The social media revolution – how has it changed mortgage brokering?

With social media usage set to rocket in the coming years, the opportunities for the mortgage brokering sector are clear

The social media revolution – how has it changed mortgage brokering?

As the mortgage industry has evolved over the years, one of the most striking developments – particularly during the past decade – has been the prevalence of mortgage professionals utilizing social media as a tool for their own marketing.

After all, the stats speak for themselves. At the end of 2021, Facebook users in Canada numbered more than 27 million, according to market and consumer data company Statista. Nearly 20 million Canadians use LinkedIn, said the same company, while Instagram is projected to have over 14 million users across the country by next year.

Those stunning figures show the vast opportunity that exists for agents and brokers in getting their name out and establishing themselves as a reputable first call for mortgage shoppers – especially with social media only set to continue its stratospheric growth in the coming years.

Indeed, a Statista report from February indicated that Canada “has one of the world’s most connected online populations” with more than 96% of internet users across the country set to embrace social media by 2026.

Not only that: the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have contributed to a surge in the amount of time that Canadians are spending online in general. According to a June 2021 report on the issue, three-quarters of Canadians aged 15 and older had engaged in internet-related activities more often since the onset of the pandemic, including a huge percentage (90%) of those aged 15 to 34.

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With that in mind, is it any surprise that the nation’s mortgage agents and brokers have been turning in increasing numbers to social media to get their message out? Liane Moskal (pictured top), an Ottawa-based agent with KeyRate, barely used social media in a professional capacity when working for a bank – but decided to get started when she moved into the broker space three years ago.

Moskal, who was named KeyRate’s Top Social Influencer in 2020, told Canadian Mortgage Professional that she had upped the ante with her use of social media to promote her services at the onset of the pandemic with Instagram having served as a particularly useful tool.

That platform’s Stories function – which allows users to create posts that disappear after 24 hours, and to which other users can respond with private messages – is an effective way of creating content that earns high engagement from prospective and existing clients.

“I started using it a lot more when the pandemic hit because I knew a lot of people were home and on social media more,” she said. “I mostly use Stories, because I just find they’re more interactive.

“When it’s a [public] post, someone’s not going to ask you a question, but if they see a Story they can message and have a private conversation. It’s just a lot easier for people to ask questions.”

When used effectively, social media can showcase a mortgage professional’s expertise and grasp of difficult subjects – particularly in a market that’s become significantly more complex in recent times.

Moskal said that hosting Q&As, and participating in Instagram Live sessions with other brokers, were some of the ways that she utilized the site for business purposes, with speaking to camera one of the main ways of speaking directly to a large number of potential clients and building recognition.

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“There’s a lot of traffic on Instagram; people are constantly on it,” she said. “I find it really interactive, and people reach out. It’s been a very good marketing tool for me, getting your name out there.

“As people write reviews about their experience with me and post it on social media, I also share that.”

While Facebook and LinkedIn may currently boast a wider user base in Canada than Instagram, Moskal said they hadn’t been as useful a tool for business, with only a fraction of the engagement that Instagram can drive.

She noted that while many real estate agents post on Instagram, the site didn’t appear to have witnessed comparable uptake among mortgage agents and brokers. Getting started, though, is straightforward – with simple and unvarnished posts often ending up a more authentic method of communication with prospective clients than slick paid marketing.

“I get a lot of business from Instagram. And I get a lot of people who refer me to their friends, do introductions and private messages,” Moskal said. “They kind of start there – and then we go to phone calls and emails from there.”