Leads, past clients, sphere of influence - that's where most mortgage and real estate professionals begin to build their business. But influence and success really increase when you grow your brand at the community level. In a recent podcast, "Expert Strategies with Joe Welu: Developing a Community Channel of Business," Joe provided great insight on how to expand your brand, profile and production.
Developing business at the community level requires patience, consistency and commitment, and there are many ways to go about it. It's best to pursue this facet of your business on a long-term basis, first building a foundation and then adding layers of activity over time. Social media plays a key role in expanding business today; since Facebook is the most commonly and frequently used social media outlet, it’s a great place to get started.
Building Your Community on Facebook
Many MLOs and Realtors use Facebook and are familiar with boosting and advertising in this arena; however, you may get the best results by interacting with the community you want to target in ways that surprisingly, don't cost money!
First, you need to engage with people in different circles using your business profile. Start by posting community-related content like photos from school and civic events, writing restaurant reviews and posting links to local news stories. In addition, be sure to read and comment on others’ posts and share their material when it feels relevant. Consistently interacting this way will ensure that your mortgage or business-related posts get a better reception because the people you're reaching feel they have a relationship with you.
How to Get the Best Results Out of Facebook – For Free!
The next thing every MLO and Realtor should be doing on Facebook is taking advantage of an incredibly powerful free feature called Audience Optimization for Posts. Enabling this setting will get your posts in front of people who have expressed an interest in things related to your services and allow you to narrow the audience of who can see your posts by age, geographic data and other parameters. For example, kids under age 18 are the future, but they're not necessarily your target audience for business development today.
The audience optimization feature also allows you to connect with people who have expressed an interest in things like luxury real estate, fixed rate mortgages, VA loans and other specific tags that relate to your business and the community you're targeting. To really benefit from your posts and realize significant ROI from the time and effort you spend using Facebook, MLOs and Realtors should be using audience optimization for every post on their business profile. We've put together a simple, step-by-step guide to use this feature - download it here.
The cost of doing business seems to rise every year; however, Facebook's Audience Optimization for Posts feature is a powerful free tool that can provide great exposure and opportunity when used correctly and consistently. Developing business at the community level is so lucrative because so many people who set out to do it give up for various reasons before it begins to pay off. Start with something you're already spending time on like Facebook. The ability to "take the stage" and get your message out for free is rare.
Make a plan, have the discipline to execute it consistently and the patience to wait for your efforts to come to fruition.