Social Media Marketing Example #17: Quicken Loans
After noticing that Quicken was next in our series 26 Social Media Marketing Examples in Detail, I assumed that this case study would be a review of Quicken the accounting software made by Intuit. Instead, I found out that Peter Kim, who originally included this on his list was referring to efforts made by the independent company Quicken Loans. At this point in time, both Quicken and Quicken loans have efforts within social media, which is a bit confusing and difficult to sort through as a consumer. After an overview of both, in this post I will uncover mostly what Quicken Loans is doing, while highlighting a few findings of Quicken along the way. Let's jump in.
When I first noticed Quicken Loans on Facebook, I thought this may be a good area for them to discuss home loans. While I did find out about their $500 credit to first-time homebuyers, I also was asked my opinion of a potato chip called Popchips, and updated about a teacher's retirement (who also happens to be the father-in-law for the person managing the page). I wish I was joking, but see the screenshots below as proof. One tip to make this a better page is simply to stay on topic. I just purchased a home, and when I was wading through the waters of choosing a loan, I would have loved to have a place to ask questions and get real answers. I don't care about your father-in-law on a personal level. I do care about what loan he would choose and why. If it is going to be personal, at least make it relevant.
In addition to the Quicken Loans page, there is also a "Quizzle" fan page that is promoting much of the content from the Quicken Loans "Quizzle" blog. So far, all I see is duplicate content posted in both the Quicken Loans fan page and the Quizzle page, so I'm not quite sure why I would become fans of both. In my opinion, Quizzle blog content should be promoted on the Quicken Loans fan page, instead of having 2 fan pages devoted to the same content. As a general rule, I think other brands should stay away from having fans "fan" other social efforts (unless your blog was already established and is more popular than your business).
In addition to this, I found the standard Quicken fan page for the Intuit software. I wanted to showcase this effort below because the page provides valuable information about saving money, which is a great reinforcement of the brand. Even though Quicken Loans and Quicken are "not officially affiliated," I think that Quicken Loans could learn a lot from Quicken's page by staying on topic and producing content that audiences want to interact with.
The section of Quicken Loans on MySpace is based around careers at Quicken. This account hasn't been updated since October 2008, so I'm thinking the purpose of this page was to have a presence on MySpace but not really engage with its customers for the long term. One way to make this a better reflection of a recruitment effort would be to have related videos showcasing the corporate culture of the day-to-day at Quicken Loans. Everyone wants to work at an environment built for them - why not show versus tell? The picture below shows that the only video uploaded to the page was that of an Etch A Sketch drawing of an NBA player. I'm still trying to figure that one out.
In my opinion, Quicken Loans on YouTube is the one area in social media where Quicken Loans is really headed in the right direction. Instead of using it as a place to only host advertisements, there are useful videos that walk users through loan processes, as well as some corny testimonials sprinkled in from customers. One way to grow this effort is to have audiences suggest videos they would like to see and slightly alter the format to show more versus tell. One video on Quicken Loan deposits has well over 15k views.
The Quicken Loans Twitter page, twitter.com/QuickenLoans, like some of the other efforts, also needs parameters set and a strategy in place. Some tweets provide useful information like mortgage rate updates, while others are frequent @'s and mostly in the form of "thanks for tweeting" that are clearly from Kelly at Quicken. While community building is important, I would be likely to unfollow QuickenLoans if the amount of quality information is just not shared and all I'm updated with are shout-outs. One way to keep this in check is to have a minimum goal of quality content on mortgage rates tweeted daily. Tweeted content should come from a mixure of financial bloggers, as well as Quicken Loans, allowing Quicken Loans to become the expert in its industry and form connections within the blogosphere and twitter.
When I went to look to see if Quicken Loans was on Flickr, I thought I was being silly. How would they use it? Why would they use it? I was surprised to even find that they had a stream. On one hand, it looks like they are using it to showcase their corporate culture. On another hand, it looks like a place for them to host pictures used on their blog. I'm still confused, and judging from the 4 subscribers and 0 photo comments this looks like an effort that was started without a purpose, and it isn't resonating with its audiences. Removing blog pictures and instead showcasing employees and internal efforts will be one way to make this effort centric on demonstrating corporate culture. Then, promoting it on the "What's the Diff" blog and careers MySpace page would be another way to get it some traffic and interaction.
Quicken Loans has two main blogs that I'll cover. One is called "What's the Diff?" and the other is called "Quizzle." "What's the Diff" appears to be a built around the theme "What separates the ordinary from the excellent." By showcasing various examples of excellence in business, its goal for this blog is supposed to reinforce the corporate culture (and likely to aid in recruitment). Unfortunately, even though I put the pieces together about what it is supposed to be doing, I am still at a loss for what it is actually accomplishing. Beyond highlighting the corporate culture of Quicken Loans, it has turned into a platform to speak about anything and everything.
The blog Quizzle is supposed be, "a new website from Quicken Loans that gives you a simple understanding of your home and your money, all in one spot." The blog features site news and feedback, tips and tricks from the experts at Quicken Loans, home and money news, and other cool tools that will expand your home "know-how." Though I found a few posts that were on-topic with this mission statement, I still felt as if the blog was being updated with content that wasn't on-point. One example is that the blog pulls in a list of Twitter Updates to ensure the blog is populated with some sort of content. Either the filter is broken or the person pulling in these updates isn't monitoring, but I found many updates like, "@rrcarter @mattjabs Hilarious! I had no idea Snuggie/Slanket pub crawls existed. Going to enjoy the summer, but come fall, Iâ€™m in! in reply to rrcarter #". Again - the major tweak to this effort is simply to choose content relevant to your target audience (and to the mission of your blog). If you are going to update your blog with Twitter content, please make sure the Twitter content isn't all about snuggies and slankets rather than home loans.
This is by all means not a comprehensive list of Quicken Loan's efforts within social media. They have another Insider blog that updates much like Quizzle with Twitter updates. They have a presence on Yahoo Answers that stays pretty active and a review site to provide fans with a place to leave their feedback. However, what I've concluded is that the most visible efforts that are promoted, like their blog/facebook page, are not on-topic. It's not enough to simply be in many different areas of social media without a sound strategy. In this case, the main downfall of these efforts is quite simply the type of content being promoted. As a general rule, providing content that is appropriate and relevant is more effective, more likely to be shared and commented on, and more likely to keep users coming back.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree/disagree? Feel free to share your thoughts below.
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