This is a guest post from Bill Gassett.
Are you a mortgage broker looking to increase your business from Google Plus? Well get your pen and paper ready so you can take some great notes on how to use Google Plus properly! What are the two most important things when you are trying to gain new clients? First, they need to know about you, and second, they need to trust you. After all, you are dealing with people’s personal and confidential information.
So now you have to ask: What is the easiest way to find new potential clients and build a relationship with them? Yep, you guessed it: social media. And the best part is, it doesn’t even cost you anything except an investment of time.
While there are several different social media platforms out there for you to put your efforts towards, one reigns supreme when it comes to your actual ROI: Google Plus.
It’s no surprise that Google Plus will get you the farthest in your marketing efforts. If you haven’t noticed, Google is slowly working its way to total domination of the Internet, and you surely want to be a part of it.
Why Do I Need a Google Plus Account?
As mentioned, Google is everywhere that matters online, and if you aren’t with them, then you are not being smart with your social business plan. And that of course is not a prudent move on your part. Here is the nitty gritty of why Google Plus is so relevant:
It’s all about the search. Chances are when you go to search for something online, you head to Google. Why? Because they give you the most accurate results so you can get to the answer you are looking for the fastest. When Google is trying to decide which sites to show in those all-important top spots, they consider if any of them are linked to a Google Plus profile (so yours better be keyword rich). It may not be fair, but it is what it is. What’s more, Google shows how many people have you in their Google Plus circles. In the not too distant future this could be one way to determine if you are an authority on the subject at hand.
- Your connections matter. In addition to boosting your search rankings for the general population, if someone in one of your Google Plus circles does a search with your keywords (like Massachusetts mortgage broker), you will get an added boost because Google knows that you have already connected with each other. The only caveat is that the person has to be signed into their Google account at the time, but with so many avenues of Google (Gmail, YouTube, Maps, etc.), most people are always logged in, whether they realize it or not.
- It helps you build trust. As mentioned, building trust with your potential clients, whether they are lenders, Realtors, or even buyers, is a very important step in growing your business. With Google Plus, you can interact with these people on a personal level.
How Do I Use It to Build Relationships?
The two biggest things you can do are: engage your followers with interesting and valuable content and interact with them. Make sure you are spending the majority of your time posting things of interest to your target market, and not trying to push your services.
Nobody goes to Google Plus to see advertisements; they can go to Google Search for that.
Secondly, when you get a comment on your post, comment back. If one of the people you follow posts something that you find interesting, let them know.
Remember social media is about being social. Don’t think of it as a billboard or you will fail miserably at it. Being in an industry that pretty much mirrors the mortgage industry (Real Estate), I see daily the blunders that most Real Estate agents make. They treat social media as one big advertising platform and share little else but their Real Estate listings.
They then wonder why they have very little social engagement with anyone. The answer is right in front of them but they fail to realize it. The majority of people don’t care about the home for sale on Main Street in some town USA. They may care however about five great tips to sell their home faster or how to research a neighborhood as a first time buyer. Going out on a limb I bet these sound like topics that would have far more mass appeal. Don’t you agree?
The same concept applies to the mortgage industry. You want to share content that grabs people. Things that people can use when they need questions answered about their finances or a mortgage. Here are a few that come to mind:
- What is the difference between Mortgage Pre-approval and Pre-qualification?
- How to increase a credit score?
- When should I lock my interest rate?
- Why are VA loans such great mortgage products?
These are the kinds of things you would want to share on Google Plus because they are the type of questions people would ask on a daily basis. Keep in mind that you don’t want to share just your own content but others who you feel have done a bang up job. It is the sharing of others content that gets you noticed and followed in social media. Interact with others who are authorities in your industry and watch your success grow. This is what the winners in social media do!
Use Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is another free tool that you can use through your Google Plus profile to connect with people. Basically, you can have as many people as you want as part of the hangout, and you can all see and talk to each other. It’s like a really big, multi-user Skype session that bring a whole new level to your social media game.
Essentially if you have a camera attached to your PC or laptop you can have a conversation online with others through out the Country. This is a fantastic way to meet others and also conduct healthy discussions centered around your business. This is a great way for mortgage brokers to connect on Google Plus whether they are other mortgage brokers, Realtors, or potentially even clients.
Can I Use Google+ To Find Any Leads?
Yes! There are millions of people on Google Plus, and a lot of them are realtors or lenders that could be valuable clients to you. There are several ways you can connect with people:
- With the help of your profile. Your profile is a very important part of your Google Plus strategy. It needs to be keyword rich so that you can take advantage of the increased visibility in search rankings (if they don’t know what you do, how can they recommend you?). You also need to take the time to fill out your profile completely. Once you enter your industry, location, interests, etc., Google will automatically suggest people to you that they think will be a good match. And as you add their suggestions to your circles, more of them keep showing up. Every time you login, there will be new suggestions for you. So make sure Google has a clear understanding of who you are so they can recommend the right people.
- Through your connections. When someone enjoys something you posted so much they feel inclined to share it, it goes to all of their followers (or whichever circles they designate). Followers who may very well be your target market. The more intriguing your content, the more likely it is to get shared, and the more people your name will be put in front of.
- Search for them. Try different keywords and locations and you will be amazed at how many potential clients will just be given to you. You can add them to your circles without anyone’s permission, and they will get a notification that you did so. However, they will not actually see your posts unless they add you back (which many people do). They will, however, see your name and picture under the “Have You in Circles” section, so it is surely better than nothing.
Will Google Plus Help Me Beat My Competition?
Of course it will! There are so many advantages to having a Google Plus profile that you will be in disbelief that you haven’t had one sooner. Here are the most important ones:
- Speed. When you post to your website, or even Facebook, it can take Google days or weeks to index this new information into their search results. However, a Google Plus posting is integrated almost instantaneously. And when you are posting about interest rates, or something else that is important this very minute, this can make a huge difference.
- Click-ability. You already know that having a Google Plus profile linked to your website can increase your search rankings when users are logged in, but do you know about Google Authorship? If you have done a Google search lately, chances are you noticed that some of the results had a picture of the author next to them. Pretty cool, right? This is Google Authorship. When you set up your posts correctly, your picture will appear right there in the search results. The benefit? People are more likely to click on an article when they can see that the author is a real person. In fact studies show that someone is up to 30-40 percent more likely to click on a Google search result that has a picture!
- Relevancy. Whether you care to admit it or not, someone who used you for a refinance several years ago probably doesn’t remember your name. However, if you connected with them on Google Plus while you were working with them, chances are you are still in each others circle. So when they do a quick Google search for a mortgage broker in their city or town, guess who will show up (thanks, Google!)? They will suddenly remember you and how great you were and you just got a repeat client. This is how a mortgage broker can build their brand just like a real estate agent can grow their business on Google+.
Hopefully after reading the above you have come to the conclusion that Google Plus is the perfect venue for a mortgage broker or anyone in the financial industry for that matter to increase their online visibility. I know first hand being a Real Estate agent just how powerful a tool it can be for my business. Don’t be shy jump in and start using Google plus as part of your daily social routine. Once you get the hang of using G plus not only will you come to the conclusion that it can help your business but that it is also like an online university of helpful information!
About the author: Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized Real Estate leader who has been helping people move in and out of the Metrowest Massachusetts area for the past twenty seven plus years. While his realty business covers numerous towns, Hopkinton Real Estate, where he grew up, have been a major focus. He has been one of the top RE/MAX Realtors in New England for the past decade. In 2012-2013 he was the #1 RE/MAX agent in all of New England. Connect with him on Google+.