Social media can be a powerful tool to leverage in marketing any kind of product, but finding the right place for it in marketing reverse mortgages can be complicated particularly because the products are geared toward the protected class of seniors. A panel of reverse mortgage marketing professionals all expressed different perspectives on how best to incorporate the use of social media in their marketing efforts.
This was discussed during a webinar on the topic of marketing in the industry’s ‘new normal,’ hosted last week by RMD.
While the panelists had some different ideas on how to specifically implement the use of social media in product marketing, they all agreed that having a social media marketing channel was important to an overall strategy in today’s marketplace.
Reaching people where they are
With more age-eligible potential reverse mortgage borrowers having a high degree of savviness when it comes to the internet, there’s a potential to reach more viable leads through social media outlets. It can be tricky, however, depending on the reason that a senior is using something like Facebook in the first place.
“On social media, sometimes I don’t think that a client wants to be bombarded with ads when they’re logging in to Facebook to look at photos of their grandkids,” says Cliff Auerswald, president of All Reverse Mortgage, Inc. “But, there’s a huge population of our demographic that hangs out on Facebook. They’re slowly, gradually getting into Instagram, and Facebook is going to eventually be merging all of those apps together. That may change in the future and create more opportunities.”
When targeting potential referral sources, a multi-pronged approach will likely help for someone trying to make B2B connections via social media according to Jean Noble, Chief Marketing Officer at Reverse Mortgage Funding, LLC.
“From a social media perspective, if your campaign is geared toward financial advisors and you want to share with them some great content and information, I feel like LinkedIn is the best place for that,” Noble says. “They’re not as receptive on Facebook. Facebook is a good avenue to connect with Realtors, they happen to have a really large Facebook presence. They have different regional Realtor groups, so I think Facebook is a great mechanism for the Realtors.”
For builders, financial advisors, attorneys and accountants, sticking with LinkedIn may be the best way to make those kinds of connections, she says.
Facebook’s recent ad changes
Recently, Facebook made changes to the ways its targeted ads work for businesses involved in housing, jobs and credit products, reacting to previous complaints levied by the Department of Housing and Urban Development over concerns related to discrimination. That has made it more difficult to use Facebook as a marketing channel for reverse mortgages.
This doesn’t present as much of an issue, though, if the platform is used for reaching people in other, more creative ways.
“We don’t do a lot of direct-to-consumer marketing on social media channels,” Auerswald continued. “I tend to enjoy using social more for re-marketing, and some of those organizations allow for you to upload your own customer lists and do your own thing like that. You could always go back to somebody who didn’t qualify [for a reverse mortgage] before, who may qualify now for a proprietary product or condominium. You have to get into your own customer base to figure out what you want to do with that, and build out your own audiences.”
Warming up a lead
Facebook can also be used as a way to disseminate more high-level lifestyle content that can allow a potential business lead to enter a company’s sphere of influence, slowly introducing the concept of the incorporation of home equity into a retirement plan over time.
“We like to use Facebook as a way to engage with potential customers and give them good, lifestyle content with a really soft tie-in to reverse mortgages or retirement planning,” Noble said. “You can go to our website to see all different types of examples of the blog posts, called ‘Retirement News.’ These are lighthearted, warm and friendly concepts that can engage an audience.”
From there, once a prospect downloads the content and takes an additional step like enrolling in an email newsletter, the ways in which you can interact with that prospect broadens.
“Slowly but surely, you can start to incorporate more serious concepts, more financial planning-related topics like home equity loans and reverse mortgages. You’re really kind of ‘warming them up.’ The tail on the process is kind of long, but the costs are really worth it,” Noble said.
Reuse and recycle
One way to make the most of marketing content that’s created is to put it to work across multiple channels, including social media. This is according to Mary Smith, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Liberty Home Equity Solutions.
“I think the [social media] channel is powerful from a brand-building perspective, and certainly reviews are very important to post,” Smith said. “But, there definitely are some compliance challenges you have to be careful about. So, what we’ve done is try to make it as easy as possible for our employees to post items by giving them ready-to-use content that we’ve vetted, that’s compliant and that’s relevant.”
Relevance has been an issue in the past, Smith said, and by providing ready-made content that has relevance to the company’s product offerings and target audience, it allows Liberty to more easily leverage content across channels, particularly because content creation is not easy on the resources available to any marketing department.
“Resources can be a huge drain, so what we’ve learned is that it’s really important to reuse and recycle content from newsletters and emails,” Smith says. “If we’re already creating content for one use, we always try to repurpose it for multiple uses, including social.”