Social Media Marketing: Is It Social or Is It Marketing?

social media marketing - is it social

When I was first introduced to Social Media Marketing, I must admit, the idea was intriguing. It seemed that Social Media Marketing could be better than just a website, better than just email, and far better than just a blog. But after spending a little time in the Social Media Marketing world, what I eventually came to realize was that Social Media Marketing really isn’t marketing at all. In fact, the title “Social Media Marketing” is closer to an outright lie. In fact, Social Media Marketing has moved from being somewhat credible to being absolutely disposable faster than any other form of marketing I’ve seen in a decade.

To be fair, here at Exodus we do use social media to get our brand out there and it does draw followers and even some readers to these blogs. But it has never drawn the benefits anywhere near what the Social Media Marketing advocates claim.

Since my focus is on providing marketing solutions to Mortgage and Real Estate Professionals, my view on this subject is through the prism of the industry I service. I’ve said it many times: What works for one industry doesn’t necessarily work for another more often than it should.

The behavior of marketers, would-be-marketers, and those who aren’t marketers at all, but people just trying to turn social media into a marketing platform, find out in a hurry that this form of marketing requires CONSTANT attention. There are software programs that will let you post automatically, and find content based on subjects you and your followers tweet, retweet, etc., and then post that for you. I think the next step is to have the “bots” read it, too, and this way, we don’t even have to show up.

A while ago, I tweeted out the following:

Research being done on aspects of social media marketing. Interesting insights developing. I’ll blog it soon. #mortgagemarketing

That hashtag immediately put me on the radar of numerous social media marketers. This is to be expected, however, given the nature of Twitter and the hashtag.

Here are two examples of how social media is being used for marketing and just how NON-SOCIAL it really is.

Example 1: Here’s a clear indication that if you wish to talk to no one about the importance of filling out a loan application or to clearly show how we’d rather not deal with you until you are serious about using us, this is it.

Example 1: Here’s a clear example of appearing to not want to talk to you but rather have you reach out to them through laziness, fear or anonymity. “We’d rather not deal with you until you are serious.” Is that a good choice for the prospect? Is it social?Social Media Marketing - is it social or is it marketing Is this tweet for the people who are afraid of the outside world? No offense to this company, but I don’t see the credibility in it. Social media has an astounding appeal to so many and for many reasons, among just a few — convenience, connection, anonymity, the illusion of safety and mystery. But the division it causes and the “marketing culture” it has created is very hands-off and very impersonal. (I recently wrote about this in a blog called What Kind Of Robot Will You Become.) Back to Example 1: Here’s a clear indication that if you wish to talk to no one about the importance of filling out a loan application or to clearly show how we’d rather not deal with you until you are serious about using us, this is it.

Example 2: Here’s another recent example of a marketer that DM’d me (Direct Message) shortly after he chose to follow me on Twitter

Social Media Marketing - I appreciate YOU

I’ve yet to see something so disingenuous. Again, no offense to this person, but it’s obvious that he is selling something. He’s using Social Media as a marketing tool, and his whole approach is so blatantly uncaring that it’s hard to even make heads or tails of it. He says he “appreciates” me. Really? And that’s immediately followed by the age-old question, “Need Extra income?” Well, at least he claims the tour is free…


These are two of many REAL tweets that I’ve received and they’re perfect examples of what’s going on out there.

Isn’t Social Media Marketing supposed to be social?

Now let’s focus on mortgage marketing and real estate marketing and the users of Exodus newsletter marketing.

Here’s the truth: When it comes to originators, Loan Officers have more power than they typically realize. Allow me to explain. The borrower feels that the Loan Officer is the person responsible for getting the loan funded, despite the underwriting process, their financial picture, etc. We all look to our Loan Officer to help close the loan or get us the house or refinance we’re after. The Loan Officer gets a bird’s eye view of our financial/personal life and then, when the deal is done, we start receiving tweets and emails from him about home prices, buyers’ guides, interest rates, new programs, and a myriad of things of which we can’t really take advantage. How is this marketing? It’s not!

Let’s look again at the borrower, or even closer, at your past clients.

The nature of the housing product is simple. You can’t sell a loan or a house every 2 weeks, every 2 months or every 2 years to the same person unless they are investors. It’s much harder to generate business from people you don’t know than people you’ve done business with, so how do you do it in the mortgage and real estate arena?

Well, the first step is to change your view of who the borrower is? After the loan is done, the borrower ISN’T A BORROWER ANYMORE! They are now a homeowner, or, more accurately, a debtor.

The mistake being made here should be clear. The borrower’s/debtor’s personal interests haven’t changed, although their view of the housing market has changed drastically. And yet, the loan officer is still marketing to them with interest rates and market reports that they simply are no longer interested in.

Posting market reports, curb appeal strategies, and borrowing strategies isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it’s NOT going to endear you to people who are on Twitter for purely social and recreational reasons. Again, here’s the truth: Most Twitter followers of loan officers are family members, other loan officers and marketing companies; most followers of Realtors are family members, other Realtors and, yes, marketing companies. So who do you think you’re marketing to?

Lastly, if you’re a Loan Officer or a Realtor trying to shoehorn social media into a genuine marketing strategy by replacing what really works with something that’s free, time-consuming and distracting, you are stepping over dollars to pick up pennies. To separate yourself from your sphere of influence in exchange for the fun and illusion of “popularity” will not lead to more business or to you being more successful.

Social Media is social and that’s its only draw. For the mortgage and real estate professional, social media marketing is not marketing. It’s a waste of precious time and resources. Look, we know it’s fun. I personally enjoy reading Facebook posts, but when something as serious as finance is on my mind, I’m not using Twitter or Facebook to find it. Now that might be just me, and I might be old fashioned, but the reality is, Exodus mortgage marketing clients as well as our Realtors make consistent money and see consistent growth through both good times and bad by communicating with their clients in the most effective, sensible and personal ways: the Exodus Marketing Newsletter, plain and simple!

In my next blog post I’ll tell the true story of a regional manager that I spoke with recently who was far more comfortable being disconnected from his Loan Officers and their customers, while painted on the wall over his head inside the bank he works in every day are the words: “Your Hometown Mortgage Lender.”

Until next time…
Keith Shapiro