Every industry has adopted social media at different levels and each industry analysis shows a particular pattern of performance with social media. Regulated industries, such as the Mortgage Industry, have the additional burden of keeping their employees’ and agents’ points of presence (POPs) compliant as well as their own branded POPs. Today, we see every industry, regulated or not, jumping heavily into social media.
At Brandle™, we are interested in how each industry progresses with their social media business practices and creates their governance strategy. The Mortgage Industry is primed to have significant growth in social media business practice due to new clarification of regulatory compliance and we wanted to benchmark this growth. The State of Social Media in the Mortgage Industry Study is the first analysis of the industry to date.
In this study we set out to answer these questions:
- What does a mortgage company’s investment in social media say about its business?
- Do top companies use social media differently from their less-successful peers?
- What does the “average” company look like?
The study looks at the social media presence of the 2012 Top 25 Mortgage Companies as measured by the Scotsman Guide based on retail origination volume. The mortgage industry is particularly interesting because not only does the enterprise (or brand) itself have social presence, but the local offices and mortgage loan originators (MLOs) often have their own points of presence as well.
We utilized the Brandle™ Presence Manager to discover, inventory, and analyze the mortgage companies. Our study focused on the “points of presence” (POPs) which could logically and confidently be identified as representing a business interest of the enterprise.
Statistically speaking, the “average” mortgage company in the Scotsman Guide Retail Top 25 has a social presence of 134-177 POPs with an Audience size ranging from 11,000-24,000. The majority of their social media presence and audience is on Facebook with Twitter following.
The top company in our study, Guaranteed Rate, represents $14.71B in revenue, 750 MLOs, 804 POPs and over 200,251 in audience while the bottom company represents $2.42B in revenue, 37 POPs and 6,252 in total audience.
The main take-aways of our research are:
- Top-performing companies are more socially engaged.
- Facebook dominates but Twitter appears to be most efficient in terms of audience building. However, investing proportionally more in Twitter may not necessarily pay dividends.
- Buying followers (known as Fake Followers) rather than earning them “organically” was observed in a couple of companies, however it offers minimal reward at the expense of reputation risk.
- Regulatory compliance in social media needs attention! A quick review of the POPs discovered in this study shows that the most compliant of companies only has the NMLS license number disclaimer in just over two-thirds of their social media presence. The worst has it in none! The industry median-average is 17-21% compliance.
How to be Compliant with Social Media
When used properly, web and social media sites are powerful marketing tools which can bring customers to your door; however, they can also bring the regulators knocking. At the end of last year, the FFIEC finalized its guidance on the use of social media by financial institution and many state regulators are getting more aggressive in overseeing the use of social media. States are also tightening their oversight, for example WA, TX, CA and AZ. Finally, the use of social media by mortgage loan originators (MLOs) may also have RESPA implications and now the CFPB has to be factored in.
Based on these developments, here is what every mortgage brokerage should be doing to get ready:
- Have an inventory of every web and social media site each MLO is using for corporate purposes.
- Ensure employees are using corporate emails for (and only for) corporate sites.
- Have a process for periodic review of all sites to ensure regulatory (and brand) compliance.
- Have an executive responsible for overseeing compliance.
- Have a process for dealing with compliance and risk issues when they arise.
The Brandle Presence Manager is our solution to help companies with social media asset management, brand protection, and compliance, in one integrated system. With Brandle, you can easily discover, inventory, monitor and protect your social presence.