As a mortgage company, it is essential to build your credibility with consumers. If you’re not deemed credible, online communities can still gather around your brand, but may not really be your friends.
Community-building starts with an audience that comes back regularly to a site. Keep them coming back with posts that are focused on a handful of specific subjects that you know will be of interest. Developing this content has to be part of an overall online strategy that encompasses Facebook, blog posts and Twitter if Twitter is a part of your strategy. Encouraging and driving online interactions from customers, non-customers and vendors allows consumers not yet connected with your brand to form an opinion as to what it’s like to deal with your brand. It also encourages those who have worked with you to post their experience. Let me share a statistic with you…according to the 2012 Local Consumer Review Survey, 72 percent of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations; 52 percent say that positive reviews make them more likely to use a local business.
Here are some basic rules you should follow as a “content creator” for your mortgage company:
►Put together what’s called an “Editorial Calendar." An editorial calendar helps you organize your thoughts for future content. This takes away the pressure of coming up with subject matter “on the fly” which can lead to a lot of pressure. You will also be able to focus on what’s working and what’s not and then make adjustments along the way as you see fit. Now, you will have quality content which enhances your trust level within the community which will help build your community.
►Develop a regular schedule of publishing. A consistent flow of content will build, and keep, the attention of your constituencies.
►As a host, you need to be prepared to “stoke the fire.” Your brand needs to actually participate and promote conversation around your content to build a community. You may wish to invite people from your company to comment on your posts. Be sure to respond to comments added to your content and add your own comments to content posted to your community. Go out to like-minded web sites, LinkedIn and Facebook groups. Participate in chats and reply or re-tweet on Twitter. Just make sure you are engaging in actual conversation and not straight promotion. No one minds you mentioning your brand when it’s appropriate but you will be flagged right away if you are spamming a conversation.
►Always keep an eye toward finding ways to improve your site and content. Add features and functionality that allow people to carry content over to other communities and social networking sites. Play around with new features. Some will be appreciated by your users but be prepared that not everything you add will be a success; some features may be ignored, others may cause an uproar. So, be prepared to roll back and change if you don’t feel completely sure it will work.
Above all, don’t be afraid to experiment a little ... think outside the box and have fun!
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]