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    Connecting with your online audience has never been more important says Westpac Executive Manager Broker Partnerships Belinda Wright.

    This is something the AMA winning lender has prioritised during COVID-19, offering a range of virtual events for brokers as well as a digital end to end experience for home loan customers.

    MPA spoke with Wright about the importance of a good digital strategy and the ways brokers can best connect with customers over social media.

    A customer focus

    On winning most effective digital strategy at last year’s AMAs, Wright says Westpac’s digital strategy has a clear focus on ensuring good customer outcomes while making it as easy as possible for brokers to do business with them.

    “We recognise that the broking industry is a fast paced, evolving and dynamic industry and it is a priority for Westpac that we continue to invest digitally.”

    “We want to support brokers not only in their day to day, but also their business growth and sustainability too.”

    As a result, Westpac has expanded its digital offerings to both borrowers and brokers in response to the pandemic.

    “We have offered brokers wider access to education and subject matter experts channelled through our aggregator digital events, such as economists and keynote speakers on small business, vulnerable customers and women in finance”

    “For our home loan customers, we have mobilised our digital online ID home loan verification and electronic documents services to provide a full digital end to end experience.”

    With refixing now an immediate option, home loan customers are also able to select and accept a refix offer from their online banking account.

    Know your audience

    The most important thing to keep in mind when mapping out a digital strategy is your audience, says Wright.

    “Take time to listen to your clients and gauge how they are feeling. Ask questions about what they want to see from you and how you can address their needs and concerns.”

    “Doing this will ensure the basis for your strategy is grounded in empathy and matches the needs of your clients and community – and forms the foundation of digital activity you undertake.”

    Creating a strong online presence

    With social media being one of the easiest and most effective ways to market your business to clients, it is becoming more and more important to develop a strong online presence.

    “Research from Deloitte has found that small and medium sized businesses in Australia who are digitally engaged enjoy a 20% increase in annual revenue.”

    “As 80% of internet users search online for a product or service, it’s essential to ensure that your business can be easily found online.”

    “Before COVID-19, Australia’s 18 million active social media users spent almost two hours a day on Instagram, Facebook and other outlets.”

    “With people housebound for the past four months those few hours have increased exponentially.”

    She offers the following three tips on using social media in the most effective way.

    1. Be a trusted source of information.

    With so many government and lender initiatives on the table, clients will be on the hunt for reputable information.

    “If you can demonstrate that you have a strong understanding of the market, that goes a long way to building trust in a social media environment.”

    2. Show your clients how passionate you are about the service you provide.

    Don’t be afraid to get a little personal and let you content reflect your core values, she says. If your team is like a family, clients will appreciate this sentiment in your posts.

    3. Focus on relationship building.

    Instead of focusing on transactions, find ways to connect with and support the local community in your posts.

    “Engage with your followers on a more personal level, through virtual experiences, storytelling, thought leadership, and even humour.”

    “Actively engaging with your audience will help forge longer-term relationships and build brand goodwill – both of which will put you in a strong future position.”

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    Original Article