As a mortgage loan originator, you may be looking for ways to use social media to grow your business, especially when there may be limited opportunities for meeting people face-to-face. Facebook in particular can be a powerful networking tool and, when used strategically, can simplify the professional relationship-building process.
Far and away the most popular social media site, Facebook has 2.79 billion users worldwide. What’s more, approximately 73% of those users log on every single day. Between its widespread popularity and ease of engagement, Facebook can be the perfect opportunity to connect with an array of both potential customers and other professionals.
Here’s how to set yourself up for success, find the connections, and potentially grow your business with the help of Facebook.
Complete Your Profile
Just like in person, you’ll want to put your best foot forward when networking online. Start by ensuring your Facebook profile is complete, accurate, and current. Add your place of work, location, and any relevant professional and educational experience to provide potential ‘friends’ with some context. You will also want to add your NMLS ID number since states will view your professional profile as advertising. You can also add contact information, hobbies, and featured photos if you’d like.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to update your profile photo. People are very unlikely to connect with a faceless account! This photo will be your first impression, so ensure it’s clear, recent, and professional.
Start Sending Friend Requests
Once your profile is complete, you’re ready to find some Facebook friends. Start by sending friend requests to known contacts, such as friends, family, and colleagues. Then, reconnect with people — especially real estate professionals — you may have lost touch with. A phased approach will be much more effective than firing off 50 random friend requests and, as your friends list grows, Facebook’s People You May Know tool will generate even more potential friends based on common connections and your educational and professional networks.
Once you have a comprehensive Facebook presence, you can begin reaching out to thought leaders, industry professionals, and other strangers you’d like to add to your network.
Make it Personal
When first finding Facebook friends, especially if they’re strangers, make a point to add a personal touch to each request. While you can’t add a note directly to the friend request, Facebook does allow you to send a message to other users, even if you’re not yet friends.
With each request, Forbes.com suggests sending a brief but personalized elevator pitch and clarify that you’re not asking for anything from them. Introduce yourself, share a little bit about your work, and explain why you’d like to connect. If you can work in a mention of their specific industry, company, or position, they may be even more likely to accept your request and become your Facebook friend.
Engage With Friends
Once you’ve built up a robust Facebook friends list, the work really begins. Regularly engage with your contacts, whether commenting on their statuses or sending an article you think they might like. Even Facebook says that effective networking is less about the act of ‘friending’ and more about building meaningful relationships.
Whether you choose to comment on one status per day or designate 30 minutes per week to interact with your Facebook friends, simply add value wherever you can.
Nurture and Grow Your Network
Continue supporting your current contacts while seeking out new and interesting Facebook friends. Once you’ve successfully optimized your profile and established a habit of engagement, you’ve done much of the heavy lifting. Now, nurturing and growing your network will quickly become second nature.
Facebook is not only vastly popular, it can also be a powerful online networking tool. By optimizing your profile, finding the right friends, and adding value whenever possible, you may be able to quickly and easily grow your network and business. All it takes is that very first ‘like.’