I hope not! But how can I say this? You must think I’m crazy right now. So, let me explain ...
I talk to many companies in the industry each day. Even many of the early adopters of social networking talk about their social strategies and how they have special departments set up exclusively to leverage various social venues. Their goals include the following ...
►Increasing share of mind;
►Fostering brand love; and
These are all very noble goals, but I would encourage those who have such a social strategy to get rid of the word “social” and just refer to it as simply a “strategy.” Why? Because “social” is not a strategy…it’s a part of a holistic communications approach that spans both traditional and social channels. This holistic approach is what achieves the stated goals.
Now that we have the understanding that a holistic approach is what’s needed, I want to talk to you about a new buzz-phrase that social media experts have begun to embrace: the social business. According to Peter Kim, a social business harnesses fundamental tendencies in human behavior via emerging technology to improve strategic and tactical outcomes. What a great statement! Let me break this down for you just to be sure we are on the same page. A business can be considered “social” without leveraging one single social media channel. Social businesses have existed for centuries. Now, fast forward to 2012, what it means to be a social business has evolved along with the advancement of technology. As technology has changed our communication habits, so has it changed how businesses must embrace it in order to compete effectively.
Now, my goal here is not to persuade you to integrate social media into your communications strategies. That’s part of being in this business now. What I would like to do instead is help you assess how social your mortgage company really is by asking several simple questions:
1. How long do you keep your callers on hold before they get to speak with a knowledgeable company representative?
2. Do e-mails to your prospects, current borrowers or business referrers come from “do not reply?” If so, what’s the message you’re sending besides “don’t even try to contact me because you won’t make it.”
3. How many buttons must a customer push on the phone to be able to speak to a human? Is pressing zero your default key to get the operator, or have you stooped to the level of “tricking” people into having to listen to every option so that the last option is pressing the “7” key to speak to a human? This just tells me the company detests having to interact with me.
4. Do you have a formal borrower feedback process in place? This is important to understand what your borrowers and prospective borrowers want and expect, allowing this information to go from the “front lines” and be passed along to management.
5. When was the last time your marketing department actually spoke to a prospect or borrower and actually listened to them to understand their perspective and their needs?
6. Does your “social media team” spend most of its time broadcasting self-centered communications on Twitter and Facebook?
The point I want to make here is that having a social business goes beyond your Facebook and Twitter accounts. The social business takes a holistic approach to its communications activities and makes it easy for borrowers and prospects alike to interact with your company, embracing the span of traditional and social means of communications. This holistic approach is what makes your constituencies feel like you’re accessible ... like you care about them and the experience they have with you that goes far beyond the mechanical components of completing a transaction.
Patrick H. Seroka is president and chief executive officer of Seroka, the only Certified Brand Strategists in North America specializing in the mortgage industry. With Seroka, you'll experience unique, second-to-none client service and benefit from compelling marketing communications. Plus, we guarantee your growth. For more information, call (262) 523-3740 or e-mail [email protected]