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Helping Loan Officers Adopt Social Media with First Commonwealth Bank's Tom Sullivan

This article is from a Quick Hits conversation between Ben Treadway of SocialCoach and Thomas Sullivan, SVP Retail Mortgage Sales Executive at First Commonwealth Bank. Click below to watch the video conversation.


The 5 Steps of Social Media Adoption

Ben: Recently, you know, you and I, we've been working together trying to get some social media going for your, your loan officers.

But I wanted to just, from your perspective, you know, as a leader trying to help trying to help your loan officers get into social media, how are you doing that in a way that's getting them excited for social media and how are you going to make their lives a little bit easier? 

Tom Sullivan: Sure. So I look at it like this:

We have 30 loan officers. We're based out of Pennsylvania, we're a community bank, and you know, it's adoption.

It's a situation where not one size fits all with loan officers and people in general. So what I want to do is kind of engage them to take it in layers, social media in layers.

So I call it like the five or six pieces of social media that gets them to a real good comfort zone.

I know SocialCoach, who you represent, does a great job with social media and you know why our partnership will continue to grow. But I look at it like this. It's simple.

Step One: You start liking posts first, you know, you like the posts.

Step Two: You repost and comment. You know, you get some lift from that. You see people looking at it.

Step Three: Third phase for me is, you know, authentic posts. It could be pictures. It could be, you know, related to the bank. Showing teamwork with COIs, with realtors with even with title companies. You know, if you, you know, brag about others, tag them, include them in the post. They love seeing their name in the limelight.

And it just really gets people going, gets them engaged with you. I always say to lift up others in your social posts because you want to be authentic, you want to be a partner, you want to be somebody that really can, you know, say, Hey, I'm in this with you.

Step Four: The, the fourth phase is video messaging, you know, and I actually have my team look at potentially video messaging to people they trust first. So even an email with a video message about the market with the realtors, they trust to get some feedback so they can feel like it's like the minor leagues of video, right? So they can get some good feedback, good input on it. And then once that happens, you know, I have them send it out to a specific database.

So for example, LMI Realtors, realtors that, you know, you know, represent LMI borrowers. We'll send out massive, you know, one to one and a half minute videos through email. So now they've started to get more and more comfortable.

Step Five: And then finally the video messaging out into social media. So it's just, it's step by step process, but what happens is in each step.

They start getting some lift, they start getting inbox inquiries, they start seeing that there's a real opportunity that social media really is the best, you know, ROI as far as I'm concerned in the marketplace today. So it's just about getting them engaged, seeing more and more lift from the social media and kind of helping them, you know, them gradually feel comfortable with what they're doing and it becomes more authentic and it becomes solid overall.

Authenticity is Key

Ben: I think you, you hit a good point here. There are phases to it. It's not like you can just get on Instagram and win, right? There's step by step process that allows you to actually get in there and actually have a lot of success on it. And it does start by having some engagement outwards, liking people's posts.

And then you start posting a little bit more of yourself. Maybe it's personal posts, right? When the 49ers win today, I will be posting that. On my story, right? It's something that people can relate to and then ultimately it comes down to how do I use social media to engage with realtors and partners that can help me out.

And then when they see my page, they see content that's relevant to them and, and we can connect that way. So I think I love your, you know, step by step process to help your loan officers. Become successful on social media.

Tom Sullivan: Well, it's how I became, you know, quote, successful. I'm still work in progress like we all are, but that's how I grew into social media.

You've kind of seen me evolve over the last two years. I mean, I'm out there, you know, nothing's perfect, but people need to see you need to understand what you represent, you know, who you want to be, who you work with, how you want to engage with the market. And, you know, I can't say it enough. I tell the team, if you lift others up.

The business will come your way and you know, that's who people want to work with. They don't want to work with people that get on social media and say, I'm the greatest human being that ever lived and we are the best bank ever. There's nothing more annoying. You talk about what a great partnership your real estate agent was thanking them for the opportunity, thanking the title company for getting, sneaking in that closing for the certain date.

You know, you know, it's, it's just really being authentic and thanking people.

Ben: Yeah. And that was actually going to be my other question for you is, you know, now that you're on social media. You're working with, you know, your loan officers and getting them on social media as they start to grow. How can you make a bigger splash?

Tom Sullivan: And you just answered it. If you want more engagement and you want to be successful on social media on a different level, you got to lift up other people, right? If I tag a realtor that I work with and I say, Hey, thanks, Joe Schmoe, whoever it is, right? Thanks for helping out with this person. Tag their name, tag their company, you know, give them a good shout out.

That's going to number one, impress them, they're going to want to work with you again, right? It's also going to help push their business even further, right? It's the same thing. Like, Hey, I scratch your back, you scratch mine. Right. Well, if I am able to help people. continue to move forward with building their business.

They're going to then in turn, help me build my business. And I think sometimes we even have to think outside the box and not even make it transactional, but make it cultural.

So what I have done is I've had video messaging with our small business banking leader and how. First Commonwealth Bank engages together and collaborates with different lines of business.

That's unique. You know, you don't see that all the time, but that's who we are. We have cross pollination of business all the time. We reciprocate, we look for opportunities, and I just want that even to be known to the marketplace. But it's also a recruiting tool, right? Because, I mean, a loan officer wants to work at a bank.

That has a real collaborative approach and, you know, that's, you know, culturally who you are personally, if that comes across authentic, that's where you win.

Ben: Tom, you're, you're changing the game yourself. I love your content on LinkedIn. You sent me the videos of you at that like festival that you guys had.

I said, that has to be on social media because it's stuff like that, that does change it, right? You can post a lot about, you know, what your branches are doing, how your partnerships are going. But people want to see you get dunked. People want to see, and they loved it, right?

Tom Sullivan: Oh yeah, it was a blast.

Ben: And you got a ton of engagement on it.

Tom Sullivan: I got almost 6,000 hits on that. It's crazy, right? But it's fun, you know? And I made fun of the Browns at the same time, so it was a total win for me.

Ben: Total win win. Well, Tom, hey, appreciate you taking the time. We're super excited to be able to work with you guys at First Commonwealth.

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