Building and managing client relationships using social media
Love it or hate it, social media is a big part of our lives. Gone are the days where businesses could grow with only a website and telephone number. Social media is an increasingly important way to connect with customers. It also adds another dimension to the client relationship, making public what used to be private. It’s in your best interest to spend time cultivating your presence in social media circles relevant to your business.
The stats say social media is relevant
There is no shortage of statistics about social media use, and most sources agree more people are spending time on social media. For example:
- Ryerson University Social Media Lab’s recent report, The State of Social Media in Canada 2020, provides a comprehensive set of statistics about social media use by Canadians.
- Research marketing firm Insights West provides a 2019 Canadian Social Media Insights
- Hootsuite provides 140+ Social Media Statistics that Matter to Marketers in 2020. While this site is not specific to Canada, you can see how social media is trending everywhere.
Social media use is on the rise
While social media use is on the rise overall, it’s no longer just about connecting with friends. More Canadians are also choosing to follow brands or companies.
- Facebook is Canada’s most popular social media platform; 83% of online Canadian adults report having a Facebook account and 77% use it daily (The State of Social Media in Canada 2020).
- About 70% of Canadians follow at least one brand or company, with Facebook and Instagram having the largest growth in this area (Insights West).
Social media use varies by age
Most social media statistics report by age category because the 18-24 age demographic doesn’t use social media in the same way as older populations. Although not all reports agree, those over 25 years of age use Facebook more often.
Men and women don’t use social media in the same way
More women than men use social media. Women lean toward Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and messaging apps more often than men. Men are on YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter more often than women (The State of Social Media in Canada 2020).
These statistics are useful in helping you choose the social media channels that will best reach your client demographic.
Choosing your social media platforms
There are so many social media platforms out there, it can be a challenge to manage them all. Start with a couple of mainstream platforms that are used by your client demographic. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all safe and well-used choices.
LinkedIn, although not as widely used as the others, is also a good choice because it generally promotes business and professional networking. It’s also used more by Canadians with a household income above $80,000 (The State of Social Media in Canada 2020).
Five tips to manage your social media relationships
Social media is a social tool, so make sure you are joining conversations with clients, local businesses and other brokers within the community. The keyword here is “conversation.”
While you have information you want to share, don’t get on a soapbox, pushing information out but never taking it in. Be welcoming and invite dialogue. To build relationships through social media, you’ll need to engage with your audience. Here are a few tips to help you do that.
1. Be authentic
As you promote yourself and your business on social media, use an authentic voice. That means sharing a little about yourself as a person and what you stand for. This helps current and potential clients get to know you as a person, and that sense of feeling connected will help them feel more comfortable with you.
Some ideas include your volunteer and recreation activities. Did you attend an interesting event? Do you love walking your dog in your community? Are you helping at a local festival? Maybe there is a post you find humorous that you simply must share (just remember to keep it tasteful and non-controversial).
Mix these types of posts in with your business content and let people see the kind of person they’ll be doing business with.
2. Create engaging content
The first question to ask yourself is “what’s in it for them?” Don’t only think about what you want from conversations with your clients. When you approach content development from that perspective, you can engage people.
- Use simple polls to collect opinions. As mentioned above, it doesn’t even need to be about mortgages.
- Ask questions, then create content based on that feedback. For example, what part of buying a home is most confusing for people?
- Invite people to share photos or posts about their experiences on a specific topic. How do people make their homes pet friendly? What’s the most important feature in a kitchen? The possibilities here are endless.
- Pay attention to what’s going on in your community and create timely posts that will help current and prospective clients. For example, 2020 raised a host of possible topics from managing debt to mortgage deferrals.
And when you do choose to share content from other sources, try to share from the original source and credit the author for the content by tagging them.
3. Actively listen to your audience.
Are you a good listener? As you spend time on social media sites for your business and industry, listen to your audience because what they say can help you develop your business in several ways. Social listening is more than monitoring social platforms for mentions of your brand. It’s about collecting information from any relevant customer conversations, as well as brand mentions, to get a sense of the topics of concern to them. You can do this informally or use social listening tools to gather data.
Either way, here are a few examples that might be affecting your industry now:
- How are people feeling about the economy? People are worried about their mortgages, refinancing, or lost income. Now is a great time to talk generally about what options are out there.
- Can people complete their mortgage process without going to an office? Explain what options there are to move the mortgage approval process online.
- How are people feeling about mortgage brokers as a profession? If you note a trend in concerns or misunderstandings, take the opportunity to provide facts.
4. Quickly respond to questions and comments.
Customers expect timely responses to their comments and questions. Having a fast response time leads to happy clients, whether it’s by email or a post on your social media page.
If someone voices a concern, don’t respond with the standard “our company cares about our clients” messaging. Speak to their concern directly and if necessary, move the conversation offline. Your clients will be able to tell if you are giving them a stock answer to their questions. Even though their situation may be common, it’s unique to them.
There may also be times when you won’t have an immediate answer. Get back to the client anyway to let them know you’re looking into their situation and give them a timeline as to when you’ll get back to them.
5. Hire a social media specialist
Getting social media engagement right requires time, especially if you want to create original content. You must also follow all your channels, engage in conversations and respond to any questions or feedback.
If you don’t have the time to spare, perhaps you would benefit from the services of a social media specialist to help you manage your online presence. Sites like Upwork or Fiverr can help you find freelance social media services to help you.
Take the time to find the right fit because this person will be speaking for you, at least some of the time.
Mortgage content ready for you to use
Bridgewater Bank is here to help. We’ve developed many broker resources and client shareables that you can use to start building your social media presence such as Beyond your down payment: Preparing for closing costs, unlocking equity through refinancing, or How to increase your clients’ income using add-backs and gross-ups to name just a few.
Browse our library to find the articles that will help get your social media plan moving.
Gruzd & Mai. (2020). The State of Social Media in Canada 2020. Ryerson University Social Media Lab. Version 5. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5683/SP2/XIW8EW
Insights West. (2019). 2019 Canadian Social Media Insights. https://www.insightswest.com/news/2019-canadian-social-media-insights-report/