lender marketing and realtor marketing medicine

What Is the Right Medicine for Loan Officer and Realtor Marketing?


Having the right answer or the right medicine for an ailment doesn’t always endear us to those who should appreciate such things. Sad but true, because as someone smarter than myself once said, “You can’t challenge the addition to someone’s belief system.” That might offend some people but, hey, I’ve never been one to say what people want to hear anyway. I recently tweeted out an article on relationships and social media as I thought it was an interesting read. Besides, the influencers say, “That’s what social media is about; content that we find interesting that we ‘think’ others will also find interesting”. A couple things the article covered were the emotional impact of being unfollowed along with strategies on how to build followers, etc. To put it bluntly, social media is a time waster. It’s very effective at wasting time and what fascinates me is how many of its advocates, meaning those who profit by selling it, say it’s a great marketing system, yet so few can show its profitability in terms of real dollars. Sure, it’s cheap if not free, but spoken of in general terms, its return on investment is followers and followers don’t equate to revenues.

Some feel it’s great because it gives people a chance to really speak their mind and offer value. Well, I agree the “chance” to speak one’s mind is fantastic, however, that’s not what I see out there and you probably don’t either.

When I say value, it sounds wonderful. I love value, but it’s the last thing I see! I’m always guilty of looking at marketing through the prism of how the Loan Officer or Realtor use it in an attempt to increase their market share. Without any fear of creating enemies, there’s no value in what most folks are doing with social media. I wrote about this in another blog post called — Mortgage Marketing – 3 Magic Words — and this touched on the concept of relationships. But it should be clear now that social media doesn’t create nor maintain real relationships between business and the consumer.

Social media marketing could work a lot better than it does, but once you’ve trained the dog to go on the carpet, why bother to mosey outside when it’s so comfortable inside.

A colorful image, but I wrote it for a reason. The word comfortable is the operative word here. It’s uncomfortable to sit around and tweet all day long (at least for many of us if not most), so the “Hired Tweeters” are employed. There are systems to let us set-it-and-forget-it. Everyone from pharmaceutical companies to celebrities hire ghost tweeters. It’s much more comfortable to have someone else do the work. Which takes the “social” out of social media, I think.

But it’s the lack of actual marketing in the social media marketing that’s also a big problem. Since it’s comfortable to talk about what we know, Realtors sell property, so that’s what gets tweeted and shared on Facebook. LO’s know about fixing credit, preparing to borrow, markets, rates and programs, so that’s what gets tweeted and shared on Facebook by them.

Somewhere along the line, many have forgotten that they’re tweeting and sharing things that aren’t much interest to most of us, unless we’re in the throes of a sale, purchase or refi. I help LO’s and Realtors communicate with their clients all the time and I wouldn’t be caught dead telling any of them to do what I see so many do on social media. I can say and PROVE that I don’t have any clients that spend time and money on marketing who fail. None!

Many of them do social media marketing and none of them can say their online efforts rival their direct marketing efforts. But this isn’t about my success, it’s about social media marketing and whether it’s the right medicine for what ails the business looking to increase its market share.

The symptom is a small percentage of new business, the ailment is a misunderstanding of what works, and the environment for the ailment to fester is ignorance and an addiction to a belief system that social media marketing is a foundation for relationships. It’s fun, but it’s not the best course for the LO or Realtor to do as a complete marketing solution. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, then there’s some pretty insane people out there. No offense, but as my dad used to tell me when he was alive, “Son, the numbers don’t lie” So, why is everyone doing something that doesn’t work instead of doing what does work?  Are they insane? Well, I don’t have empirical clinical proof, however, the numbers show it’s not as effective as the advocates claim it is, and I know from personal experience speaking with people from all over the country that fear of rejection and failure plays a huge role.

Seems like people chase whatever is “trending” and that’s the best medicine because everyone else is doing it! But the results just don’t bear that out. It’s safer using social media (from rejection that is). It also appears to level the playing field, by putting us on the same plane as Coca-Cola and Microsoft with the only difference being the amount of followers they have vs. how many I have. “That’s the only difference?” Coca-Cola isn’t monetizing their followers either. Monetization from their real marketing efforts over the years brings them followers, certainly not the other way around. Since followers are the currency of social media marketing, the rationale that followers equals revenues is the delusion.

If social media marketing was as profitable for the Loan Officer or the Realtor as it’s cracked up to be, you wouldn’t be able to get it so cheap. I won’t bore you with a lesson on the free market system and how prices in a healthy system set themselves based on REAL value, so I exhort you to know that the only people really profiting from it are those who are describing its use in general terms and swear that the return is Twitter followers, Facebook friends and “likes.” While it doesn’t hurt, social media marketing is not social and it’s not marketing and the secret is to not confuse the two. One can replace social media marketing with real forms of marketing, but to replace real marketing with only social media marketing is not good medicine for a business looking to grow.