A helping hand from ConveyancingBrain

Going the extra mile is in our nature. Whether it’s offering help with the various facets of our systems or providing training, our team are always on hand to ensure you can make the most of what’s we can offer.

ConveyancingBrain, our comparison conveyancing quotation and case tracking system, is no different. We have a dedicated team on board, always ready to provide support – on a completely one to one level.

Personal touch

Once you register with ConveyancingBrain, you’ll receive a call and we’ll answer any questions you may have. You can also access the most frequently asked questions in our help and support section on our website at any time.

Our on-going support then continues throughout your ConveyancingBrain journey. We understand that, for many of you, this may well be your first time offering a conveyancing service to your customer, so understandably there will be questions and nervousness from time to time. Hence why we always on hand whenever you may need it.

We also like to thank every new Adviser using ConveyancingBrain with a box of chocolates or bottle of wine when their first quote becomes the first instruction. Just our way of saying thank you to you for choosing and putting your trust in ConveyancingBrain. We don’t think that you will be disappointed.

Learning more

For the visual learners out there, we also offer a 1-2-1 system demonstration. This has helped plenty of advisers discover the best ways to recommend conveyancing to their clients, and how to use our system to its potential.

Our website also has links to a number of flyers; to help you sell conveyancing to your clients, brush up on your understanding of any terminology, or if you wish to understand the ins and outs of how the case tracking system works, we’ve got it covered.

Keeping in touch

Even if you’re well on your way with your ConveyancingBrain journey, we still like to check in once a month to see how you’re getting on. We make proactive calls to ensure that if you have any concerns or queries, we can put your mind at ease and guide you through.

You’ll also be added to our mailing list, so you’ll be the first to know about any updates to the system and any new features we’ve added in.

Making progress

The smooth progression of cases is in everyone’s best interests, and our case notes tracking system is the perfect way to ensure that everyone knows what is going on. Our case tracking guide runs through exactly where to find and use the case notes in the system, with screenshots to ensure that you’re looking in the right place.

Case tracking enables you and also us to stay up to date with the progress of all your cases, provides you with an audit trail, and provides a three-way communication between you, the solicitor and our team, so that each case moves as smoothly as possible towards completion.

Want to learn more about our service? We’re always more than happy to answer any of your ConveyancingBrain questions – whether you’re already signed up or you’re looking to join us. You can give us a call on our mobile-friendly number 0371 200 0655, or get in touch via social media on both Twitter and LinkedIn.

Meet the team: Lee Richardson

As you’re reading our blog, you probably know plenty about our company, systems and what we offer. But how much do you know about the people behind Mortgage Brain? Our new series will allow you to meet our team – the people who bring our company to life and are the face of our Mortgage Brain.

First up is Lee Richardson, a National Business Development Manager, who is a long-standing member of the team.

How long have you been working at Mortgage Brain?
Just over three years.

What does a typical day look like for you?
Each day can be different which makes the job exciting and challenging. I could be helping one of my accounts with training or maybe an issue they may be having. Or, I could be out on the road presenting our offering to a new prospect account. Also, I help my colleagues win business and deliver a first-class service to our clients.

What’s your favourite part of your job?
Helping our clients understand the benefits of the system and what the system can do for them. Also winning the sale from one of our competitors is a great feeling.

What is your best Mortgage Brain memory?
Doing my Latino Bull dance moves at the Christmas party!

Why Mortgage Brain – what drew you to the company?
It’s a great company to work for, and what drew me to the company was that your views and thoughts are valued. You are not a number at Mortgage Brain, you are looked at as an integral member of the company who can make a difference.

Tea or coffee?
Coffee – Caramel Latte is the drink of champions.

You’re stranded on a desert island. Which co-worker would you like to have with you, and why?
I would say Chris Brown, we would spend our time on the island arguing which is the more manly game to play: Rugby union or Rugby league. We all know it would be Rugby Union – the tougher sport…

What’s your best party trick?
My dance moves and my fabulous singing voice.

Do you have any bad habits – especially ones that annoy the rest of the office?!
Yes, what seems to annoy everyone is my ability to look damn good looking every morning when I come to work…

What’s your best quality, and how does it help you at work?
I would have to say my sense of humour. Sometimes we work in a pressured environment and it’s good to release that pressure sometimes.

Keep your data secure with the Key

Cyber-crime is one of the biggest threats we face in our day-to-day lives – especially for those of us who spend a large chunk of our time on a computer.

With cyber-security of paramount importance, our role here at Mortgage Brain is to keep your client’s details safe and secure within our systems. This means that, as a broker, you are able to ensure that your clients have peace of mind throughout the mortgage advice process.

The Key is one of our flagship systems, and it holds a plethora of data about clients within it. So how do we ensure that it’s all kept safe and sound? We run through the security ins and outs for the Key below, so you can rest assured your data is kept safe with us.

How does it all work?

Like many systems nowadays, the Key stores all its data and documentation in ‘the cloud.’ Access to the system is restricted to approved users, supported by extensive configuration around password format and expiry.

There are then two ways in which this information is stored:

Locally stored information

Whilst data is in use and being updated, the Key operates with limited data stored temporarily on the user’s computer. Once the data is uploaded to the server – by saving it or closing the application altogether – this locally stored information is then removed.

Security at this end is where you come in.

Ultimately, the local computer environment remains under the control of the end user. We recommend you only use versions of Windows that are supported by Microsoft, and that they are kept up to date with regular system updates.

We also recommend that the latest anti-virus software is used at all times, as well as strong passwords changed regularly to keep the highest protection on your data.

Security

Server stored information

And this is where we come in. When we are hosting the Key, all server information is hosted with a leading Internet Service Provider within their data centres. These centres are protected by the latest, most sophisticated software as well as high-tech physical security systems – including CCTV, alarms, 24-hour monitoring and dual authentication access controls.

Personal data and documents within the Key are stored on servers with no direct connection to the internet. Access to them is via services hosted on separate, internet-facing servers. Data is also encrypted when it’s not in use, and access is controlled by firewalls that restrict all access other than that required to run the service.

There are also a number of other precautions we have in place, which are:

  • Microsoft-supported software
    Regular security updates
  • Anti-virus software on all servers

We also employ an independent security company who run regular tests against all aspects of our data security. Based on their findings, we make the changes and improvements necessary to ensure that your data within the Key remains secure.

For more information about how we keep your data safe in all our systems, you can take a look at our PDF here.

How much is a broker worth?

Do you think your neighbours, family and friends really understand what your job entails? In a Legal & General report, they found that more than half of UK consumers didn’t actually realise that a mortgage broker could offer greater product choice than banks or building societies – and about a third believed that brokers worked on behalf of a bank.

In fact, buyers have plenty of misconceptions when it comes to securing a mortgage and the role a broker plays in enabling them to find better deals and save money along the way.

Nearly half (48%) of homeowners and prospective buyers who did not use a broker chose not to do so because they felt their bank or building society offered them a good deal. But, as we know, as a broker, you are able to source mortgages from a much extensive pool, whereas a bank can only offer their own products.

The wider public seem unaware, however, with almost a fifth (19%) believing that brokers and banks have the same access to all mortgage products. In reality, brokers actually have plenty more options – up to eight times more than a bank or a building society. According to research, as of 30th October 2017, there were 3,721 products available direct to consumers, compared to a mammoth 29,886 available via a mortgage broker.

Not only is there a lack of knowledge about the differences between offerings of banks versus brokers, the research also discovered that one in seven respondents thought their bank or building society would be able to give them access to the same impartial advice as a mortgage broker.

The research from Legal & General highlights an education gap within the society, with a plethora of misconceptions surrounding the role of a mortgage broker and the true number of benefits they can provide to their clients. Mortgage brokers should be shouting about their ability to offer a more impartial, comprehensive service with far more financing choices when compared to a single lender. It is all about spreading the word and educating friends, family and neighbours, so that they can then spread their knowledge within their network and eventually to the wider public – all to mutual benefit.

So, next time you are asked what you do by your neighbour, a family member, a client, a friend or even someone you’ve just met, be sure not to hide your light under a bushel. Tell them what a mortgage broker does in fact do and therefore what you REALLY are worth.

2017: A year in review

Enhanced systems, superior industry-leading functionality, our biggest roadshow of Mortgage Vision events yet, plus our milestone 30th birthday party raising money for charity….. How do we begin to review just how great 2017 has been for you and us?

Let’s start with our systems.

You, our valued customer, are at the very epicentre of what we do. That’s why our focus throughout this year – and every year – has been on the enhancements we could make to our products, in order to ensure you are able to make the most of what’s on offer to you, and ensure the mortgage sourcing process is as streamlined and simple as possible.

We began in February with the Key as we launched our secure Client Portal, enabling you and your clients to communicate with each other within the Portal 24/7. It was a move that brought you and your customers closer than ever before, and has allowed increased levels of communications within a highly secure environment.

Our other big announcement this year was our integrated second charge sourcing, which is now available in both MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere. The system enhancements broke new ground in our industry, offering the ability to compare as many appropriate first and second charge product side-by-side as you wish.

Provided at no additional cost, the new functionality has since enabled our customers to use both MortgageBrain Classic and, more recently, MortgageBrain Anywhere, unlike any other sourcing systems available on the market.

We also celebrated turning the big 30…

Over 300 of our closest partners joined us in April to celebrate the 30th birthday of Mortgage Brain. Not only did the evening allow us to celebrate the last thirty years in business, but it also meant we were able to raise an incredible £100,000 for our chosen charities: Birmingham Christmas Shelter, Contact the Elderly, Young Dementia, MDS UK Patient Support Group, the Alzheimer’s Society, Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, Compassion International and Haiti Orphanage Project Espwa.

30th birthday

On a fantastic evening of celebration, our CEO, Mark Lofthouse, said: “Reaching our 30th birthday is a significant achievement, and as well as giving us the opportunity to celebrate, it was a perfect opportunity to say thank you to our business partners, friends, colleagues and associates.

“It was also the perfect opportunity to help raise much-needed funds for several great causes and I would like to thank everyone who has helped us raise over £100,000 for charity, which will make a huge difference to the people they help.”

And our Mortgage Vision events were our biggest yet.

We set a new attendance record at our Mortgage Vision roadshow this year, with a 22 per-cent increase an adviser attendance – a new record in our eight-year history of running the annual events.

Almost 1,100 advisers joined us at the free-to-attend events across the UK, learning about the impact of GDPR, the creation of a digital customer experience, and plenty more. The events also include round table sessions from leading industry organisations – a real pivotal part of what makes our events so vital for you to attend.

We didn’t stop there.

This year, we’ve also added to our team to support the company’s growth and product development, reached over 12,000 conveyancing quotes with ConveyancingBrain, seen the 2 million transaction mark reached by Mortgage Trading Exchange (MTE), and announced news about numerous lenders partnering with us.

What does 2018 hold?

For the industry as a whole, GDPR will be at the very top of the agenda, as we all work towards ensuring compliance with the new rules and regulations.

Our Mortgage Vision survey found that the majority of UK advisers are at risk of non-compliance with GDPR, with 81 per-cent of survey respondents still having no implementation of rules or regulations as of November. Our main aim going into 2018 will be educating advisers as much as possible on the importance of GDPR compliance, and ensuring everyone is as prepared as can be as soon as it comes into effect.

The digital advice journey will also take centre stage in the new year and become increasingly important, and we will also be stepping in to ensure you have all the tools you need at your disposal to maximise business opportunities and stay ahead of the game.

We’re also looking forward to even more product enhancements next year, with product investment being at the heart of what we have undertaken in 2017, and a continuing focus for us going forward.

Our biggest and best year yet? That’s up for debate, but we are certainly proud of 2017’s achievements, and we can’t wait to break more new ground and help you be an even more successful adviser next year!

Product investment – it is not important, it is critical.

Staying ahead of the game in our market relies on listening to our customers, coming up with innovative ideas to accommodate their changing needs and different ways of thinking. Product investment is therefore crucial to our business’s evolution and offering high-end solutions.

Speaking to Introducer Today this month, our CEO Mark Lofthouse gave his thoughts on how we have retained as an industry and thought leader by ensuring that product investment remains at the top of our agenda each year:

“The technology market,” he notes, “is a particularly competitive market and the longevity and survival of many tech companies is down, quite simply, to their approach to product investment and development. Apple is the world’s largest tech company and regularly features in lists of the top ten companies in the world of any description.

“There’s one very good reason for that – it keeps bringing out new products that people want to buy. The first iPhone, the product on which the company was established, was launched ten years ago and since then they have continued to launch a range of new, innovative iPhones and along the way supported by the launch of new ‘connected’ products and devices like the iPad and Apple Watch. If Apple had lost its way and was still trying to sell the original ‘ten-year-old’ iPhone, I can pretty much guarantee that, as a company, it’d be rotten to the core by now! Blackberry and Nokia prove that point!”

While the mortgage technology market may not run on such a global scale like Apple, Mark notes that the principles remain the same:

“Any company in its sector which doesn’t listen to its customers and adapt to a changing market can’t possibly survive in the long run.

“Let me start close to home for a minute. Mortgage Brain recently celebrated its 30th birthday and we’re still as relevant now as we were 30 years ago. This is because we continually listen to our customers, invest in new products and people, and develop new and associated technology products and services to bring to the market. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be here. Simple as that.”

As the use of technology constantly evolves, you need to ensure you can keep up with it. As Mark points out, having the resources to be able to ensure your vision and ideas become a reality – is crucial.

Mark continues: “It’s why we invest over 40% of our expenditure each year into product research and development. It’s through product development and investment in the mortgage technology market that saw the launch of the mortgage industry’s first ever sourcing system. The ability to complete and submit AIPs and Full Applications digitally and receive a lending decision in under a minute. The launch in 2012 of the industry’s first mobile App that promoted advisers to consumers and brought in new business leads.”

This kind of investment allowed us to bring the industry’s first ever iPad-based sourcing system to the table as well as the development of multi-device, online and offline, fully integrated first and second charge sourcing solutions. It was also through this same investment and development that meant mortgage advisers were able to break into new markets such as conveyancing and second charge mortgage sourcing.

But how did all these developments come about? Mark has an answer for that: “Continuous investment in people, products and services – if done properly – is much more than just bringing new products to the market for the sake of it. Done properly, product development and investment allows companies to help and support advisers through the constant regulatory and market changes.

“Interactive websites with mortgage search and selection capabilities are here and now, together with digital client portals, which enable consumers to complete online Fact Finds, and securely send and receive information and documentation – all of which is way ahead of what the large aggregators have to offer.”

So, what’s next for both the mortgage market and for us as a company?

Mark thinks that anything is possible: “Looking ahead five or more years the biggest changes will be in the way we interact with computers with voice commands taking over from keyboards, and if we go all out Sci-Fi, there’ll be holograms and human-like robots!

“Who knows where it will end? The mortgage tech industry may not work on Apple’s global scale, but it’s still investing millions in R&D to keep advisers ahead of the game in an ever-changing market. Continuous investment, therefore, isn’t important, it’s critical.”

You can read the full piece on our website here.

Conveyancing and technology: how the two go hand in hand

The conveyancing market is booming. Proactivity levels have soared by 69% in the past four years, according to data released in July by Search Acumen, even with 11 per cent less conveyancers currently in the market. It’s becoming ever more imperative that those of us still working in the industry can cope with a heavier workload, and continue to make it a success.

As the amount of technology on offer increases, its use in different sectors grows at the same time. Technology in the conveyancing industry has improved as of late, with the rise in technology overall playing its part in enabling conveyancers to not only keep on top of their cases, but to ensure they are completed efficiently and to a high standard.

Conveyancers are, on average, now completing an extra case per week, and technology can be thanked for having a large part in this success. It can be said to be helping improve efficiency, enhancing due diligence and streamlining the processes that must be completed in the conveyancing process. But do you know everything that’s on offer to you to ensure your conveyancing career is a successful one? 

Technology and communication

Communication is incredibly important if you want the conveyancing process to run as smoothly as possible. ConveyancingBrain’s Case Tracking Guide provides an overview of the perfect method of three-way communication, between you, your client and the chosen Solicitor. The ConveyancingBrain team is also able to join in the conversation to move things along, so it can be a four-way conversation if need be.

One of the beauties of the messaging element of the case tracking is that you can also choose whether all parties or just some can see each message. On occasion it may be prudent to simply converse directly with the Solicitor without the need for the Client to view that message, thereby giving you greater control of the communication.

The Purchase Progress log on the case tracking system also shows what stage the case is currently at and helps provide confidence and information as to what activity the Solicitor is undertaking.

With all communication in one place and made simple, you can keep up with your growing workload whilst not compromising on service. The guide explains how to track your cases efficiently, with the system allowing everyone to see case updates 24/7 and alerting all parties when there is an update, request or advance in the case.

Regular updates

The brilliant thing about technology is that it means processes are now instant, and updates more frequent. ConveyancingBrain are committed to making regular updates to the system to make things easier to use and processes more simple to follow, giving you the tools you need to obtain a quote quick and easily, instruct a solicitor and complete a case.

tracking

Automated emails and text messages (if chosen) are sent whenever a Solicitor adds a note to the Case Notes section of any ongoing cases, saving plenty of time as it means you don’t even have to log in to check your messages.

Technology also makes it easier to take on customer feedback and implement any changes to make the user journey a better and smoother one.

One change ConveyancingBrain made recently was making it possible for you to choose whether to disclose the Solicitor’s name on the quote you provide to your client. Technology allows you to choose from different options to make everyone’s conveyancing experience better.

Opportunity for more

With technology comes the ability to offer more for your customers, with the advantages for online offerings ever increasing. Downloadable guides are a handy ConveyancingBrain offering that you can use to offer additional support to your clients.

Whether it’s sharing the 10 Steps to Conveyancing with your client to help them understand the process, information to sell conveyancing to clients, or guides to help you to make the most of the system, there are plenty of free information available to ensure both you and your clients are well equipped to understand the conveyancing process.

Technology is all about making things easier

When it comes to your job, the more streamlined processes are and the easier a system is, the more likely you are to succeed. Coping with an increasing workload sounds difficult, but when you use systems at your disposal, life is made much easier.

Open All Hours – top tips for Advisers on how to win more clients (without working harder)

Whilst we all know that success comes from hard work (and perhaps a bit of luck) we also know that working smarter is often key too. However, despite this ‘always-on’ digital world that we now live in, it can often seem impossible to switch off without losing an opportunity.  So what if your business could carry on working hard for you, even when you have signed off for the day? With research showing that 85% of shoppers research online before buying* it is imperative that you are ‘open all hours’ for business to win new clients.  Online at least.

Here are our top tips on how to gain more customers, even when you are officially ‘Out of Office’.

Work smarter, not harder

Consumers today look to investigate and research when looking to make any purchase and it is no different with mortgages. With increasingly busy lives, they will typically do their research at a time to suit them – so to capture their interest, you need to ensure your website and your social channels are working even when you aren’t.

By adding interactive information and research tools such as a Mortgage Search plug-in or a Best Buy Table onto your website, users at least have an option to submit an enquiry to you, rather than simply be an uninspired visitor.

Your social channels are also live 24/7 so ensure that they carry on working for you after hours. Take the time to add content that is relevant, current and recent – there are tools, such as Buffer and Hootsuite, to help you schedule social media posts that can be published at times when your potential clients are more likely to be active (and you have switched off for the evening).

 

Get recommended

An influencer engagement survey found that over 90% of consumer’s trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of marketing, and 70% said they trusted consumer opinions posted online.

Provide an excellent and honest service that brings results for your clients, and they are far more likely to recommend you to family and friends.

Why not take the plunge and ask your clients to provide written recommendations that you can add to the content on your website or post on social media. These short recommendations will continue to work for you for many months to come and speak volumes about you and your services.

 

Achieve 5-star reviews

As well as recommendations, you could also ask clients to review your services – the trick is to make the process simple and easy to do so. You could send them a follow-up email thanking them for their business and at the same time ask them to provide a review? There are several ways of doing this:

  1. Reviews given on your Google Listing not only appear on your Google Business Page (easy to set up if you don’t have one) but they also appear against your business record in Google searches:

Ask for reviews on your Facebook page if you have one. Look at this recent search for ‘mortgage adviser’ – which one would you select? A customer will probably consider locality and take note of the star rating and may potentially make a choice based on the highest ratings and/or number of reviews.

  1. On receipt of unprompted feedback or thanks from a client, ask if you can publish what they have written. Most people are delighted to see their name and words ‘in print’.

facebook reviews

Prove your brilliance

As good as customer reviews, testimonials and recommendations can be, many potential clients will also be interested in what you have done for other people in similar situations. Including case studies on your website can open your business up to more clients, as you not only tell them how good other people think your service is, but it also helps to explain exactly how you have solved challenges and issues that may have arisen during the process.

You don’t need to use any names in the case studies, just explain clearly and concisely exactly what the problem was or what situation the client came to you with, what you did to get them the best deal and what the successful outcome was. It provides yet more evidence as to why people should choose you as their Adviser.

 

Perfect your pitch

When a potential client does find you, providing them solid advice there and then will help them to conclude that you are the Adviser for them! Show your expertise, share your knowledge and give them all they need to come to an informed decision.

All clients are different, and as you know will have a varied amount of knowledge about the mortgage process and the advice available. So as long as you use your experience to make them feel comfortable talking to you and putting their trust in you, growing your client base should become second nature.

 

Use technology to your advantage

An ever-growing client base requires management and consistency. Taking advantage of technology to store all your client’s data securely and reduce paper-work to a minimum will save time, both for you and for your client.  Your client will expect you to have the latest information at your figure tips to provide information on products relevant to them and their situation, so be ready to do.

Clients will also be relying on your efficiency, and using mortgage technology can enable you to demonstrate that you are indeed very capable, whilst you remain compliant throughout the whole mortgage advice process. It will also save time with limited need for paperwork as your records are largely entered online.

However, with 65% of consumers citing a fear of their personal information being hacked, you need to demonstrate that your clients’ data is both secure and protected – at all times. If you use a secure system such as the Key, not only will you be able to manage the whole sales process compliantly and with little effort, the associated Client Portal will allow both you and your client to securely message and exchange documents. Not forgetting you can now present an online Fact Find form to your client which they can complete at their leisure, and you have no need to re-key the information as it synchs seamlessly back to the Key.

laptop

Get out there!

So now you have set up your website and social channels to showcase your business and handle incoming enquiries (pull marketing), you may still need to get out there and promote yourself (push marketing). It doesn’t take long to craft an email to send to your database of potential customers. Let your prospects know you are open for business, send them your latest review or recommendation and perhaps provide news of a new fixed rate product, not forgetting to highlight your relevant services. With £35bn of mortgage loans expiring in the next 2 months+ there is huge potential to grab a slice of the market.

Spending time on expanding your presence both online and offline holds the key to obtaining more clients – even when you are ‘out of office’.

We do hope these tips will help to ensure your business is ‘Open all Hours’ – without working even harder than you already do.  Good luck!

 

Sources:

+ CACI

*Retailing Today

◊ PwC, Total Retail 2017

Social Media for Advisers

Social media for advisers – where to start?

Research shows that £145Bn worth of mortgages were granted in 2016* but with new mortgage brokers setting up every week you need to be able to protect, and indeed grow, your own market share. You can gain instant access to 1000s of buyers using social media, but where do you start? Or how do you maximise your time online to the best effect? In this article, we explore how social media can give you that competitive edge.

Why use social media?

Being part of a social media community immediately opens up opportunities to expand your audience, communicate within the industry and engage with potential clients. It can help you:

  • Keep abreast of the latest news and developments in the mortgage market
  • Promote your business and communicate with potential clients
  • Network with fellow brokers and connect with Lenders
  • Link in with industry influencers who may open doors for you

As we mentioned in our previous blog, your website acts as your shop window. Social media goes further – it provides more channels and opportunities to promote your business, as well as directing readers to your own website. With each and every social media channel you can easily connect, engage and discuss with all those who are important to you. You can promote your business through your social profile(s) to help attract new clients. By posting engaging, relevant content and promoting your profiles to others, you can help boost your reputation and recognition amongst your target audience.

You can promote your business through your social profile(s) to help attract new clients. By posting engaging, relevant content and promoting your profiles to others, you can help boost your reputation and recognition amongst your target audience.

Social media platforms allow you to network with fellow brokers, start a conversation about a current topic and discuss more general, light-hearted subjects. Ultimately, social media gives you the possibility to grow a network of contacts you can connect and potentially work with in the future.

Using social media

Which platforms should you use?

From Facebook to Pinterest and YouTube, the myriad of channels can be overwhelming making it hard to know which one/s to focus on.  However, you don’t have to use them all. Don’t overstretch yourself and focus your efforts on perhaps just one platform to start with. This will ensure the quality of your messages remains of a high standard and you are able to post regularly.

TOP TIP: Do NOT attempt to use more than three channels when starting out on social media. Perhaps start with one and build from there.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a prime platform for brokers to find and network with like-minded peers. It is traditionally a professional network, where discussions tend to centre on industry-related subjects. This means that most of your connections are likely to be people you work with and other industry contacts you may know, for example, people you have met at events or conferences. You can also join groups about topics you’re interested in or to connect with like-minded people, such as the Mortgage Brain group or Mortgage Brokers UK.

You can create a personal profile as well as a company page for your business to post your own content and updates to promote your services.

Twitter

The main benefit of Twitter is that it is an open network. While LinkedIn and Facebook both have closed networks whereby you must connect with, ‘like’ or ‘follow’ someone in order for them to see your content, Twitter is open to everyone.

Unless your account is on a private setting, people can see your tweets and get involved in discussions, especially if you use hashtags. This is an excellent technique to increase brand awareness and to spread the word about your business.  Don’t use more than a couple of hashtags in any one tweet thought, otherwise it could look like spam.  Again, you can set up your profile to be personal – or create one for your business.

TOP TIP: Practice at writing short posts as Twitter only allows 140 characters, including any relevant links or tags.  For example: Radical new proposals to cut out unfair abuses of leasehold have been announced by the government this week:  buff.ly/2uBapHo   (132 characters)

Facebook

Your personal Facebook profile with party and children photos won’t get you far in the mortgage world, so for business promotion, it is a good idea to create a Facebook company page to act as the hub of your marketing on this channel.

Like many other social channels, Facebook allows you to schedule content to be posted directly onto your page and reach out to your target audience with the use of promoted posts. It is a tool primarily for businesses to use, and it can help you with lead generation.

TOP TIP: Ensure you set up the right sort of page for your business – Facebook guides you through the process and has a great help centre should you need it.

Business or pleasure?

If you have your own business and are looking to grow your client base, it’s best to first focus on creating company pages for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can share similar content across all three sites whilst ensuring you reach a variety of audiences since different people use different networks. This simple step ensures you are promoting your business, rather than your social activities.

TOP TIP: Check your organisation’s policy to ensure you stay within their guidelines (if applicable). It may include hints and tips to get you started.

If you work for a larger company and would like to expand your industry presence as an individual, you can start off with a Twitter account and a LinkedIn profile. You can get involved in discussions on Twitter and tweet from meetings or events to get involved in conversation with fellow brokers. Start building connections with colleagues on LinkedIn and explore any groups you can join to meet new people to network online with.

Use social media to your advantage

Using social media wisely can help grow your business and your network of trusted contacts and specialists. Show yourself to be an expert in your field and you are likely to earn the trust and respect of your audience. You should share interesting, unique content that adds value to your followers, reminding yourself that it’s quality, not quantity that counts. Dedicate sufficient time to build an audience on each network – and remember not to spread yourself too thin. Good luck!

*Source: Building Societies Association

My Mortgage Brain Experience: Katie M

As part of my Year 10 work experience programme, I was kindly offered a placement at Mortgage Brain where I spent a week with the marketing team, learning about what the company does in a broad sense, as well as the individual roles and responsibilities of the team. It was my first experience of a business environment, so it was interesting for me to see how everything works and how my original perceptions of an “office life” were so far from the truth!

I was given a basic outline of what the company does in which I learned about broker/customer/lender relations and roles, the different departments and their roles within the company. I also learnt about the different products the company offers and what each one provides. This was when I realised how little I actually knew about mortgages and how difficult it was for an outsider to grasp.

Nonetheless, it was explained to me well. I was given my own email and was shown how to use Outlook which was a programme I hadn’t used before (luckily it was easier to understand than the actual company!). I was also taught how to structure an email formally which was very useful – especially since it’s something we don’t learn at school.

I was introduced to the employees of Mortgage Brain on my first day, I received a warm and friendly welcome from all of the staff; everyone was so kind and eager to help me. It was a great environment to work in as everyone got on well (they didn’t even argue over who made the tea), and were always looking out for me (and offering me cups of tea), which definitely put me at ease (the tea was very good). I sat down with each member of the marketing team during the week and they talked me through their roles within the team and the programmes and processes that they use. It was informative for me to learn about individual responsibilities as well as an overall view because it allowed me to visualise what working for Mortgage Brain would be like.

During my stay, I was lucky enough to be involved in the redesigning of the Mortgage Vision 2017 website. This was great as I was given the opportunity to attend meetings within the team where web design was discussed. I also had a look at the Mortgage Vision 2016 website and I was asked to review and compare it to other sites. This was a great experience for me as I could learn about web design and the whole process behind creating a website; it was a lot harder than I realised. The team was very good at helping me feel included during the meetings and explained concepts that I didn’t understand. The end product looked amazing – I’m sure you’ll agree!

I was also able to attend a “Company Meeting”. This was particularly useful for me as a work experience student as I was able to experience how meetings work in the real world – they were a lot less scary than I had initially imagined, but a lot more boring!

Overall my work experience with Mortgage Brain was fantastic; I was able to see a new environment which was like nothing I had ever experienced before.