September 10th, 2012 Chicago, IL. Nathan Massinelli, social media commentator.
I recent Social Media news “SYSS: Selling Your Structured Settlement” has made several additions to their site that, although primary content driven as with the addition of ‘News’ and ‘State Laws’, includes both a ‘community’ feature and ‘forum’, a step in the direction of integrating social media into their blogging and education platform.
SYSS for those of you unaware of the brand, is a nation-wide Structured Settlement Broker and bidding house. Some sources say it is one of the 3-4 largest auction houses/bidding marketplaces, if not 2-3, for structured settlement annuities today.
Although in business for a mere two years compared to the over a decade JG Wentworth and others have been operating, SYSS nonetheless is making strides (edit: having around I heard it’s pronounced ‘Sis’ rather than ‘S.Y.S.S.’). While one of the most burgeoning brands in their respective market, they’ll have to think fast and work hard to keep up in today’s market.
Currently the majority of structured settlement buyers ‘blog’ or produce articles on their site, either on-site or off-site, to both ‘inform’ and generate interest that converts to leads. Often times the two paths cross. The copy in such an instance acts less educational and more like sales copy. It’s a very competitive industry and the added hype and verbiage helps stay a step ahead. In this author’s opinion social media and an open ended forum/network would be a step in the right direction of achieving less bias. If anything open and conscientious debate would be possible, or rather easier, versus the blogging platform which is used is typically used by individuals versus groups.
Pros Versus Cons of Blogging
Blogging can be used to educate, even create sales, but megalomaniacs and a diverse group of others often utilize the user-friendly method of sharing information as a soap box to hoist their ego. Some, like conspiracy theorists, create a false sense of mystery and therefore drive visitors to their blogs (perhaps even harming the business prospects of others while helping their own). The settlement buying industry is hardly a exception from my research .
Why not then take it back to the most basic level so that those with questions will be able to ask them freely? Great idea no doubt, but it will require some follow through. SYSS has yet to achieve this but the addition of social network is a positive achievement. Even if they fail, perhaps others, noticing will pick up the gauntlet and learn from their failures.
For practical reasons the SYSS forum is the most useful to users currently, but if membership grows, the social media element will surely expand with it. As you can see it’s rather sparse still, so there’s no time better to make suggestions to the moderator there.
On a related note, buying structured settlements, annuities, and lottery winnings, is a hotly contested financial sector. For this reason many debate the pros and cons of those on the ‘primary’ side of the ‘secondary market’ versus those like SYSS that act as adviser and intermediary, leveraging their know-how and experience to help guarantee better rates for the seller. The debate will never truly be settled.
Cost Per Click: WOW
Take Adwords…. To ensure top placement on Google Adwords for terms like ‘Structured Settlement’ one can often pay as much as 100 USD per qualified unique visitor. One can’t help but wonder what those seeking to sell their structured settlement would think of a company that would spend so much money to get their attention (as ultimately it is money out of their pocket).
Nicholas Jackson, co-founder and current CEO of SYSS, was sent several queries via email during the process of writing this piece. Upon being asked what he would like to see the most out of SYSS in the future, Mr. Jackson was quoted as saying, “A larger more diverse educational platform that includes elements of social media, blogging, news, and opinion making. We’re working hard to bring those elements together in a way that’s tangible to visitors. It will take some time to integrate, and we have a few critics, but we’ll get there. There’s a method behind what you see evolving.”
Visit SYSS to preview their recent changes and/or make suggestions.