By Doug WilberHistorically low mortgage rates have recently opened the doors for many people to enter the housing market, but new house hunters are setting out on their homebuying journeys in uncharted waters during the pandemic. Economic uncertainty lingers, and many potential buyers are feeling more nervous than usual about taking the leap to homeownership.
For bank loan officers who can help put buyers at ease and make the process as smooth and clear as possible, there are plenty of opportunities to land more deals. And the best place for loan officers to educate and offer a helping hand to prospective clients is social media. Here’s how you can capitalize on historically low rates while building trusting relationships with your prospects digitally:
Use social media to make the connections you can’t in person. Even as states lift stay-at-home restrictions, many financial institutions still limit in-person interactions and require social distancing. This represents a strategy shift for loan officers who are used to making connections and building relationships face to face.
The good news is that your clients and prospects are already online—in fact, one 2019 survey shows that 89 percent of respondents of all ages rely on mobile banking—so they’re familiar with digital interaction. Meeting them where they are on social media only makes things more convenient for them.
Confront the elephant in the room. Carrying on with business as usual without addressing what’s changed about the world is a surefire way to seem out of touch. COVID-19 has affected nearly every area of people’s lives, and ignoring it will do nothing for you or them. Social media can be an excellent platform to acknowledge your clients’ challenges and offer a helping hand.
Share information that empathizes with prospects and clients. Anticipate and answer their questions by sharing helpful, credible articles. If you show that you understand how the virus is impacting people financially, you’re honest about the current mortgage environment, and you’re there to help, prospects will think of you as a trustworthy source when they are in need.
Use your platform to educate, not market. A special coronavirus-related report from Edelman points out that 85 percent of consumers want brands to play a role in education during this difficult time. People are confused, but loan officers have the knowledge and resources to help clear up confusion around the mortgage landscape and housing market for people looking to buy.
You should share credible and informative news and content on your page, but don’t stop there. Break down complex points into easy-to-understand posts and offer valuable perspectives to help your audience digest the information. Not only will your audience members see you as an expert, but they will also trust you to be a helpful resource.
Feed the public need for positivity. When much of your message is about navigating the woes surrounding a pandemic, it’s easy to create doom and gloom without realizing it. Temper this by sharing good news, too.
For example: Share photos of a happy family celebrating the purchase of a new home or stories of buyers who had great experiences. While these feel-good, relatable moments can help lift the spirits of your connections, they also show the humanity behind your expertise and serve as another point for building trust.
Don’t forget compliance. While your team may be eager to jump into social media in this hot market, it doesn’t mean you should take on risk. Remember, just one rogue post could land your institution in regulatory hot water. You’ll need to start with a social media policy and outline social media access and control. Social media compliance for mortgage lenders can seem daunting, but software tools can help your team approve, monitor and archive activity.
The mortgage environment is more favorable than ever for buyers, but it’s also a lot more confusing and challenging to navigate. When loan officers use social media to educate, clear up confusion and offer guidance, they can be a source for good in difficult times while also building trust and closing more deals.
Doug Wilber is the CEO of Denim Social, a social media management software company that provides tools to empower marketers in regulated industries to manage organic social media content and paid social media advertising on one platform.