PERSON OF THE WEEK: Dennis Santiago Tweets The Social Networking Media

popularity of social networking media is rising, and Web sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have been at the forefront of redefining how people communicate.[/b] Businesses have also been exploring the sales and marketing aspects of social networking media. This week, MortgageOrb visits Dennis Santiago, chief executive officer of Institutional Risk Analytics (IRA) in Torrance, Calif., to see how he is using social networking media for his business operations. [b]Q:[/b] How can mortgage industry professionals successfully use social networking media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) to grow their businesses? [b]Santiago:[/b] While the utopian promise of Web 2.0 is permeable networking, I think the maximum business applications yield from it is the opening of a low-cost path to extend reach and bring people to more conventional points of presence where a focused business message can be delivered. Social networking sites compete for audience impact directly with conventional Internet advertising. The interactivity and implicit recommendation of a community ultimately creates more powerful affinity. These are things to be explored by those smart enough to understand the phenomenon at play. [b]Q:[/b] How are you using social networking media for your business purposes? [b]Santiago:[/b] I put both myself and IRA on Twitter – I was curious to see if a human or a company permeates better. We've set up a blog to augment the conventional approach news/commentary pages on the main site. I have an IRA company Facebook page sitting in the wings, but haven't published it yet. I am still observing that environment to figure out how to best position it. Facebook keeps morphing, and the social contract in its architecture remains personal, as opposed to commercial. These are powerful tools, and I've been doing this long enough to know that one should never treat them lightly. If you violate the rules of etiquette, there's hell to pay. Remember that these augment, but do not replace, conventional business online and brick tools. Winning still means being able to make every instrument in the orchestra play well. [b]Q:[/b] Have you been able to measure any positive results (sales inquiries, new business, etc.) based on your use of these media tools? [b]Santiago:[/b] Not yet. I am just four weeks into it. It takes a couple of months for the noise to settle into a pattern one can separate from the other patterns impacting a business. [b]Q:[/b] What advice can you give a mortgage industry professional who may be interested in starting a blog? [b]Santiago:[/b] Know your subject! Give people real value for taking the time to listen to you. People can tell good stuff from fluff. The Internet is not forgiving, and it never forgets. [b]Q:[/b] Where do you see the business applications for these media tools evolving in the near future? [b]Santiago:[/b] The biggest growth will be access via mobile devices. The cell phone is the 21st century's VT100 term


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