A majority of the attendees at the social media session of the Five Star Default Servicing Conference and Expo shot up their hands when Bradlee Marick, panel moderator and executive director at Web Integrated Services, LLC, asked how many people used Facebook.[IMAGE]
Fewer hands hovered in the air when he surveyed the crowd about Twitter. Still fewer signaled their membership to LinkedIn.
""I thought everyone would have a LinkedIn account,"" said Marick, as he looked around the room. His assumption may stem from the website's high volume of users - it boasts members from more than 1 million companies.
Those who don't yet have an account - and who aren't taking full advantage of other social media marketing tools, such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube - are missing out on valuable free opportunities to further their business and build their own personal brand.
Social media tools provide a medium to let clients get to know an agent or broker's business, according to Kenneth Blevins, Jr., president and CEO of PMH Financial, LLC.[COLUMN_BREAK]
""Who goes to a bookstore and just picks a book off the shelf?"" said Blevins. ""I go to Amazon and read all the reviews because I want the social proof that this is a good book to read.""
Providing clients a place to learn more about an agent or broker's assets, niche, or market is one of the key advantages of social media sites like Facebook and YouTube. It also allows clients to give direct feedback - and let them know their voices are being heard.
Creating interaction with clients can also provide opportunities to create long-lasting relationships between agents or brokers and their clients, said Rick Roque, SVP of growth and strategy at Menlo Company/Prime Source Mortgage.
The panel advised agents and brokers to post only ""meaningful messages"" on their social media marketing outlets.
Three to five meaningful messages a day, which include relevant information about current trends or client questions, are always better than random posts throughout the workday - such as a status update about going to Starbucks, according to Tricia Andreassen, president and founder of Pro Step Marketing.
Blevins also recommended a streamlined approach to social media. ""Everything you do should have a common strategy to drive [clients] back to a specific site,"" he said.
If an agent or broker posts an update to Facebook, tweets about a trend on Twitter, or posts a video to his or her YouTube channel, each action should guide the user back to one specific location, whether it be a website or blog.
In doing so, the agent or broker provides the client the opportunity to collect more information about their business, and hopefully build a relationship for the future.