As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, April 2009.
The Internet has changed from being an information-based tool to one that is conversation-based. People are talking, researching, recommending and criticizing products, services and companies in all corners online. Further, each of them can create blogs, groups and communities and end up networking with people from all over the world.
In fact, social-networking Web sites have fast become the Internet's most-powerful attention-getter.
Whether or not they've grabbed you, these sites' marketing capability is one most residential mortgage brokers would be well-advised to tap. There likely is no other low-cost, promotional method out there that can provide the kind of exposure, relationship-building, networking and traffic-generating results that social-media marketing provides.
Although this could represent a major shift in the way mortgage businesses view their online-marketing strategies, it's often a wise proposition for companies of all sizes. Thousands of social-media sites exist -- it's merely a matter of identifying your niche. Your goals and your results depend on your online mortgage business and on your target customers, be they borrowers or potential referral-partners.
Here are nine ways you can use social-media marketing as a business-building strategy.
1. Create brand-awareness: Building your brand requires your personal participation in targeted social Web sites that will help borrowers and referral-partners find you. People must get to know, like and trust you before they want to do business with you. The more times people see your name and your links, the more they begin to trust you. Be sure to use the same picture of yourself or your logo on all of your social profiles. This consistency also helps build your brand.
2. Build trust: When it comes to social-media marketing, earning trust is all about your consistency, content and relationships. Make sure that everything you do on social sites creates an impression that you are a solid and trustworthy broker. It's not feasible to expect people to start sending you referrals the first day. But sharing helpful information with prospective homebuyers or tips with real estate professionals can create a flow of potential businesses that would be more difficult to cultivate otherwise.
3. Generate traffic: The Internet has a constant barrage of status updates, discussions and posts about mortgages, purchasing foreclosures, short sales, homebuying and more. When you participate in niche conversations in which people seek advice, you automatically position yourself as an authority on that subject. Participants often will follow the link to your profile, check out your company's Web site or e-mail you, thus bringing potential customers to your company.
4. Place high-quality links: Driving traffic is critical to generating leads for your mortgage business. And it can get pretty pricey if you are only relying on traditional Internet-marketing strategies that bank on "pay per click" techniques. Social linking, or including your URL on your profile and posts, can bring you traffic from multiple sources at no cost. Not only will this generate traffic, but it also can increase your presence and page rank on search engines.
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