August 19, 2013

Matthew Edwards is managing director of efinity Leads


There are more than 200 million active users on Twitter worldwide, 15.5 million of which are UK adults that may either have a mortgage or be in the market for one. The numbers speak for themselves really, but how can you, as a mortgage broker, join the conversation?

Social media is a bit of a contentious area when it comes to financial services, mainly due to compliance fears and a lack of guidance. In fact, some networks even went as far as banning its use altogether to begin with. These strict policies have since been loosened, but many networks and advisers remain cautious. Understandably so, given that the last time the former Financial Services Authority (now Financial Conduct Authority) issued any guidance on the topic was in 2010.

But despite this uncertainty, many financial advisers and brokers have been dipping their toes in the water and there is no reason that with some careful planning and consideration, you can’t do the same.

Where to start?

Think carefully about what you want to achieve from using Twitter. Financial promotions guidelines mean that it is unrealistic to expect to draw in 100s of new clients. However, what might be more rational (and compliant) is to treat it as an engagement tool to ensure that people in your local area know who you are and what you do through simply having a presence.

You can establish this by commenting on developments in the mortgage market or news and by starting and joining conversations, like you would in real life, rather than proclaiming you have the best mortgage rates available!

Draw up a plan based on what you think you should be talking about. Have a look for some recent mortgage news stories that you think are worthy of sharing and commenting on and think about how you will say what you say. Do you have a blog or some content on your own website that you could use too?

Establish a following

Unlike Facebook, you don’t have to ask permission to ‘follow’ people on Twitter, which makes it relatively easy to gain return followers (although you do have to work on this by being interesting!). Start off by following some financial news titles to give you some inspiration of content to tweet, then think local and follow some of your favourite local businesses. The next step is to promote your twitter handle (e.g. @your_business) on your website and other marketing collateral – make sure people know where to find you!

Speak up

The minute you say something on Twitter it is superseded by a million other voices trying to be heard. Make what you say count. Think it through carefully before posting and make sure it is in-line with your plan. Aim to say something every day, whether it is a response, commentary or your own content, Twitter needs regular content.

As mentioned before, promoting products and services is definitely best left alone due to compliance, but you can get people’s attention by communicating something interesting and starting a conversation. Always pause and re-read before hitting publish – this is the public domain remember.

Listen and respond

Pay attention to what people are saying on your feed. Join the conversation if it is something relevant and you are interested and make sure that you respond to questions and queries (providing they are worth replying to).

Set standards

Once you‘ve got used to Twitter (and it can take a little while), you can start setting standards and guidelines. This is particularly useful if you are expecting other members of the team to use Twitter too. Set some benchmarks so they know what they should and shouldn’t be saying and how. This could also help to ensure you remain compliant, for example – do not say:

“Contact us to get the lowest mortgage rate in the world guaranteed!”

These are just starting points and it is worth having a play around for yourself, just make sure that whatever you do say is clear, fair and not misleading!


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