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Christopher Hurn would rather have a conversation than a virtual connection. He spends more time on the Internet researching commercial property than socializing, and describes himself as only moderately technically proficient.

But that doesn’t keep the 36-year-old president and CEO of Mercantile Commercial Capital from using everything from social media releases to blogs, podcasts and videos to promote his niche business. And the strategy is apparently working.

“We’re very, very busy,” Hurn says. “But I’m not complaining. For us, that’s a positive.” Altamonte Springs, FL-based MCC specializes in providing small to mid-sized businesses with 90% loan-to-cost owner-occupied commercial real estate financing. It focuses exclusively on the US Small Business Administration’s 504 Loan Program, established to provide growing businesses long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets.

Proceeds from 504 loans can be used to buy land and commercial buildings, finance improvements, including grading, street improvements, utilities, parking lots and landscaping; construct new facilities; modernize, renovate or convert existing facilities; or purchase long-term machinery and equipment.

Since its founding in 2002, MCC has grown into one of the nation’s leading specialists in 504 loans, Hurn boasts. “We’ve closed loans in 28 states and Puerto Rico. In every location other than Florida, we generated the business from our online marketing efforts,” he says.

Potential clients generally discover MCC through online research, he explains. “Business owners are typically very entrepreneurial,” he explains. “Most of them are hungry for information, but they’re so busy seeing patients, making widgets or putting out fires they may not know where to look. There’s a lot of information on the Internet, but information for small business owners tends to be very fragmented.”

By providing regular and useful content, Hurn says, he gives small business owners a reliable source of information. “They go online, see our client list, review our references and read our blog or other content,” he explains. “It provides a level of comfort and boosts our credibility. My objective is to be timely and topical, and to establish a dialogue with readers who comment back to me on our blog.”

Hurn may not consider himself a technology expert, but he has surrounded himself with people who know how to use technology to the company’s advantage. Within days of President Obama’s signing of the $787-billion federal stimulus package, MCC issued a social media release announcing the formation of its Stimulus Response Team. The team was formed to analyze and respond to possible opportunities from the $730 million the stimulus will provide to the SBA.

“There are a lot of nuances and grey areas,” Hurn says. According to MCC’s initial analysis:

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