Navigating the Social Media Minefield as a Mortgage Broker
Social media (sigh) you either love it or hate it! Some people are naturally interested and good at it, others see it as a waste of time, whilst some think it's a marketing opportunity to be able to reach new potential clients, and finally others take it as a necessary evil they do not enjoy doing whatsoever but still do because they need to.
However you look at it, it's here and it's not going away anytime soon!
So, as a mortgage broker using social media, it's important to know what to do and what not to do so you can maintain a professional image while effectively engaging with your audience.
Here are some do's and don'ts for using social media as a mortgage broker that may come in handy, especially when using social media for both personal and professional purposes.
Then read on to discover some of the risks of mixing personal and professional on social media platforms, plus get practical tips on how to navigate these.
Social Media DO’s
- Create a Professional Profile: Use a professional photo and a clear, concise bio that highlights your expertise in the mortgage industry. Respond promptly to comments, messages, and enquiries.
- Share Educational Content: Share valuable and informative content related to mortgages, loan types and your services using visually appealing content such as infographics, charts, and images to make your posts more engaging and shareable.
- Highlight Success Stories: Showcase client success stories (with their written permission) to build credibility and trust. Testimonials and positive experiences can go a long way in establishing your reputation.
- Stay Informed: Stay updated on industry news, market trends, and changes in mortgage regulations. Share relevant updates to demonstrate your industry knowledge.
- Promote Events and Webinars: Use social media to promote any events, webinars, or workshops you are hosting or participating in to reach a wider audience.
Social Media DON’Ts
- Avoid Unprofessional Content and Over-Promotion: Steer clear of posting content that may be considered unprofessional, offensive, or inappropriate. And, balance your content by providing value rather than constantly promoting your services. Either of those may turn off your audience.
- Don't Share Confidential Information: Refrain from sharing sensitive or confidential client information on social media. Respect client privacy and adhere to industry regulations.
- Limit Personal Opinions: While it's okay to share industry-related opinions, avoid expressing strong personal or political views that may alienate potential clients.
- Don't Ignore Negative Feedback: Address negative comments or feedback professionally and promptly. Ignoring or responding defensively can harm your reputation. It is also a requirement of your Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) process.
- Stay Compliant: Familiarise yourself with and adhere to regulations regarding advertising and communication within the mortgage industry. Avoid any activities that may be considered non-compliant. If you’re a Credit Representative of Connective, you must send your content to Compliance for review.
By following these do's and don'ts, you can build a positive and professional online presence, positioning yourself as a trustworthy mortgage broker within your social media community.
But nothing is ever private, easy or that straightforward on social media, is it?
Case in Point: A Complaint with the Industry Body for a Comment on Popular Social Media Platform
Navigating the intricacies of communication can be challenging, especially when considering the blurred line between intention, perception, and the impact of one's words. Like a situation where an inappropriate remark at a dinner party can offend someone present, social media magnifies the reach and persistence of such interactions, altering the dynamics of common decency and political correctness.
Take, for instance, a broker who faced a complaint filed with the industry body due to a comment made on a mainstream social media platform. Engaging in a conversation about political matters, the mortgage broker shared insights from their perspective. However, the comment, although unintentional, was perceived as offensive and controversial by certain users within the online community.
The validity of the complaint aside, the industry body received an official complaint and a screenshot of the thread, prompting an investigation. The matter was brought to the attention of Connective and required the broker to issue a statement and extend an apology to address the concerns raised.
This case highlights the need for individuals, especially in professions like mortgage broking, to be cautious when blending personal and professional presence on social media platforms. The incident serves as a reminder that what may seem like a harmless contribution can lead to unforeseen consequences. To navigate these potential pitfalls, brokers must be mindful of the impact of their online interactions and take steps to mitigate associated risks.
However, social media isn't to be feared! Simply, those who choose to use it must be mindful of possible unwanted consequences.
Let's delve further into the potential pitfalls of mixing personal with professional social media presence, especially for a mortgage broker and how to mitigate those risk.
The Risks of Mixing Personal and Professional on Social Media Platforms
- Alienating Potential Clients: If you express strong political, religious, or other personal views, you risk alienating people who hold different beliefs. For instance, if you post content supporting a particular political party, followers who support the opposing party may feel uncomfortable and choose to do business elsewhere.
- Damaging Your Professional Image: As a mortgage broker, your primary role is to provide finance advice, not to share personal opinions. Frequent posts or comments about non-related topics can dilute your professional image and make you seem less trustworthy.
- Creating Controversy: Personal opinions, especially on sensitive topics, can spark heated debates and even lead to online arguments. This could create a negative atmosphere on your page or account and deter potential clients.
- Violating Professional Ethics: Industry bodies and professional associations have guidelines about what kind of public statements their members can make. Sharing personal opinions might be seen as unprofessional or even unethical.
How to Navigate Personal and Professional Mix on Social Media Platforms
- Separate Personal from Professional: Consider having separate accounts for personal and professional use. This allows you to express personal opinions without directly affecting your business.
- Think Before You Post: You’re in a client facing role! Always consider the potential impact of your post on your professional image. If it could be controversial or alienate certain people, it's probably best not to share it at all.
- Stay Neutral: If you choose to discuss sensitive topics, try to do so in a neutral, balanced and inclusive way that respects all viewpoints. Your choice of words matters.
- Focus on Your Expertise: Use social media to share your knowledge about mortgages and related topics with your audience. Give them information generously. Stick to the facts and break down the complex into valuable takeaways.
Remember, social media is a powerful tool that can help or harm your professional image. Use it wisely to build a strong, positive reputation in your field.
Here's our Social Media Calendar template to get you started.