Use These 5 Steps to Conquer FREE Social Media Lead Gen
There's no shortage of ways that you can pay to advertise or generate leads online. It seems like mortgage professionals especially deal with a bombardment of offers and ads trying to get them to invest in online lead generation either through a marketing agency or through a lead vendor. There's a lot of noise to weed through, and if you can't afford to risk your investment, you probably should be waiting until you can afford to lose some money to choose which one is right for you. This of course, or you can just book a call with us at Empower Funnels. We know what we're doing and have the results to prove it 🙂
Seriously though, if you haven't yet figured out a method of paid marketing that works for your business, you still should be generating leads. If you're not the type to go out and spend your free time doing cold walk-ins at real estate offices or to pick up the phone and start "dialing for dollars", then you're probably either screwing around on the internet already in your free time, or spending way too much time hovering over your operations staff making sure that everything goes perfectly with your loans. The next time you catch yourself doing either of these two items, try working through these steps to generating leads on social media instead:
1. Begin by Making Yourself Known and Recognized
This goes for your primary social media platform that you use currently. Preferably, and for most people, this is Facebook. But it works for any social media platform, so if you're a LinkedIn junkie, or you think Facebook is dead and have been hanging out on Instagram, this applies to you too.
You've got to start all of this by getting people used to seeing your face and reading your "voice" online. For this step, you want to make sure you're posting on your primary social media channel 3-5x a day. That's right, per DAY. Why do we do this? Because social media channels make money by keeping YOU on their platform. Their time on platform metrics and the engagement levels their users have is what allows them to go to advertisers and demand a premium to advertise on their platform. So the goal of any social media platform is to keep users online as much as possible. This means that if you post content that engages your following often, you will be rewarded and preferred by the social media channels and your content will be shown to even more people.
Notice I said, "if you post content that engages your following." This piece is crucial. Gone are the days where you can curate a bunch of links to outside websites and post them on your channel and expect to be rewarded. No, you need to post original, engaging content. Some ideas for this are asking for recommendations, posing thought-provoking questions, posting images/videos of you and/or your family, light-hearted jokes, polls, "caption this" posts, inspirational messages, etc. You want to be careful with this to ensure that you aren't being too generic, otherwise, your engagement will be short-lived as will your success on social media.
Another important aspect to this step is to be sure you're engaging with other users online. Comment, like, and share your target audiences content regularly. Social media channels will reward you for this behavior, but it also creates a stronger connection both mentally and digitally with your prospects. The more you engage with their content, the more they will see yours (as long as they aren't completely disinterested in what you put out, in which case again your success will be short-lived).
2. Use Groups, Communities, and Hashtags to Find Your Prospects
As a mortgage professional you have two sets of clients to appeal to. I always tell loan officers to make their social media content tailored towards the consumer and not to referral partners. Why is this? Well because real estate agents are naturally drawn to any post that is real estate related or anything that they feel like will help them improve their ability to help their clients moving forward. What this means is that if you make posts that are tailored towards helping and engaging with borrowers, Real Estate Agents are still going to engage with those posts as if the content was geared towards them. The same cannot be said if your marketing is geared towards real estate agents, and doing that creates an ambiguous message for your potential borrower prospects that are following you on social media.
That being said, that doesn't mean you can't find/don't interact with potential referral partners on social media. It just means that you're going to be able to stay in front of these guys with your consumer-directed content. One way that you can find potential referral partners is by hanging out in groups and communities online, as well as finding relevant hashtags. The hashtags idea can apply to pretty much any social media outlet, so let's start there. Whatever social media channel you're on, try searching the hashtag #CITYrealestate or #CITYrealtor. Obviously, insert whatever city you live in, and then check out the results. You should be able to find local agents that are active on social media this way. Now you can begin engaging with these users and build relationships with them around your mutual affinity towards using social media to grow your business.
You can also use the groups and communities functions on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to begin adding value in the numerous groups dedicated to real estate listings or real estate networking in your area. You want to make sure with these approaches that you're leading your relationships with value, and not just "sliding into their DMs." There is no quicker way of turning a potential relationship cold than to spam a prospect that doesn't know you with unsolicited messages that don't add value.
Groups and communities are also useful for identifying borrower prospects. Every community has Buy/Sell/Trade groups and Garage Sale groups dedicated to building a network within the local community to connect and do light business transactions.
You like that spin I put in there? If you ask someone who does business in Buy/Sell/Trade groups, 99/100 of them will never use the words "doing business" in reference to the groups. But psychologically, we know that's why they're there. They just aren't committed enough to use those words to describe selling the occasional piece of furniture or buying used goods.
The fact is though, that you have a community of people that are more willing to talk business than those that are just hanging out on their timelines/news feeds. Once again though, you need to be careful with this approach. Number one, don't spam unsuspecting people. You need to contribute, become known, and add value to be able to reach out to others in the groups without being banned or reported. Also important to know, is that if you throw a post out in the group saying "I can get you approved even if others can't" or anything along those lines, YOU WILL get a lot of people inquiring. From experience, and from other Loan Officers experiences, I can tell you this is not an approach that is a valuable use of your time. You will rack up so many credit report charges without fruit to show for it, you just might get a phone call from your manager and then you'll have to explain that you basically put out an ad that said "I will waste my time processing applications for anyone who will take the time to submit one."
3. Automate/Leverage, But Not Too Much
Posting 3-5x a day is a lot, as is identifying new prospects and engaging with potential prospects online. In order to do this effectively without letting social media control your life, you need to find a way to automate or leverage these tasks.
Automation is becoming less and less Facebook friendly, so I recommend using it sparingly on this platform in particular. Really the extent of being able to automate your Facebook presence, because of the lockdown they have been able to keep their platform under, is scheduling your posts with a post scheduler like ContentStudio, Buffer, or Hootsuite. The problem is, Facebook will penalize your placement in other people's feeds when you post from a third party like this. That's not to say you can't still get engagement, or that those tools don't have their place, but you want to make sure you aren't posting EVERYTHING from there. I'd say keep it to 50% or less of your posts if possible, but this will allow you to schedule 2 posts a day a week ahead of time, and then allow your other 2-3 posts a day to come to you naturally (which will get easier over time). Really your best bet with Facebook is to develop a system for mapping out the majority of your Facebook posts ahead of time, and either time blocking multiple times per day for you to post these personally without the aid of a third party scheduling platform, or outsource the posting of these posts to either a virtual assistant or a support staff member of your team if you have one.
That being said, for other platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, automation tools are available everywhere. The tools you use are not usually affiliated with or supported by the platforms themselves, and if not used carefully can actually land you in some trouble with them if you aren't careful. Mind you, when I say trouble what I really mean is you can get your account suspended for periods of time and eventually banned if you don't change your behavior. However, if used properly, these tools can be used to connect with and follow with people you define by anything from frequently used hashtags, to job title and work history. Not only can you connect with and follow these people, you can also create automated rules for engaging with your prospects with activities that include commenting on or liking their posts, or messaging them directly.
I won't mention any tools by name here since they change frequently and don't have any affiliation with the platforms. However, I do recommend that you look into these options for yourself. Just go to Google and type in "Automate your ____" and fill in the blank with Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagram and you'll see tools that can be used to infinitely expand your social media outreach.
4. Become Omnipresent
Name the first 5 brands that come to your mind. Now think about all of the places that you see advertisements for those brands. Chances are, you selected brands that practice this concept of omnipresence, or put another way, brands that are visible everywhere you go. Once you get your social media strategy established for one channel, whether or not you have that perfected, it's time to start expanding to other channels so that you can be the brand people in your circles think of when it comes to mortgages.
The way I recommend doing this is to focus your energy primarily on Facebook initially since Facebook truly is the number one platform for social engagement. From there, use the tools in step 3 to automate a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. It's okay if these channels take a while to grow, they aren't where your primary focus is. However, you should have a game plan for building out these channels over time to not only become omnipresent but to diversify and protect yourself from Facebook and it's everchanging environment.
Also, if you haven't already, start using video in your marketing. This is a separate topic altogether, but I had to throw this in there since another channel you should be using to create omnipresence is YouTube. YouTube has the potential to wipe out Facebook if it continues to build on its social environment, and it's because of the ridiculous amount of engagement that video content inherently brings with it.
5. Add ALL of Your Prospects/Leads and ENGAGE With Them
Look, if the idea of this freaks you out, then you're probably using social media wrong in the first place. If you're going to use social media for your business, you need to go all in on the idea of using it for your business. If you're the type of person who loves using social media for personal reasons, you either need to kick that terrible habit or create a separate profile just for friends and family. Does this mean that you can't be yourself on social media? HELL NO. Ideally, you're comfortable being yourself and using your portrayal of yourself as a way to attract like-minded professionals and prospects. However, for some people, this can be intimidating, and in these cases, I say focus on providing for your family first, and you can figure out intertwining your personal enjoyment and your business use later on.
When I interact with a new lead, the first thing I do is go and find them on my social media channels and add them. When I do this, I now have created multiple lines of communication with the prospect that allow me to stay in front of them without even doing anything beyond what I was already doing. What this also does is it creates an easy transition into being able to DM your prospects to get ahold of them or even better, to ask for referrals. Think about it, obviously calling to ask for referrals is your best option for warm relationships with past clients or friends/family. But what if you're not the type of LO that builds those kinds of relationships with every single one of your clients? I know I have past clients that I wouldn't feel comfortable calling out of the blue for a referral... However, messaging these clients on Facebook to check in with something like "Hey! Saw the picture of you and the kids you just posted. Glad to see you guys are doing so well! It's been a while since we chatted last, are you guys still enjoying your house?" No one answers no to this question, and if they do, it's a huge opportunity to impress with your level of service if you can help them solve a problem. At the point that they answer yes, they are enjoying their new home, you can respond with something like, "That's great!! I'm trying to help some more families like yours get into a home they can enjoy and call their own. Do you happen to know anyone who's talked about moving or buying a house recently?" And the rest is history.
IMPORTANT: Don't Let This Consume You
Being active on social media can be a full-time job. However, unless you REALLY know what you're doing, there is no reason you should be spending more than an hour a day on managing ALL of your platforms. If you're spending more time than that, scale back until you're ready to outsource or leverage some of the tasks to someone else. It is far too easy to get sucked into any social media channel and feel like you're being productive when in all actuality you're not getting any closer to your next deal. Don't fall into this trap. Use Social Media as a tool, don't let the companies that are making millions off of your attention use you.
If your problem is that you need more leads, I've got a better solution for you than figuring this all out. Can you generate leads on social media? Of course you can. But it's not an end-all-be-all and it should be used as a supplement to your current lead generation. If you don't have lead generation systems in place now, check us out at https://www.empowerfunnels.com.
Otherwise, be sure to join our Facebook group for more tips and tricks like these. I'm very active in there and it's a sales-free environment where you can get all of your digital age mortgage marketing questions answered.
As always, thanks for reading, and I'll see you at the top!