For a retail lender or any business-to-business company in the mortgage industry, having a brand that is deemed credible and trustworthy is essential. People tend to either visit your company online or find you online as they conduct mobile or desktop searches for information. Therefore, it’s clear your online presence could help or hinder you in establishing the credibility and trustworthiness they seek.
To build this trust and credibility, having a great content strategy is going to be the foundation. The quality and quantity of your content plays a big role in what drives people to learn more about you and follow you so that you’re top of mind. Publish content that speaks to their interests and ties in with what you want them to know about your brand without being overly self-serving which turns people off.
To get started, take a look at what some of the most prominent brands in the industry are doing that you know are really getting it right. Review their blogs, Facebook posts, YouTube channels, Twitter accounts and other social media activity to learn a bit about topics being covered and those that are getting the most action (likes, comments, shares).
Also, pay attention to hot news topics and FAQ’s by your target audience(s). Both provide great topics for your content posts and driving discussions.
If you really want to build that trust and credibility, be sure to follow the “rule of thirds.” One-third of your content should be original, one-third curated and on-third about your brand.
Here are 6 basic tips you should follow to drive online credibility and trust in your company:
- Put together an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar helps you organize your thoughts for future content. This takes away the pressure of coming up with subject matter “on the fly” which can lead to a lot of pressure. You will also be able to evaluate what’s working and what’s not and then make adjustments along the way as you see fit.Quality content delivered consistently enhances your brand and trust level within the community which will help build your reach online as people will share it.
- Develop a regular schedule of publishing. A consistent flow of content will build and keep the attention of your audience. Accordingly, having a blog is an important consideration. As for distribution of blog posts, key venues you may wish to focus on include LinkedIn (for business-to-business purposes), Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Review best practices for each as they’re all very different in terms of recommended frequency of posting and the type of content you deliver, how you deliver it and specs for images.
- Spend some money on promotion: What you need to know is that we are in a pay to play environment. Paying to promote your posts on social venues is perhaps the most important thing you can do if you want to actually be seen by your target audience. Organic posts will only reach a very small, even minute portion of your target audience. In fact, there’s a recent statistic from Social@Ogilvy which suggests that for Facebook Pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach could be as low as 2%!If you have never worked with the tools that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others offer to promote your posts or develop ads, you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is and the targeting precision available. You’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along!
- As a host, you need to be prepared to “stoke the fire.” Your brand needs to actually participate and promote conversation around your content to build a community and also help drive up your search engine rankings and rankings within the specific venues. You may wish to invite people from your company to comment on your posts…but only after a conversation is started organically so that you aren’t artificially boosting your own content as this is looked down upon. Commenting by others in the company is ok, but only after a conversation is started organically.Be sure to respond to comments added to your content and add your own comments as well. Go out to like-minded web sites, LinkedIn and Facebook groups. Participate in chats and reply or re-tweet on Twitter. Just make sure you’re engaging in actual conversation and not straight promotion.No one minds you mentioning your brand when it’s appropriate but you will be flagged right away if you are spamming a conversation (commenting with an advertisement of your services).
- Stay above the fray. The more you interact online, the more likely it is you will run into someone “off-kilter” or having a bad day. Some people just enjoy being combative…whatever you say, you’re wrong and they’re smarter.When this happens, engage once assuming they didn’t mean to be rude, keeping the conversation upbeat and positive. If they don’t follow your form, just ignore them. Don’t react to any comments they post, unless you can do it keeping it positive and upbeat on your end. Using phrases like “in my opinion” or “what do you think of…” or “I appreciate your comment but could you give me more insight on…” are great ways to move a conversation in a positive, non-combative direction.Engaging “bad apples” at their level does not help your brand at all no matter how “right” you are. If someone is clearly misinformed and providing bad information, be a lady or a gentleman about it and don’t call them out for purpose of making them look bad. Use tact in addressing their mistake of fact, a private reply or just don’t engage at all.
- Use amazing images. You cannot under-estimate the importance of using great images in social medial. Did you know that articles with images get 94% more total views? Here is a fantastic blog post by Jeff Bullas that speaks to the importance of including images in your online marketing. It includes an infographic and it’s a really great read.
— John Seroka (@johnseroka) July 21, 2016