Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Fannie Mae speaks to troubled borrowers

Fannie Mae launched a new website today. KnowYourOptions.com offers troubled borrowers options that do not include walking away from an unpaid mortgage. The site makes heavy use of video and includes talking avatars that speak plainly and clearly to site visitors about next steps.

Servicers have been struggling in an attempt to get borrowers who are at risk of walking away from their home loans to come back to the table. Now, it appears that the nation's largest mortgage investor is offering some help and using the webs most compelling medium to do it.

Garth Graham and Bob Sullivan have been telling me for months that video is the answer to financial illiteracy in this country. I recently wrote about their company, Financial Literacy Solutions, Plantation, Fla., over on HousingWire.com.  They are providing Internet video learning solutions targeted to the Financial Services Industry.

The FLS flagship product is the “Interactive Video Solution” (IVS) which allows companies to quickly deploy up to the minute educational video information to its customers through their existing website. Completely branded and customized solutions can be deployed in days, allowing FLS clients the ability to better educate their customers through the Internet.

The company recently went live with a solution for Consolidated Credit Counseling Services in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which is helping them teach borrowers in that state all about mandatory mediation before they ever get on the phone with a counselor.

FLS won't say whether the video solution Fannie Mae is using is there's or not, but it's good to see the nation's largest investor using the medium to interact with borrowers. It could add a layer of transparency to the industry that is definitely needed. Of course, in Fannie's case, it all depends upon whether borrowers accept the company's message or not.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Using a Twitter Contest to Raise Brand Awareness

The folks over at Wizards of the Coast, the makers of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, have teamed up with the folks over at UGO.com to host a contest using the Twitter social media tool.

The contest involves consumers watching a website for a specific change in the web copy. When they see the change, they try to be the first to tweet the new copy. The first Twitter user to post wins.

This is a great way to use the tool as it forces a core group of consumers/users to monitor a company web property and then, when they see the copy change, they broadcast that copy (which is a sales message from the company) to everyone that follows them. Brilliant.

This isn't the kind of thing that will work on the B2B side, but I'm very pleased to see companies finding ways to leverage the social networks of their customers to reach out to a wider customer base. That's the way to use these tools. You have to get beyond your current client base and spread the word. It's great if you can get your customers to do it for you. Sometimes you have to offer a reward, but it's worth it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

ORC: HUD gets into the social media game

According to reporters at October Research Corp., the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be using social media to promote transparency in its operations. According to the news outlet, HUD is making the move "in an effort to better serve the American people." Well, the American people are using social media.

In the article, reporter Eileen Coleman writes, "As the new generation of information seekers primarily accesses news and other content through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, HUD deemed it essential that the department get up to speed on today's popular channels of communication. After all, 50 percent of Facebook's 400 million users log on every day, according to Facebook. Furthermore, while only 21 percent of Twitter's 19 million users are active, that's still 3,990,000 people to reach, according to Mashable.com, a respected social media news blog."

HUD has also reportedly created its own YouTube channel.

Now you can friend HUD on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HUD, follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HUDnews or visit their wiki page at http://www.hud.gov/wiki. The agency did not elaborate yet on the types of information it would share via these new media websites.

Monday, May 17, 2010

HousingWire conference deploys app for upcoming conference

We've been watching the intersection between live conferences and New Media for some time. While the concept of totally virtual conferences hasn't really caught on yet, we are seeing more online tools being deployed by conference planners to improve the experience of live events for their attendees. The upcoming REO Expo is a case in point.

HousingWire, the media sponsor of the June conference, is making available both iPhone and Android apps for those who plan on attending the show.

The App Features:
  • Latest complete program agenda
  • Speaker bios
  • Exhibitor listing and information
  • Expo partners
  • Up-to-the-minute Tweets
  • Conference maps
  • Photo gallery with photo upload feature
HousingWire says the application will allow attendees to "get the most from this year’s premier REO event."

We expect that they're right. Find out more about the event online and visit the app's landing page to download your own.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dell seeks trailblazers

Dell LogoImage via Wikipedia
It amazes me that the computer manufacturers don't do a better job with social media. After all, we depend upon their hardware to visit these online networking sites. You would think that they would be first in line to jump on that bandwagon. I haven't seen much of that.

I did see a recent move by Dell that I though was pretty late in the game for a company of that size. The company recently initiated a campaign that it hopes will build up an online community around its brands. Instead of reaching out to consumers in general, however, the company is wisely targeting business buyers who are more likely to purchase its larger, more expensive computers.

I'm not sure how well this will work for the company as success in social media typically requires a hands-on approach to community development. Computer and software manufacturers have typically outsourced that function to lower labor cost markets like India. That definitely won't work here. Still, I'm glad to see the company get in the game.

Check out Dell's new Trailblazer program here.
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