Name: Marla Barch, Senior Mortgage Planner
Company: Pacor Mortgage
Industry: Residential Mortgage Lending
Marketing: Referral based and social media
Time In Business: 7 years
E-mail Address: [email protected]
Phone Number: 773.617.2424
Brief Bio: I help REALTORS grow their business by providing niche mortgage programs and marketing techniques to attract more home buyers. I help HOME BUYERS qualify for the best programs and interest rates through education, wisdom, and creativity. I help HOMEOWNERS ensure their current mortgage best matches their long and short term financial goals.
When did you start using social networking? 2 years ago for Facebook; 7 years ago for Yahoo Groups and Meetup.com
How did you get started learning about social networking platforms? I learned about the benefits of Facebook for business growth in a training seminar. My early social networking use of Yahoo Groups and Meetup.com to generate business leads was purely self-taught.
Did you attend in-person events, classes, or webinars to learn more? After that first ½ hour long training program, I learned about it by experimenting, reading articles from experts, and sharing ideas with others.
What is your favorite social networking site for business? Why? Facebook. Mostly because it’s easiest to use and therefore attracts a wider audience of users. And secondarily because I’ve spent the most time building my network on Facebook.
How do you use social networking for your business? Primarily, I use it to build relationships with new referral partners, such as realtors; to build my reputation as an expert; and to educate everyone on new programs, changing guidelines, and other important information that affects home buyers and homeowners.
How has it changed your business? It allows me to convert cold leads to warm leads. A potential referral partner is more willing to accept me as a Facebook friend than invite me to their office for a meeting. Via Facebook, I can take all the time necessary to build that relationship via “liking” their statuses, adding valuable commentary on their industry-related links, and posting my own links and comments that add value to their business. At that point, they are much more likely to invite me to their office to discuss doing business together.
What was your biggest mistake in social networking? In the beginning, I definitely turned some people off by talking about business too often and in a “sales-y” style. I had to learn to mix updates on business and pleasure and to discuss business in a non-aggressive, story-telling, casual way that didn’t make people feel like a sales target.
What would you tell people starting out in social networking to focus on? Identify your target market and begin befriending those people. One way to find those people is to join common-interest groups. Also, categorize your friends from the beginning so you can send targeted messages.
Do you have a specific strategy that you use to be more effective when using social networking? Social networking is not that different from non-cyber networking. The most important thing is to be likeable. People do business with people they like. And secondarily, follow up is always crucial. If someone shows interest in something you’ve put out there, send them a personal message, chat them, or even call them on the phone.
What direction do you see social networking going in the future? I see continued growth and new powerful ways to communicate that we can’t even yet imagine.