Using LinkedIn as a networking tool can really boost your brand, strengthen relationships and build trust and credibility within the mortgage community. A panel of experts at the 2019 National Alliance of Commercial Loan Brokers discussed the ways brokers can optimize their social media reach and generate more deals.
Build your brand, rather than push your product
LinkedIn is a powerful tool that can be used to engage an audience, show off your expertise and connect with like-minded people in the industry.
“If you can figure out a way to balance connecting with people online and on the ground, this is where we see results,” said Jeffrey Tesch, RCN Capital CEO.
Bridget Carney, director of social media and content marketing at Finance Marketing Group, believes LinkedIn is a great place to start reaching out to people who you can see yourself partnering with in business.
“Send 10 connections every month to individuals who you think can become a good referral partner,” she said. Once you have those connections, Carney adds it’s important to follow up, make an effort to build that relationships and find the right time to take that connection offline.
Tesch said personality is what will set you apart when building your brand online. “It’s important to establish a face to your brand, and LinkedIn is a great tool to help you do that,” he said.
Taking the time to be selective about who you connect with on LinkedIn is also important, advised Chris Hurn, Fountainhead CEO. “You shouldn’t just accept everyone. Engage with people who will add value to your network,” he said.
Create meaningful, free content
Tom Gazaway, founder and president at LenCred, said they’ve generated thousands of leads from creating quality online content. LenCred is known for having a largest variety of free ebooks and whitepapers in the business financing industry. Gazaway suggests using good images, including an executive summary and segmenting the content with visual elements. This draws people to specific areas quickly without having to search through a lot of text. Using mediums like LinkedIn and other platforms are a great way to share this information within existing networks and will attract more connections.
In the past year, Tesch really noticed the value of posting video content. “My videos are not me selling my product, it’s talking about what’s going on at the company like why RCN is a great place to work. Be bold and show people who you are,” said Tesch.
Platforms like LinkedIn allow brokers to emphasize their brand for free and keeps you top of mind with others in your network. Tesch recommends making videos 60 seconds or less to keep people’s attention.
Carney agrees that if you have the resources to create high quality video content, it’s always a great option compared to something like a blog post. “Some form is content is better than nothing, but people are generally wanting to read less, so video is best,” she added.
Dominate a niche and engage with your network
“The biggest failure I see is the broker who tries to be all things for all people,” said Hurn.
He suggested tapping into a localized network and plan to dominate. While LinkedIn connections from other areas are still valuable, content and engagement would be focused and specific to people inside your target demographic. “Talk about the traffic, or the festival that would be in town this weekend, something that would engage local referral sources,” he added.
A key step to building your brand and gaining visibility online is to be consistent and be engaged. “Consistently post, comment and share with people you are connected with and other industry professionals,” said Carney. There is of course the option to pay to boost posts and make your content more visible, but growing organic traffic requires time and effort.
“Treat every connection like a business decision,” added Tesch. His advice is to take a little bit of time every day to scroll through LinkedIn and comment or like content from other relevant connections. “The more you participate, the more the algorithm rewards you.”