Should you have a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? What about other social media outlets? TikTok for instance?
The answer is a strong maybe, to yes. A somewhat professional presence. Arguably your personal presence should be semi-professional. Of course we all have real lives, with our hobbies, quirks, funny friends, unique family members, and I’m not suggesting a full on scrub of your social media pages (although that photo of you guzzling a beer while behind the wheel of a jeep in the backcountry ‘before seatbelts were a thing’ maybe needs to be deleted).
So yes, you should refine (or create) a Facebook profile and while your at it lock your name down on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and any other social media sites where clients will inevitably research who you are and what you are up to in your spare time. It matters, sorry but it’s 2020 and everything about you now matters.
When it comes to posting on these various sites, I offer this mantra:
- Is it true?
- Is it positive?
- Is it useful?
If not, then just don’t (post).
LinkedIn is business-centric and requires a professional (in appearance) profile photograph taken in a professional setting. You must also take the time to build, and maintain, a complete an up-to-date profile. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn for additional posts on the subjects of both Brokering and the mortgage market.
LinkedIn is like a forward-facing resume to prospective employers (i.e., future clients). There are regular updates emailed with the names of the people viewing your profile, and often within days you will see those same names on your call display as they subsequently call to discuss a mortgage. Each time this happens it validates the medium, and the better your profile is the more it will happen. LinkedIn is a tool that is increasingly being used to vet the professionals we work with. Put yourself out there, professionally. I will say that in 2020 LinkedIn still appears to be one of the most underutilised platforms. I know this, and still I myself am not yet leveling up my own game there.
I have a personal Facebook page that is open to the public, and if you are into pretty well anything with two wheels then you might find my posts interesting. Facebook was, when I first wrote this book, mostly just a snapshot of who we each were once the work clothes were swapped for shorts and flip-flops. This seems to have changed over the past few years, as least for me. It is increasingly work, work, and more work. My profile remains open, and if you are so inclined, feel free to friend me… although apparently 5,000 is the limit as I discovered a few weeks ago.
I was making regular use of my Facebook business page, originally designed to update existing clients, more than to attract new ones. However, at this point I would not create a business page if I were starting out, instead that energy would be directed towards LinkedIn.
Twitter I’m inactive on. I have two handles; @dustanwoodhouse and @ourexpert one was meant for mortgage clients, the other for Brokers. However I just don’t enjoy a single thing about arguing with anonymous people. Or arguing at all, and that seems to be much of what Twitter is about. And so I have not logged in for the past 4 years or so.
Instagram is for me still pretty much and outlet for personal content. It’s important to keep on platform relatively work free if you can. To some extent, and for me this seems easier to do with Instagram, although I see many mortgage Brokers and Realtors crushing it on IG.
As per my above mantra, I cannot stress strong enough refraining from posting or commenting on divisive personal topics through any of these platforms. When you get into religion, guns, politics or topics like children’s vaccinations, all too often 50% of people are on one side and 50% are on the other. So whichever position you favour and share, you’re potentially alienating half of your audience, and then half of the remaining with your next position, and so on…. soon you’ve managed to offend 100 % of your connections. Marginalizing yourself on social media rapidly marginalizes you in the real world. (this paragraph was written in 2014, and wow does it every hold up in 2020!!!)
Keep in mind that screenshots last forever and public shaming is the new online sport. There have been several very high-profile cases of people who were in fact extremely low profile up until that offside Tweet or post they thought was being shared with just “their closest friends or followers.”
Ultimately, be sensible with your online activities, and hang around with people who are sensible as well. An unflattering photograph of questionable offline activities posted on the internet will live there forever. A thoughtless, insensitive, or rude post or comment will do the same. DO NOT EVER TYPE YOUR MESSAGE IN ALL CAPS WITH MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS DOES NOT MAKE YOU LOOK CRAZY, IT ACTUALLY TELLS THE WORLD YOU ARE A LITTLE BIT CRAZY, DRUNK, OR BOTH!!!!!
Shhhh, no shouting on social media please. Also, never ever use profanity. In verbal conversation you might get away with a cuss word or three. However, in print cursing will paint an indelible picture for many of you as rude and/or ignorant 99.999% of the fucking time. (See what I did there).
Above all else, remember Internet rule #1: the comments section is where intellect goes to die. Restrain yourself.