June 10, 2010

Present at the Creation of Mortgage Marketing 2.0

Posted in Facebook, Financial Markets, Marketing 2.0, Social Media tagged , , at 3:35 pm by Doug Brockway

The other day Rick Grant posted “Time for the Mortgage Industry to Get Social” in a well followed industry publication, HousingWire.  He thinks the industry is starting to “get” social media and he says he knows this because he can hear them kicking and screaming.

I’ve worked in and around a number of industries and have found none of them quite as seemingly insular as the mortgage industry.  Sometimes this is only a mirage.  The industry has turns and complications that are difficult to see and explain even by seasoned insiders.  Sometimes its just the personality of the beast.  In the early 1990’s when Fannie Mae introduced rules-based technology in Desktop Underwriter it was counter-cultural in a number of ways not the least being that no other industry was using that technology at massive scale yet.  In most cases, as with social media, the mortgage industry is a “late adopter” of technology.

A lot of the mortgage industry is B2B.  It involves the various required parties interacting to originate a loan, to package and sell it, to securitize it, to service and retire it.  Most people interact with the mortgage industry on a B2C basis when they search for a new mortgage, look to refinance, or (much to often lately) repair or retire a loan gone poorly.

This means that different parts of the mortgage process will predominately use different social media tools.  Loan brokers and originators will go to where individuals are.  Increasingly, that means tools like Facebook.  People working on professional interactions between parties within the industry will look elsewhere, most often professional networking tools like LinkedIn.

To see what’s going on today I did a quick survey of some mortgage key words in three places:  LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (getting counts on Twitter will take more staff work).  The result is:

Groups on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter:

Category LinkedIn Facebook[1] Tweets[2]
Mortgage 1287 Over 500 Lots
Some of the underlying include….
REO 285 7 6
Mortgage Servicing 29 55 4
Mortgage Lending 88 Over 500 Lots
Mortgage Origination 9 54 0
Mortgage Underwriting 7 47 5
Mortgage Risk 9 109 Lots
Secondary Marketing 13 94[3] 0
Mortgage Marketing 40 309 Lots
Mortgage Technology 20 143 4
Mortgage Insurance 99 Over 500 Lots
Mortgage Fraud 12 23 Lots
Mortgage Banking 79 228 Lots
Mortgage Bank 34 Over 500 Lots
Mortgage Broker 56 Over 500 Lots

[1] Filtered for Business Groups

[2] This column is “lame”, not based on Lists or hash tags… needs revision

[3] Clearly NOT very mortgage related

Some of the above is piffle, SPAM.  Certainly LinkedIn groups, often started as vehicles to sell something, can be this way.  On the other hand, the right content, when it’s of interest, can take on a life of its own.  Today, “Mortgage Reform and Sacred Cows” generated 28 tweets and retweets in 1 hour, each of these being seen by all the followers of all the tweeters and each enabling a call to action on the part of a buyer.  Randomly checking the last three tweeters they have 1,249, 716, and 29 followers respectively.  Thousands of people saw this article today.  That’s coverage.

If you’re in the mortgage industry and you’re thinking about whether or not you might or could or should participate the answer is you must.  There IS a conversation going on, right now, about you and your competitors.  You must participate.  If you haven’t any experience in the subject then start by listening.  Join some LinkedIn groups (you can search them based on your interests), use the tools like Radian6 or Scoutlabs to monitor what’s being discussed.  Get a feel.

Very soon, participate.  Its “social” media and that means participate in the discussion.  You can’t dictate or dominate it with canned press release material.  Participate in the discussions as if you’re at a cocktail party, sipping on club soda, trying to know what others are saying and trying to make sure your points are heard and you are known.

The most important thing to get to is publishing content on the issues that your customers are interested in from their point of view.  NOT product pitches.  Instead,  useful, intelligent contributions to the discussions.  Do this and customers will follow your “calls to action” and click on your contact buttons.

Like anything else the basic stages are:  1) dip your toe in the water, 2) make a number of concurrent efforts, not experiments, but not too worried about “integration”, you need experience 3)  consolidate, integrate and expand.

Call if you need help.