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Uprise - Business Insights - SMEs should start optimizing social media to get business loans approved: Why and How?

SMEs should start optimizing social media to get business loans approved: Why and How?

Uprise - 2020/05/31

Digital data, including social media data, has become part of the loan assessment process of some lenders. Running your company webpage and social media accounts with perseverance and personality will help your brand attain better performance online for sure; yet, optimising your online reputation strategically will save you a lot of energy in the loan application journey. After reading this blog, you will learn how to optimise some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that lenders specifically look at so that you will have a higher chance of getting your small business loan application approved.

Why social media matters?

Creditworthiness and credit history of the business owner are always essential in business loan application. However, when it comes to a recently-found small company or start-up, the lender cannot make a clear decision because the applicant’s credit report is mostly blank. That’s why online lenders and even a few traditional banks are starting to look at social media profiles to access valuable information about their applicants.

This new type of loan assessment takes into account several digital KPIs, from which lenders will be able to predict the prospect of your business and customers’ behaviour. Here are some of the most frequently-used social media KPIs included in loan assessment framework :

(i) Monthly Audience: this reflects the number of potential clients of your business.

(ii) Monthly Return Users: this reflects the number of visitors manifests deep interest and loyalty in your brand.

(iii) Marketing Spending: this will be used in cost per conversion (CPC) analysis to see if your advertising strategies are wise enough to improve the conversion rate steadily.

(iv) Ratings and Reviews: this allows the lender to validate the online reputation of your firm.

(v) Your Posts on Social Media: they can be used to assess if the business has been marketing their products effectively

If you are about to apply for a business loan, especially from an online lender, it will be a smart move to optimise your social media preference beforehand.

1. Set up local SEO plan to attract traffic

Firstly, you are highly recommended to implement a pragmatic search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that will allow your business to reach a highly-qualified audience when they are searching for a solution to their needs. As a SME or startup, what you want and need is to rank higher in organic search results in your area. Boosting local SEO is an ideal strategy for your company because you don’t need to attract a worldwide audience to your site at this preliminary stage.

To begin with, you shall create more unique contents in both your company landing page and social media which set you apart from your competitors to gradually grow your monthly audience. Remember, the content has to be keyword-rich and region-specific.

Imagine you are a lender of candyfloss machines that allow users to make different shapes of candyfloss. Instead of plainly listing all the selling points in one content, you may consider sharing your team’s experiment results on creating candyfloss of various shapes, with photos and descriptions complementing. Apart from those who are really planning to lend a candyfloss machine, you may also gain some organic views from people who are simply curious about what shapes candyfloss can be made into. Fun, entertaining contents would be the hook to gain attention and get exposure.

2. Grow a loyal fanbase

Interest-provoking content can bring new traffic to your social media site but such attention is often one-off or short-lived. Having a group of audience who would continuously revisit your page for new inspiration or engage in interactive activities is important, because they are highly possible to become your customers someday. To grow a loyal fanbase, you may consider digging deeper into the topics that your audience gave the best reaction. Keep asking these questions may help you to create audience-centered content:

(i) What are the needs of your target audience? How can your company meet these needs?

(ii) What are the common obstacles your audience faces? How can you help them overcome these challenges?

(iii) Think about the knowledge your audience already has, and what they need to learn.

(iv) Brainstorm some potential content topics to help you bridge the gap with your ideal audience. Get as specific as possible.

Take the candyfloss example again. Assume that your post on candyfloss experiment hit the highest number of “like👍” or “heart❤️” your brand account has ever received. The next step is to expand the popular topic into some more related content. For instance, you can invite professional candyfloss-makers and children to join the challenge and make it into a video series. Alternatively, you can get down to business and publish content that convince your loyal audience to lend the machines from you.

By using Google Search Console, you can track the performance of different content regularly to find out where opportunities hide. The tool helps you analyse the ranking and click-through rates of your pages and related keywords, and most importantly, it is free of charge.

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3. Spend your advertising budget wisely

Lenders will examine your Cost per Conversion (CPC) value to determine whether your marketing tactics will bring your business more businesses. CPC is simply the quotient of the cost you invested in an ad campaign and the number of conversions induced from it.

There are several paid online marketing options. A paid search ads is an advertisement appears at the top of the results page in an effort to grab the user’s attention. You can buy ad placements for certain key terms as well as the names of your competitors. Social media marketing is also very prominent nowadays. It’s estimated that there are nearly 2.5 billion active users on Facebook, 1 billion on Instagram and 330 million on Twitter worldwide. Don’t mention the numbers may skyrocket during COVID-19 quarantine period. Therefore, you should start to sharpen up your skills for paid marketing from now on to stimulate conversion. Take a look of some useful tricks:

  • Dedicate some of your search ads to targeting local competitors. This gives you the opportunity to appear in their branded search results, potentially diverting their customers to your site.
  • Beyond Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok and LinkedIn, don’t forget to spend some budget on local news websites.
  • Engage with previous visitors to your website through a re-marketing campaign. This means they will see your ads on the other sites they visit after yours. Re-marketing ads allow you to provide additional touch-points and special offers to people you know are already somewhat interested in and familiar with your products.

An easy start would be targeting more accurately on your audience using customized ad functions provided by different social media platforms. If you have already done so, you can consider incorporating insights from Google Search Console, Google Analytics and performance reports of your brand accounts, and then pick out good-performing keywords or contents you think that are worth promoting.

Visit our "Blogs" page to grow your online brand with us. If you are interested in knowing more details of our financial services, call us at +65 3138 4088 or drop us an email for a consultation.</p>

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Read Further:

➡️ How Singapore SMEs survive Coronavirus COVID19

➡️ Business Financing Tips for Start-ups and Small Business

➡️ How SMEs in Singapore benefit from the Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) Amid COVID-19 pandemic?

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