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Updated: May 13, 2015
From annual revenue to Twitter followers, do you ever wonder what small business lenders actually look for?
The short answer: it all depends on which lender you’re talking to.
At Funding Circle, for example, we know that a credit score isn’t the only indicator of a healthy business.
If you’ve got one thousand things going on (like most SMB’s) social media may feel like a marketing afterthought. But, your social media presence can actually help your chance of securing a small business loan.
Unlike banks and other old-school lenders, we use cutting-edge technology to -effectively underwrite loans using hundreds of traditional and alternative data points.
Guided by the 5 Cs of Credit, our underwriting team considers a host of factors to evaluate your loan application.
And believe it or not, your social media footprint can help us flesh out one of the most important “Cs”: Character.
You’d be surprised at how much lenders can learn about your brand by doing a simple Google search.
It can tell us about your product or service offerings, management experience, trading history, partnerships, transparency, corporate citizenship, diversity of clientele, seasonality, customer experience, and more.
Such information could lead to a faster decision on your loan application or even a lower interest rate. Here are three things we look for:
Strong and active relationships with existing and prospective customers on social media can be reliable, revenue-drivers for your business – and a signal to lenders that you have a loyal customer base.
The average American spends three hours a day perusing social media, so take advantage of free airtime. Make sure your social pages are updated with the right location, website and an easy way to contact you – and don’t be afraid to show some personality in your posts.
Lenders can look at your Facebook and Twitter activity to see what customers are saying about you, and how quickly and effectively you respond to comments and complaints.
Spectacular customer service is a good indicator of your future success with customer retention, and satisfied customers are worth their weight in word-of-mouth marketing gold.
Keep in mind: each mediocre review on Yelp is an opportunity to improve a relationship with a customer (and win over new ones who see your thoughtful responses!).
Keep your social profiles up-to-date, blog about relevant topics in their industries and share those posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — an approach that will help your message come across as useful information, rather than a sales pitch.
If you are perceived as an expert or pillar of your local community, lenders may give you points for Character.
What’s your specialty? Why should a customer choose you over other options they have locally? Help us paint the whole picture of your business.
Paige Smith is a Content Marketing Writer and Senior Contributing Writer at Funding Circle. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and specializes in writing about the intersection of business, finance, and tech. Paige has written for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies, small business lenders, and business credit resource sites.