Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why Should a Title Company be on Twitter?

I admit, I started tweeting because it was novel, fun and the real estate industry was embracing it in spades. Then, almost mid-tweet, it occurred to me that this thing called Twitter may have some legs, and more importantly some utility to a title company. Keeping in mind that as an industry we are part (mostly, really) business-to-business and part business-to-consumer, I thought I'd break down exactly how a title company can benefit from actively using Twitter:

Subject Matter Knowledge: In short, getting into the heads of real estate agents! What are the concerns that many share in the industry? What kind of technology are folks turning to? What blogs are agents creating, reading and commenting on? Sure, real estate is local and provincial, but the biggest challenges and solutions are universal. Twitter allows me to listen in on a conversation between real estate agents and walk away with a much better understanding of their challenges. How can that not make me a better title guy?

Virtual Handshake: I find myself getting to know individual real estate agents on a level I wouldn't otherwise. Through Twitter, I learned of Real Estate Bar Camp Virginia 2009 (REBCVA) taking place in Fredericksburg, VA next week. Forget the fact that without Twitter I wouldn't have learned of the event, I will walk into the Monday evening Happy Hour knowing that Heather Elias REALLY likes coffee, Rob Hahn is a Jets fan, and Matt Wilkins prefers The Simpsons to The Family guy. While I wholeheartedly agree with Heather yet take issue with Rob and Matt, it's nice walking into a setting with some common ground. I already know something about these folks, and am genuinely excited to meet them!

Cross-Platform Marketing: This is the obvious one, but worth mentioning. As a title company, do you have a website? A blog? A Facebook page? Do you want more people going to those sites? With enough real Twitter followers, you can drive traffic to your other content. Obviously this comes at a price...the more you are pushing your product or service, the less people will be interested in you.

Lead Generation: I am not talking about leads for a title transaction (yet). Instead, I am talking about someone looking for a mortgage or a real estate agent, and being able to refer that lead to those loan officers and real estate agents in my network. Where I am a resource or a referral source for my clients, I am of value. Twitter enables that platform.

Chatting with Other Title Guys: Am I the only one seeing an increase in refinance orders? Are these funding delays by Lender X specific to my region, or is everyone experiencing them? How are others handling it? Through Twitter, I learn (almost in real time) what others in the industry are experiencing.

Keeping in Touch With the Team: There are about 5-6 of us who utilize Twitter regularly. I've found it a great way to know who is where, and what they have going on. I was once in a client's parking lot, ready to leave when I got a tweet from a TSR telling me she was still in the office. Since I do not want to miss an opportunity to meet with members of my sales team face to face, I was able to catch up. Without Twitter, I wouldn't have known she was still there.

Bonus (The Open House): So let's say I'm a conveyancing attorney in Massachusetts (technically, I am...just not a practicing one) and I am, as always, looking to get a leg up on my competition. As I am driving to the grocery store to run some errands, I get this tweet on my cell phone.

Whether Ms. Buckley is an existing client or one I have been trying to get business from, could I make an impression by stopping in with a (RESPA compliant) snack tray and some drinks? Offer to help? Let some of my friends know about the open house? This tool allows me to jump at an opportunity I may not otherwise know about.
I have not even mentioned utilizing Twitter as a Customer Service Channel in the same vein as Frank Eliason from Comcast, as I am not sure there are enough of our customers on Twitter (yet!), but I fully expect that to change in coming months.
Like anything, Twitter is but a tool; one tool of many in the marketing toolbox. Without the right sales approach and fundamental operational excellence, Twitter will do nothing to make us a better title company. But assuming we are otherwise running well and efficiently, Twitter helps open a door into our operation and likewise open doors into our clients' needs and wants.
Follow the company and team on Twitter: @MASettlement, @DerekMassey, @DanielColeman, @HarryYazbek, @LynnHenley, @DBHolland and @SusanLloydOC