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Social media credit score coming to a lender near you?

Are lenders reading your Facebook updates or looking at your Twitter connections to determine a social media credit score that indicates your ability to repay a loan?



social media credit score

Lenders making their own social media credit score system?

CoreLogic and FICO partnered last year to offer lenders an alternative credit score for more predictive scoring, which includes data previously not used in credit scoring, from a borrowers cell phone bill, utilities, payday loan activity, to child support judgments, evictions, property tax liens, the status of homeowner’s association dues, whether or not a borrower is underwater on their current home, or whether a borrower owns other properties that credit agencies typically miss.

According to The Economist, lenders are flirting with the idea of using social media to determine a borrower’s creditworthiness, with startups actually launching the option today, and while big banks are steering clear, small banks and lenders are experimenting.

Analyzing social networks for creditworthiness

Neo is a startup founded by Navin Bathija to determine a borrower’s ability to repay a car loan based on their social networks, particularly LinkedIn which they use to determine whether job information provided on an application matches and is legitimate (found by analyzing the nature of LinkedIn connections to coworkers).

Bathija tells The Economist that he believes that within the year, there will be enough evidence to determine that making racist comments on Facebook indicates a lower ability to repay a loan. ZestFinance founder, Douglas Merrill says applicants who type in only lower case or only upper case letters are less likely to repay loans (other factors being equal), and the company’s default rate is roughly 40 percent lower than the typical payday lender.

It’s not just social networking behavior that alternative lenders are experimenting with, but also who users are connected to. European lender Kreditech asks applicants for access for a limited time to their social networks to analyze who they are connected to. Kreditech opines that if an applicant is more likely to get a loan if they have friends who live in nice neighborhoods and have good jobs. Alternatively, if they have friends who have defaulted on a Kreditech loan, they are less likely to get approved.

Movenbank is a web-only bank launching in the U.S. soon, which cuts users’ credit card interest rates when they talk up the bank to friends, or when friends join. The company drops rates and fees if spending is prudent, and in the future may raise rates for heavy gamblers. Taking it a step further, Lenddo in Hong Kong asks applicants’ friends to vouch for them, then analyze if those friends are real through their software which analyzes messages for shared slang or wording that “suggests affinity.” If the borrower defaults, the credit scores of those who vouched for them are damaged, in an effort to add a “social-enforcement mechanism.”

Social media credit score in the real world

Many of the aforementioned startups are niche lenders, either auto-only, payday lenders, or online banks, but do bigger lenders use social media to determine a borrower’s ability to repay a loan? While big banks are publicly steering clear of using any social networks for research, we’ve heard of smaller lenders and credit unions checking up on applicants online, not as a policy, but as due diligence. In some cases, applicants did not disclose they were getting divorced or had children, but a quick search online shows otherwise, disqualifying them.

If these kind of searches, or any of the methods used by the startups mentioned above, were to become policy at major lenders, there would most certainly be uproar not only because of privacy issues, but because social networks are not guaranteed accurate – anyone can say they’re married, they worked at IBM, or were a Co-Founder at Facebook, but it doesn’t make it true.

Additionally, examining connections is a poor method for determining anything about an individual, because the assumption of those lenders is that social media is used strictly for personal use, whereas many adults use social networks for professional use, connecting with people they never would in their personal life.

We don’t suspect this will be adding a social media credit score will be mainstream anytime soon, if ever, but alternative lenders are certainly figuring out how to use all of the available data to determine creditworthiness, privacy be damned.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

Social Media

How to quickly make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the masses

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Most of us have a love/hate relationship with LinkedIn, but no matter your feelings, you should be the one who stands out in a crowd – here’s how.




Your LinkedIn is your brand. That’s it. Whether you are job hunting (or people are hunting you), or are showing off your business, insight, acumen, or simply networking; your profile on LinkedIn needs to stay appealing and not drive potential headhunters, bosses, clients, or networking groups bananas.

Let’s start with a three part list of what you MUST do, what you SHOULD do, and what you COULD do.

Here’s what you MUST DO (as in, do it now).

  1. Get a #GREAT LinkedIn photo. Nothing sells you like the right profile picture. No selfies. No mountain biking. Get a professional headshot. Don’t lie about your age. Wear what you wear when you’re on the job. Smile. People are visual.
  2. Simplify your profile. Cut the buzzwords. Cut out excess skills that don’t add to your vision or that don’t represent the kind of job you want. (i.e. most of us can use Outlook but few of us need to mention that skill because we don’t support Outlook). Focus on the skills that are important.
  3. Keep it current. Your LinkedIn should reflect your career and current responsibilities. Update the description. Add new projects. Change your groups as you change in your career and move towards new levels. Indicate when you receive a promotion.
  4. Extra, Extra! Headlines. Don’t use something lame for your headline. How would you want to catch a headhunter to look at you if you could only say 10 words? Make it standout. There are thousands of managers – but only one you.
  5. Custom URL. Just do it. Pick your own URL. It’s FREEEEEEE.
  6. Get the app. Make LinkedIn a part of your mobile life and check it more often than you do Snapchat.

Here’s what you SHOULD DO (Set aside some time at Starbucks and go do this in the next month).

  1. Tell your story. Your summary should bring to live the content of your career. Don’t leave that section blank. Spend some time crafting a cool story. Run it by your professional mentor. Send it to your English major friends.
  2. Connect. Add colleagues. Add partners from other organizations. Use connections to broaden your network. Synch your profile with your address book. Add people after a conference.
  3. Endorse your connections. Identify people you’ve worked with and give them the endorsements – which can get them to come endorse you!
  4. Ask for recommendations. Ask a colleague, partner, or manager to write you a recommendation to help advertise your skills.
  5. Add a nice cover photo. Again, visual people. Some more on that here.

Here’s what you COULD DO (If you’re feeling dedicated, what you can do to give yourself an extra edge.)

  1. Share your media. Upload presentations, videos, speeches, or projects that you can share. (Don’t violate company policy though!).
  2. Publish original content. LinkedIn has a vibrant publishing feature and sharing your original work (or content you’ve published elsewhere) is a great way to share your voice.
  3. Post status updates. Share your reactions. Share articles. Repost from influencers. Be active and keep your feed vibrant.

That’s a quick list to get started. So go start your LinkedIn makeover (and I’ll go do the same). Let’s get connected!

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Social Media

Innovative widget places Instagram Stories right on your website

(SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS) Increase your social media reach with this neat new free to use Instagram Stories widget for your company website or personal portfolio site.



instagram stories widget

Instagram Stories are a great way to integrate video into your marketing strategy. If you’re already investing time and money in this successful strategy, might as well feature Stories on your website too, right?

Well lucky you, Fastory recently released a free widget to add Instagram Stories directly to your site to feature your nifty marketing efforts on desktop. Even though mobile is still dominant with younger generations, desktop users need some love and access to Stories, too.

Fastory CEO Sylvain Weber noted the “widget is the only one fully based on the brand new Instagram Graph API (no private API, validated by Facebook himself).” This pretty much means Fastory is ahead of the game with the newly opened up API, and are basically development pioneers.

Drive awareness and build loyalty by spreading the wonder of your Instagram Stories far and wide with the Stories Widget. Simply log in to Facebook to get the widget, then sync your Instagram Stories stream.

Next, all you have to do is copy the provided HTML code and paste it on your website. Hooray, now you have a widget that automatically updates your website with your latest Stories.

Keep in mind you’ll need an Instagram Business Account for this to work.

If you have more than one business Instagram linked to Facebook Pages, just select the one you want to use from the drop-down menu when getting the widget code.

You can continue that process to select multiple Instagram accounts and generate widget codes for each of them.

Free for a limited time, you can also utilize the Memories feature, keeping a collection of your Instagram Stories on your site instead of having them disappear after twenty-four hours like usual.

All the Stories featured on your site also include a “follow us” button to encourage user engagement and gain you more followers.

Looking for help jazzing up your Instagram Stories? Fastory was originally created as an easy to use design platform to create and customize Stories.

Their mobile-first marketing suite offers drag & drop design featuring animated headlines crafted in Adobe After Effects, fonts from Google Web Fonts, and motion design.

Story creation and editing is collaborative with varying roles and levels of privileges. Plus, you can track visitors in real time to identify drop off points and areas for improvement. Contact Fastory for Story creation pricing information.

And on the free end of things, check out the Instagram Story Widget.

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Social Media

Turns out the secret to brand success on Instagram is Stories

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Instagram is a marketing heaven, and Stories appear to be they key to success (even if they disappear in 24 hours). Let’s discuss.




It’s been over a year since Instagram (or “Insta” as the cool kids call it) launched their Stories feature. And while Instagram Stories may not seem like most obvious place for advertising your business, social media experts say that it has untapped potential as a marketing tool.

The seemingly biggest drawback of using Stories for marketing is that, taking a cue from Snapchat, Instagram Stories are only online for 24 hours, then they disappear forever.

Nonetheless, the analysts at Socialbakers say that businesses should seriously consider marketing via Stories. These experts looked at over 1,000 Instagram accounts from businesses and found that they are being underutilized as a marketing tool.

Stories are extremely popular amongst viewers. There are 300 million active users looking at Stories every day, and that number hasn’t stopped growing since Instagram launched the feature.

Stories also appear at the very top of a user’s feed – although we’re still not exactly sure how Instagram’s algorithms sort these posts.

It’s also important to note that users can’t “like” or leave comments on Stories, so you won’t be able to use these metrics to gauge the success of your Stories marketing. Instead, you’ll have to look at Total Impressions, which tells you how many people have seen your story, or Reach, which tells you how many brand new potential customers saw your story.

With social media platforms always changing their rules and algorithms, it’s getting harder and harder to reach new potential customers, especially without dishing out cash for paid or boosted ads. Stories is a great loophole that allows you to connect with your audience without paying for it.

Don’t get caught up thinking you have to make a high-production video. Short, rough-cut, unpolished videos work great for Stories and give your audience a behind-the-scenes view of your business. Stories can be utilized to tell the story of your brand. And you can even add a poll to your story to increase engagement. For example, Red Bull asks viewers which picture they should post next, keeping the user engaged and clicking.

Social media platforms are always changing, but your business can get an edge over your competitors by staying up-to-date with new formats and features.

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