A few years back no one in the ARM industry wanted to use social media. MySpace and Facebook were the dominant forces of the day and collection agencies, law firms and other ARM companies did not see any value in participating. Technology has continued to evolve and social media has become so common that companies simply cannot ignore the power of social networking as a tool for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer communications.

In the early days of social networks only consumers had their own profiles and businesses were left out in the cold. As the networking websites themselves began looking to build revenue streams, they quickly began catering to businesses. Special business profiles are available on all of the most popular social networks including LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. Each profile has it’s own benefits and together these tools can help you to take control of your company’s search engine results (see our SEO for Collection Agencies Article). Social networking profiles can be controlled to limit or eliminate consumers’ ability to interact with your online profile. By limiting your interactions and only posting new content to your social profile becomes a virtual placeholder business profile.

In this article we wanted to talk about the 4 most important social networks for ARM industry professional and organizations:

LinkedIn – The Professional Social Network

LinkedIn is a social website directed towards professionals, businesses and networking. LinkedIn allows individual users to create profiles outlining their professional experience and allowing them to “connect” with friends, colleagues, classmates and clients to create an online network of business relationships (8 Keys to LinkedIn Success). LinkedIn also enables organizations to create “company” profiles to connect all the individual profiles and provide information about the organization itself.

The ARM Industry has many different groups on the social network where professional can get together to discuss topics relevant to the ARM industry. For example the Debt Buyer Group I created on LinkedIn, back in 2006, has over 2,400 members that discuss a number of topics affecting the ARM industry. Discussion topics or news articles can be posted to the group by members and other members can comment with their opinions to create meaningful discussions about industry topics. (Click Here to Join the Debt Buyer Group)

Specific Benefits for the ARM Industry

LinkedIn is a business-to-business social network and it provides a lot of opportunities for interaction with other professionals in the ARM industry. From an organizational standpoint it is good to have your people represented on LinkedIn, but it is essential to have your business listed on LinkedIn (Create your Company LinkedIn profile). An organization profile on LinkedIn keeps tabs on all of your company’s individual profiles and also provides a powerful search engine optimization tool for improving your online presence. LinkedIn profiles can provide positive information about your organization online, pushing negative information off of the first page of search engine results.

Twitter – Microblogging

If you are not familiar with Twitter, it is essentially a micro-blogging service that allows users to post micro-blog updates containing 140 characters or less (Understanding How to Use Twitter). Although the ARM industry communities on Twitter started fairly recently, you can find active conversations and sharing news on Twitter. Many industry executives and even organizations are active on Twitter giving them another platform to communicate with the industry, consumers, and to monitor the conversations about their organization occurring on the social network. Twitter is a real time tool providing updates as soon as they are posted and monitoring the conversation can be done easily when using the right tools.

To get started using Twitter create an account for yourself and/or your organization; for example I am @AdamParks and the company is @BrandingArc. Once your profile is created, choose some people to follow and join in the conversation. If you are going to use Twitter as part of your marketing strategy, you need to be sure to post at least once per week. Abandoned Twitter profiles don’t do anything for your SEO or digital presence. If you are not going to post, you are better off not creating a profile at all. There are many tools you can use to schedule your posts in advance like HootSuite, Tweetdeck and others.

Specific Benefits for the ARM Industry

Twitter profiles have great authority in search engine results and can be another great tool for creating a positive presence for your organization. Using Twitter gives your organization a “real-time”feel and makes you look active online. Your Twitter profile can be a great tool for improving your online presence, but don’t set expectations of closing new business through this social network.

Google+ – The Social Network in Search Results

Google+ is a social network that was created in conjunction with their powerful search engine. Google+ allows for “personal profiles” and organization “pages”. These profiles can appear directly in search engine results, making your website listings more powerful. If your organization creates original content for your blog or newsletter, Google+ is another search optimized social network where you can post your new original content.

Specific Benefits for the ARM Industry

Although the active ARM industry participants on Google+ are limited, it can be used as a powerful tool to improve your search engine results. If your organization has a blog built into your website you can use the (rel=””) tag in your blog to get your Google+ profile image to appear in search results.

Facebook – The Popular Social Network

If you already use Facebook personally then you know how it works. Individuals setup profiles about themselves and connect with their “friends” by posting status updates, pictures, videos and other materials. Facebook has long been viewed as an enemy of the ARM industry, but used correctly, it can be another powerful search engine optimization tool to improve your organization’s digital presence. Like most of the social networks, Facebook allows organizations to create “pages” to share information about their company.

Specific Benefits for the ARM Industry

Facebook provides ARM industry companies with the opportunity to create another online profile about their company online. If you are creating original content, Facebook can be used as another tool to distribute that content. Facebook pages can be set up to disable comments from other users allowing you to use Facebook as a positive tool without the consequence of negative feedback.