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With the rapid (and widely reported) rise of Twitter as a publishing platform, a lot of mortgage brokers and loan officers are asking the question: “How can I use Twitter to grow my mortgage business and increase sales?” That’s the subject of today’s tutorial. Below, you will find a collection of tips on using Twitter to support your mortgage messaging goals.

Let’s start at the beginning for those who are not familiar with the platform. What is Twitter anyway?

What Is Twitter?

If you’re already using Twitter for your mortgage business, and you want to know how to use it better, feel free to skip ahead to the next section. If you’ve heard of it but aren’t sure what it is (and are too embarrassed to ask your 15-year-old niece or nephew), read on! Here’s what you need to know about this micro-messaging service:

Twitter is a web-based, global messaging service.
The service was created in 2006. It began as a web-based text message service that allowed users to quickly communicate with a small group of “followers.” While the website has become more sophisticated and refined over the years, it still serves this same basic mission. As the founders describe it, “Twitter is a public forum where anyone can read, write and share messages.”

Twitter is short and sweet.
When you share a message through Twitter, you are limited to 140-characters. These short messages are called tweets. So it’s not the place to write articles or share in-depth information. But you can certainly link to those longer pieces from within your tweets. Links are just one of the things you can include within your tweets. You can also share photos and videos with your followers, or with anyone else who stumbles across your Twitter profile.

Twitter is real-time.
One of the great things about Twitter, from a mortgage marketing and communications perspective, is that you can share information instantly with an audience of any size. For instance, if mortgage rates drop sharply in the latest Freddie Mac survey, you can tell people about it in the form of a tweet. Your Twitter followers will instantly see your tweet on their desktop computers, tablets, and mobile devices. They’ll be able to see it within seconds of you clicking the “Tweet” button. It all happens in real time.

Twitter allows you to share mortgage information.
Mortgage brokers and loan officers can use Twitter to keep their readers informed about industry trends, new products, and more. In short, this service allows you to speak directly with current and future customers in real time.

So, now you know what this social networking service is and how it works. The next logical question is: How can you use Twitter to support and grow your mortgage business? Here are some of the ways a broker or loan office could use this service…

How Can Mortgage Brokers and Loan Officers Use Twitter?

Twitter is a great way to share information with an ever-growing audience. It is a quick, easy, and instantaneous messaging service. So it’s ideally suited for a wide variety of mortgage marketing and communications strategies.

These days, many brokers and loan officers use Twitter to share industry-related information with their readers. For instance, if a loan officer stumbles across an article about new lending rules that could affect borrowers, he or she might tweet about it. (See the list of tweet topics below for more ideas.)

Mortgage professionals can also use Twitter to speak directly to current and prospective clients. More and more, people are using social media websites as a way to communicate with one another. Sure, you can use them to speak to “the masses.” But you can also use them to have a one-to-one dialogue, either publicly or privately. It gives people one more way to connect with you.

My advice is to integrate Twitter with your broader marketing and publishing strategy. For instance, I frequently recommend blogging to my clients. Blogging programs give you an easy way to publish interesting content online, which can help you grow your web presence and attract more site visitors over time. Twitter dovetails nicely with a mortgage blog. If you publish an interesting update on your blog about new loan programs, you could tweet about (and link to) the newly published article.

What Do I Tweet About?

You can use Twitter to share all kinds of mortgage information with your followers. Mortgage rates come to mind right away, because it’s something that changes constantly. Brokers and loan officers can tweet about interest-rate changes, either daily or weekly. The Freddie Mac weekly survey is a good place to go for weekly trends. You can also find plenty of indices that track rate changes on a daily basis.

But don’t stop there. As a mortgage broker or loan officer, you could use Twitter to share information on a wide variety of topics. This might include…

  • local housing market trends
  • home prices
  • new mortgage rules (QM, QRM, conforming, FHA, etc.)
  • home buying tips
  • mortgage tips
  • relevant news from third-party sources

The list goes on.

My advice is to think of your Twitter page as a service. Don’t just blast information into the void. Create an information service with a specific audience in mind. You might even set up separate Twitter accounts for different purposes. For instance, if FHA loans are a big part of your business, you could create an account for this purpose and use it to share FHA-related information (news, advice, etc.).

Here’s a good example of sharing useful information with readers. Rhonda Porter, a web-savvy loan originator who has been blogging for years, recently used Twitter to tweet about the news of Fannie and Freddie lowering their down-payment requirements. She links to an article on her blog that offers more information on the subject. This is a great way to use social media as part of a broader mortgage communications strategy. Maybe that’s why she has so many followers.

There’s no limit to the ways a mortgage broker or loan officer can use Twitter. Use your imagination. Look around and see what other people in your industry are doing. Think about your audience and the kind of information they need.

Just remember, it’s a conversational venue. It’s not a lecture hall. Connect with others. Share tweets you find interesting. Mention other people by name, using their Twitter handle. Start a conversation.

Speaking of conversations. If you have a comment or question about this topic, you can put it in the comment box below.