will get responses which can help establish a two-way dialogue with your followers. Questions help increase your comments and likes too. Also, participate on forums like LinkedIn Groups or any relevant groups in other platforms like Facebook. Answer questions in your area of expertise to engage with group members and establish your brand as a credible source of information.
- Focus on “how to” content –Provide solutions that help people solve their problems. An effective content marketing strategy helps your followers understand how your service, technology or product can make their lives easier when it comes to the home search, home financing or providing a smoother customer experience. “How to” content typically drives higher levels of engagement.
- Include a Call to Action – Ask your audience to respond to your post and tell them how to do it! A call to action is an essential element to include in your social media posts if you want to increase engagement and your ROI. If you ask them to “Click Here, Subscribe Now, or Learn More,” this creates a sense of urgency and can increase conversion rates by 38%!
- Showcase your knowledge on LinkedIn – With LinkedIn’s publishing option you can easily boost engagement because LinkedIn notifies your network whenever you publish a new post. In addition, posts that are viewed often are picked up by LinkedIn Pulse, which will boost your views and engagement that much more.
- Avoid overdoing self-promotion – The best way to become acknowledged as a source for useful content is to follow the rule of thirds. Be sure to share content relevant to your audience, both original and curated that answers questions. Also, share information about who you are as a company, what you believe in, philanthropic efforts, etc.
- Feature customer testimonials– Provide social proof that your company is legit by sharing great customer reviews or testimonials. It lends credibility to your brand and demonstrates that you value your customers’ feedback. And posting positive customer reviews have a way of encouraging more customers to share their own experiences with your brand.
- Repurpose your content – People consume content differently. So, it’s a good idea to take the text you post and repurpose it into a video, podcast, or even an infographic. This will help you engage with a much broader audience than if you only create content in one format.
Social media platforms will continue to evolve and come and go. But what they won’t do is go away. Statistics point to an upward trend in engagement across all generations. Therefore, now is the time to get it right so you don’t get left behind and then struggle to catch up with your competitors!