Business Blogging: Where’s social networking taking us?

2 people water coolerSocial media and blogging are means to become generally more interested in the world around us, more open to creating new relationships, and more connected. Social media and blogging connections through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and interactive blog discussions can be a boon to a business. Both are effective ways to promote yourself as an expert and inform a wide audience what you have to offer.

A company blog is a useful tool for small businesses hoping to give others a glimpse into the company while also promoting the company’s products and services. — 5 Excellent Small Business Blogs To Learn From

  • Showcase Products With Visual Creativity
  • Say It With A Video
  • Think Big
  • Invite Guest Writers
  • Get Social & Personal

Markey Industy Report and Constant Contact Survey

Social media and blogging may be the the most effective pairing of communication tool humans have invented. Numbers and statistics are hard to refute. The 2011-Social Media Marketing Industry Report highlights the benefits of using social media:

  •  72 %  said social media increases website traffic;
  •  62% – improved search rankings;
  •  59% – new partnerships;
  •  48% – better sales;
  •  59% reduction in marketing costs  for self-employed;
  •  58%  reduction in marketing costs  for small businesses;
  •  respondents were twice as likely to increase leads using social media.

According to a survey by Constant Contact Social Marketing Takes Hold, But Traditional Marketing Still Thrives.  That survey reveals 73% of small businesses use social media, and more than half of those who do not intend to start using it next year.

The reasons for initiating or the increasing use of social media and blogging are personal preferences and connections. People like to buy products and services from qualified and competent people they know.  This personal connection is important during the process leading up to purchase, and social media and blogging are effcitive ways to get answers to questions and advice.

Not surprisingly, Facebook is still the most popular small business social media choice, and 82% of users said that it is effective up which is up from 51% a year ago. No reduction in the use of other forms of marketing was detected. The survey indicated business owners are using social media campaigns to improve rather than replace traditional marketing,.

  • 83 % percent stated email is the first tool they check when going online for their business each day
  • 72 %  check their email six or more times a day
  • 13 % check Facebook six or more times a day;
  • 6 % check news six or more times a day;
  • 4 %  check Twitter more than six times per day.

Social Media and Blogging – Content and Distribution

In the beginning we thought social media might replace blogging but Twitter and Facebook provide great distribution for blogs. Social media site updates inform your friends you have published a new post, and they tell their friends, and so on.

Where’s social networking going to take us? It’s hard to predict. Social networking has become something done out of  pocket, whenever you have a spare 30 seconds, rather than something you sit down at your desk to work at, and the growth of mobile is going to explode.

Preparing to Pair Social Media and Blogging

If you have a small business social media can help by building a blog centered community around your business.  Take a look at demographics and scout out where your potential audience. Then,  register social media acounts so  you can connect with them  and start blogging. Through publication of useful information, and/or sharing tips and how-to’s on your blog, you can build your readers’ confidence in your brand.

By following these 7 Steps to Disciplined Business Blogging your small business can take the first steps towards a highly successful business blog:

  1. Define the business goals of your blog
  2. Identify your target audience
  3. Allocate resources
  4. Create your editorial calendar
  5. Carve out time to write
  6. Listen to your audience feedback and adjust accordingly
  7. Get the word out

Facebook collects personal information from users, Insights can provide some useful demographics information for  you. The “Users” graph allows you to see who “likes” your page according to age and gender. You can also see what countries and cities your followers come from as well as the languages they speak. David Hartstein wrote a detailed post on Mashable outlining how you can get the most out of Facebook Insights for small business.

Related posts found in this blog:
Business Blogging, Freshness, Indexing and Google Caffeine
Business Blogging Poised for Growth
Business and Blogging Trends

20 thoughts on “Business Blogging: Where’s social networking taking us?

  1. Hi Timethief, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the research you do for your posts, and all the additional links and leads, besides your own excellent digests and writing. Re point #6 audience feedback and adjust accordingly. On the Malvedos blog we just don’t get a lot of comments (we aren’t in the business of controversy), but one thing I have tried to do is pick up on questions or comments as a starting point for another article – for example someone commented to express concern about the destruction of environment in the Douro, our vineyard region. I responded to his comment briefly but said it needed much fuller response – and was able to post an article on the subject about a week later (which included a link to the page of the original comment). Similarly, a question asked on Facebook prompted another article. I am hoping that readers will spot this, and feel more encouraged to comment in future. We are also hoping to get guest bloggers involved – first one in June, with luck. Take care, hope the foot is healing well.

    1. Hello there,
      I do apologize for taking so long to reply to you. I went through 3 weeks of medical appointments and I’m afraid some comments I approved did not get replies as I was preoccupied with getting out the door and to the next appointment and when I got home again I collasped.

      Your idea of picking a topic from a comment for a future post is a great one. Thanks for sharing it with my readers and me. Best wishes with securing Guest Bloggers. I’ll be watching for their posts. :)

  2. I still haven’t taken the Twitter plunge, but have found Facebook to be quite helpful. I have to say, though, it kills me when I see all of these product pages. Do I really have to ‘like’ my laundry detergent to get a coupon, only to be roped into getting postings on my page that don’t really matter to me? For some businesses, I see a big relevancy issue.

    1. Hi Janene,
      You made me smile. It seems sometimes that the world is full of consumers and coupon clippers/clickers. And only a minority of us seem to be adverse to the advertising that pollutes our lives. I think your point about business sites and relevancy re: advertising is a a very important one and want to thank you for making it.

  3. The thing about a business blog is to create an openness where as a business one isn’t always after the almighty dollar but if the business owner has a higher objective of getting people to become healthier, feeling better, become more empowerd, etc. and allow dialogue on the blog to flow without overly controlling the conversation…

  4. The secret key of course is to build trust amongst your customers, readers, subscribers what have you.

    Without that it’s going to be very tough to get your message accross.

    1. Agreed. Businesses flourish where relationships are formed. Without a foundation of trust there will not be a reader, subscriber, client, customer base who will be attentive to the message.

  5. Having worked for two software companies in recent years, both had several Twitter and other social media accounts. The software industry tends to have ongoing interaction with users so for them it was a valuable marketing tool, not just for new sales, but for renewals.

    1. I believe we are moving very quickly towards a time when a great deal of business will be conducted online. I can see how software renewals and new product or service announcements could be easily handed through social networks. Thanks for commenting to share your experience.

  6. By following these 7 Steps to Disciplined Business Blogging your small business can take the first steps towards a highly successful business blog:

    Define the business goals of your blog
    *Am blogmaster for 2 business blogs. Goals are clearly stated under About page or What is xxxx?

    Identify your target audience
    *We do have specific target audiences and write in the style suited for the primary audience groups . We have to assume literacy level past high school at least but not too far up the scale that we would sound pendantic and too academic. This is why we try to embed interesting, useful photos that keep reader’s attention.

    *Our target audiences are both trained professionals and business people familiar with the language of transportation planning, engineering and urban planning but also include those who do not have technical training but are users of transportation methods and systems (in this case cycling, transit, etc.) with strong interest in developments that are technical, business, cultural, health and life-style oriented.

    Allocate resources
    *Tough but set realistic expectations by creating theme-based blog posts with some useful references.

    Create your editorial calendar
    * Sort of is one for each. There is some strategic planning in terms of forecasting impact and timeliness of a theme to coincide with other developments happening elsewhere in the world.

    Carve out time to write
    * Yes, it is a conscious deliberate act.

    Listen to your audience feedback and adjust accordingly
    * If we don’t get enough commenters then we look to the general news and niche news areas to see trends on reader interests to gauge reader “hot button” topics. There’s a big one right now: bicycle helmets

    Get the word out
    *We try.. I participate in 3 main different Internet forums. One of them is not even related to cycling. Other company members do face-to-face networking at meetings, committee participation and deliver group presentations where blogs are mentioned when appropriate.

    Blogs are: http://www.thirdwavecyclingblog.wordpress.com
    http://www.velo-city2012blog.com
    http://insidevancouver.ca (I am a team writer for this blog from Tourism Vancouver.)

  7. I’m definitely something of a twitter-idiot but I struggle with the concept of twitter and community. Even if you check in regularly (survey says 4% check in 6+X a day so 96% check in ?) so many people are following THOUSANDS of people. It seems that even if they are following you there are very low odds of your tweets getting noticed.

    Meanwhile most FB users tend to only have ~200-300 friends and (at least in my experience) may like only ~30 FB pages. So it seems far more realistic to have a shot at creating a real dialog on FB.

    Am I alone in this thinking? (BTW – am really trying to embrace Twitter and get over my Twitter aversion).

    1. Hi there,
      I hear you. I have 700 followers but my actual influence on Twitter is around 200. I have never found it possible to hold meaningful discussions in 140 character Tweets, let alone, creating relationships. I conclude that I don’t have what it takes to use Twitter in an effective way. I have also noticed that those who use Twitter clients are sending out scheduled robotic tweets which I find annoying. I neither have nor want a Facebook account. I’m not a business blogger so my back is not against the wall and a choose not to be a member of the huge data mining operation.

  8. Wonderful! Thanks to you, I’m finally beginning to see how social media tools (like Twitter) can be used to promote one’s blog. And you always include so many interesting links. One of the links in this post led me to bit.ly, where one can shorten URLs for tweets– something I’ve been meaning to learn. As ever, many thanks, TT– cheers from New Hampshuh!

    1. Hi Mark,
      It’s always so good to hear from you. The research is interesting. More and more small businesses will be creating blogs and social media accounts. In the past businesses used other kinds of advertising. In the present and future small businesses will be converting to promoting their company’s products and/or services.
      Cheers! :)

  9. It’s amazing how much we rely on social media for news, keeping in contact with friends….how did we live without the internet? Such a wealth of information at our fingertips!

    I hope you are well~
    Ann

    1. Hi there,
      I do recall what it was like before the internet and I’m amazed at the changes I have witnessed. There is a wealth of information at our fingertips but when social networking one has to recognize that a lot of it is information overload ie. noise.

      P.S. My foot is feeling better this week. I still can’t take much weight on it for very long but it is healing. Thanks for asking. :)

      1. You’re right….there can be a lot of “noise”. For someone new to blogging and twitter, I can honestly say the noise has been quite pleasant…

        I’m glad you foot is better. Take it easy and heal well…

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