Written for CMP (Canadian Mortgage Professional Magazine) at www.mortgagebrokernews.ca
Read the online version here: http://www.mortgagebrokernews.ca/news/38033/details.aspx
Social Media Entourage, by Jessi Johnson
The whole concept of social media can take on many different positions depending on the individual. To some this is just another fad and they can’t wait for it to pass, whereas others harness this opportunity and turn it into business. Many will argue the inception of social media has removed the personal touch that has succeeded within a significant portion of the old-school broker generation. I personally don’t see it this way, quite the opposite actually. The definition of social media is content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. Essentially a way to share and discuss information, whatever it may be. Use social media for entertainment, research, networking or education. I on the other hand proudly exploit this wonderful tool and use it to connect with clients, keep on their radar and have fun with free advertising. Let’s talk about that- anyone ever heard of Twitter?
Twitter is a website based on status updates. The content provider is limited to 140 characters and a common strategy is to “tag” others in your message to encourage interaction. This is done by typing “@ (insert user name)” and then your message. The recipient will hopefully see your message and now conversation has started. To succeed at Twitter is simple, just be yourself. Reality sells like those proverbial hotcakes these days and people adore sincerity. Paint a picture of what you are up to and intrigue followers with your daily operations. Don’t be shy to “tweet” but don’t over-tweet. No one wants someone filling up their Twitter page with updates every five minutes. One significant benefit I find with Twitter is that it allows you to casually communicate with your clients. Feel free to finish a conversation with “cheers” or “Ciao”. These words of familiarity are generally considered faux pas during business hours but sometimes helpful when trying to connect. Let’s look at Twitter from the mind of a business owner. Twitter showcases real-time updates. As a company, you can keep your followers up to date with products or interest rates by the minute (if you so desire). Why not facilitate sales by helping people with their questions or comments, rants or raves. Houston’s coffee retailer Coffee Groundz allows coffee addicts to order via Twitter. As a consumer on Twitter, you can provide reviews of the experience you just received and direct your comments to the company (or brokerage house). Want to master Twitter? Like any communication connoisseur, the key to this success is listening. Want to listen in on what others are saying? Perhaps follow who’s talking about you. Go to www.search.twitter.com and input your search request. Last but not least, curious why only 140 characters? SMS (texting) limits each message to 160 characters. Twitter uses this popular perimeter while keeping space for a maximum 20 character username.
With over 200 million members, Facebook has crushed the previously popular myspace.com or friendster.com like a small bug. Myspace still holds huge market share but it’s not hot like Facebook. The social media giant known as facebook.com engulfs hours of time on a daily basis within the general public. This magnificent website allows you to share comments, pictures, video, friends and more. Posting isn’t as easy as Tumblr and less centralized but Facebook rocked the world and caused the tsunami that is kicking social media ass. Believe it or not, the average age on Facebook is over 50! No it’s not your children banging away on the keys- odds are it’s you. 75% of Facebook users are 24-65. Ever heard of an API? This wonderful tool is used to link websites together and allows them to communicate live. Facebook is packed full of API’s allowing you to upload one comment, newsfeed post or video and it automatically appears on sites like Twitter (comments only), Tumblr and many more. Need anything? Anything you can think of is obtainable from Facebook. Just post what you are looking for on your status update (just like Twitter) and wait for people to respond. Yes of course you need a database of friends, but this will undoubtedly grow with time. Some quick examples are: a score from the hockey game, a used TV, opinion on your new hair cut, mortgage rates or even (heaven forbid) a booty call. Yes it’s true, Facebook has it all. Consider Facebook’s newsfeed section the ultimate comment card. Once you post your opinion about something, it appears on everyone’s newsfeed. This is awesome! Especially when you are commenting on today’s killer mortgage rate, and someone who requires a mortgage broker notices and decides to contact you. Do you enjoy Friday night drinks with colleagues? Perhaps networking is up your alley? Then you need to be on Linked in: social media for the business oriented. Maybe you are bored of the typical vapid comments that tend to linger around Facebook and Twitter. There is no beating around the bush with Linked In. You are there to network, connect and do business. Nothing else. Want to market your services to individuals in specific industries? Simply glam-up your user page and start connecting. This revolutionary networking site does everything from collecting testimonials to essentially posting your online resume. It literally is the epitome of networking online. Picking up the yellow pages and finding a phone number are a thing of the past. These archaic strategies used by the baby-boomers belong in a communication museum. Need a service? Look it up on Linked In. Hopefully what you need is available in your network and now you just linked together a new connection. Linked In allows a business (or individual) to post what they offer. More importantly, it allows others to discuss their experiences with your company. The conveyance of easily viewing a testimonial is huge, but it means a great deal more when your friend or colleague is the author. 78% of people trust peer recommendations while only 14% trust advertisements. Word of mouth is your best advertising, or should I say world of mouth. Did you know that many companies use this site as a resource to find staff? This could save you tons of time with your new assistant job search. If you ask me, I think you owe me a beer! And the next biggest thing is…. Tumblr! Take the best of WordPress blogging and Blogger into one, you have Tumblr. Don’t know what these sites are? It doesn’t really matter. All you really need to know is what a blog is. The definition of a blog is a shared online journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences. Tumblr is a blog based website that makes blogging easy and is a great way to have an identity online. Much like your own website but with more personality, Tumblr even allows you to use your own domain name and essentially create for a free site. With over 800,000 users, this site uses web-based technologies to transmit media monologues into newsfeeds, blogs, podcasts, wall-postings and more. Tumblr is more like a scrapbook of stuff you find on the internet; videos, pictures, quotes, etc. I personally look at Tumblr as a reality website where people can see my collection of thoughts. What is going on in the world of Jessi Johnson? Check me out on Tumblr. To be honest, my Tumblr account is lacking. I just started getting into it and it pales in comparison to the fifteen hundred “friends” I have on Facebook. Some may think it would be harder to drum up business on Tumblr but just like any blog, if you produce good content, they will come.
Social media is like riding a bike: at first it will scare the shit out of you but once you get on, it’s pretty cool. Don’t get yourself lost in hundreds of websites, spend your time on a few until you properly understand what they have to offer. Social media has the capacity to reach large or small audiences at virtually no cost. Whether its a blog post or internet TV show, the expense can be minimal for the potential maximal payback of exposure to millions. Social media isn’t a fad but a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. Well orchestrated social media marketing transforms into website traffic, public awareness and potential sales. Last but not least, encourage people to follow you on these wonderful social media sites from your website. There is a world of opportunity out there, don’t be left behind and start building your social media entourage today!
Want to follow me? Just click on the logo’s at www.jessijohnson.ca
<< SIDE NOTES >> Twitter.com Based on status updates (140 characters or less) Founded in 2007 63% of Twitter users are male The most active Twitter use is Kevin Rose with 1,176,770 followers
Facebook Originally invented to quickly locate other students Build a network of friends, family, clients and associates Has over 6 times of population of Canada for members More than 1.5 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook, daily!
Linked in Specifically designed for networking Use client testimonials to generate business Need a service? Look it up on Linked in Many companies use this as a resource to find staff
Tumblr This will be BIG and pretty quick A blog based website that makes blogging easy A great way to have an identity online Like your own website but with more personality