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Social Media Marketing Example #17: Quicken Loans

Lisa Braziel.
By: Lisa Braziel  |   June 23, 2009  |   View Comments

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.

Facebook

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.

 

MySpace

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.

 

YouTube

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. 

Twitter

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. 

 

Flickr

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.

Blogging

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, I’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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  • http://twitter.com/TTaxChels Chelsea

    Hi there Lisa,

    This is Chelsea from Quicken. I'm so delighted to see you mention us in this piece (Quicken, the software from Intuit). I'd love to chat with you more about we're doing in social media to connect with our customers if you'd like.

    Check out @QuickenOnline on Twitter too in the meantime.

    - Chelsea

  • Guest

    Hi Lisa,

    Appreciate the post! I'm Ann-Marie from Quizzle. The reason we have two separate efforts going between Quicken Loans and Quizzle is because Quizzle is a stand-alone website (aside from our blog). Check it out at http://www.Quizzle.com. At Quizzle, we're about more than just home loans -- we also cover your credit, money, home (generally) and life. We try to convey this in our various social media efforts while also keeping things personable and conversational (that's why we don't just broadcast links in our Twitter feed).

    On Yahoo! Answers, Quizzle and Quicken Loans are both recognized as official Knowledge Partners and if you dig a little deeper, you'll see that we answer a lot of different questions there including some about home loans, but also credit and personal finance more broadly. We've evaluated various social media channels over the last couple years and find some to be more useful in interacting with our clientele (i.e. Answers vs. MySpace), so that's where we like to focus our efforts.

    You make a good point about some of our affiliations, i.e. our NBA video on MySpace. We're actually a big ol' family of companies and include Quicken Loans, Fathead, the Cleveland Cavaliers, ePrize, Xeko, Xenith, Lake Erie Monsters, Quicken Loans Arena and more. We're big believers in "pulling threads," so that's why you might see a post about basketball or wall graphics on any one of our feeds. We like to say that "We eat our own dog food" because we believe in what we do and engage our wide net of companies as customers, as well as team members.

    Our Quicken Loans blog, What's the DIFF, was started as a recruiting blog and is meant to show a more personal side of our company. We're big believers in companies that are "the diff" and like to highlight them here. We've actually gotten a number of awards and mentions for our work on the Diff for being, well, the "diff" compared to the majority of corporate blogs, and our focus on people and positive examples from business rather than your standard company news and press releases.

    Like anyone else, we can always stand to improve and engage our customers even more. That's why we love any feedback -- from you or others. We've had a strong social media presence in various channels for more than a year and so far, from our customers anyway, we've gotten a great response. Can't wait to do more and go even deeper.

    Thanks again for the post and please don't hesitate to contact me at annmarie[at]quizzle[dot]com if you have any questions.

  • ClayC

    Hi Lisa,

    We appreciate the overview and your perspective on the social media marketing we’re doing at Quicken Loans. Ann-Marie already touched on Quizzle and the DIFF blog, and I wanted to make a few additional points.

    Our Social Media strategy is part of an overall content strategy that includes client service, repeat engagement, search engine optimization, brand identity, and reputation management. Through our efforts we hope to give a faceless internet company a personality, provide portals to be available to our clients, and be participants in conversations about us.

    Considering that we’re a mortgage company, we have some obstacles to overcome. We aren’t exactly from a beloved industry known as being cool and hip. There’s a lot negative news about the mortgage industry these days. And like many internet companies, we don’t have an office in your town where you can come down and meet with us. We’ve found that social media is a great place to put a personality on our company. To show clients and potential clients that we’re real people, not just some big mortgage corporation.

    Also, most people only get mortgages a few times in their lives. We have a saying – “nobody cares about a mortgage until they care about a mortgage” – in other words, people don’t think too much about mortgages until they need one.

    Our challenge is to engage people who need a mortgage today and ALSO those that may need one in five years. The ones that need it today are easy. Be as accessible as possible, give clients valuable and educational content, provide rates, payments, discounts, etc. and they’re engaged.

    To that end, we’re very active in Yahoo! Answers, where we talk shop, answer questions, and focus on all things mortgage-related. Our efforts there earned us Knowledge Partner status when Yahoo! launched the Knowledge Partner program, and we even won a WOMMIE Award from WOMMA for our Yahoo! Answers project in 2007. We also discuss, in detail, mortgages and all thing mortgage-related on our website (www.quickenloans.com).

    But what about the people who don’t need a mortgage now? Why would they follow us on Facebook or Twitter or read our blogs? That’s our challenge and that’s why we do some of the things that apparently don’t make much sense to you (and probably others). Our intention is to forge connections, be accessible, and create interest to anyone who might one day be in the market for a mortgage.

    A few months ago Josh Catone mentioned the DIFF and Quizzle blog in his blog post “15 companies the Really Get Corporate Blogging,” (http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2008/08/08/15-companies-that-really-get-corporate-blogging/) saying that “It is all subtle marketing for Quicken Loans, but it is done in an informative and useful manner that will win points among customers.” I agree and hope he’s right.

    Also, you don’t mention SEO at all in your review. I doubt we’re alone in recognizing the essential SEO value of social media to our business. I won’t bore you with the details, but I can proudly say that we rank high in Google results in places we never expected. We’ve been able to use Flickr, Youtube, the DIFF blog, etc. to influence search results for terms we find important. In this way, we’ve been able to promote and defend our brand in ways not possible through quickenloans.com alone.

    I’d like to close with one of the most important reasons we nurture our social media presence: our clients. We frequently follow up on complaints in the social media space and do everything we can to turn the situation around – usually with great success. Recently, Steve Rubel, well known web trend watcher and a pioneer in the use of blogs for marketing, cited our Twitter interactions as an outstanding example of corporate Twitter usage at the Media Bistro conference in New York City. It was then picked up by other internet news and marketing sites like InternetNews.com (http://www.internetnews.com/webcontent/article.php/3823566/Companies+Need+Social+Media+AllStars.htm) and Marketing Pilgrim. Steve’s quote about what we were doing was “This isn’t customer service, it’s branding.” In other words, our commitment to client care through social media has the added benefit of becoming a recognized part of our brand.

    Thanks again for your review. I agree we could share more product information in our social media efforts, and we’ll see what we can do. We’ll also do something about MySpace. (You got us there, it’s been years since we were active on Myspace. Honestly, we’ve moved on to better things. But we should either kill it or keep it updated. That’s long overdue.)

    Take care, and now that I’m aware of your social media business reviews, I look forward to your reviews on other companies.

    Clayton, Kelly and Rebecca (QL social media team)

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