How can I use Social Media in My Business. Part 1 - Blogging
Social media for business isn’t rocket science - it’s a simple way to connect with your audience and disseminate information over multiple platforms - helping visibility and giving your audience the ability to connect with you in the way they would like to.
Developing a social strategy shouldn’t be about simply chasing likes and twitter followers, it’s about using and developing the platforms in the right way to profile your brand, your people and your ethos. Social media is as much about promoting thought leadership as it is about encouraging communication. Social / User generated content platforms fall into several key channels. The first part of this series deal with what we’re doing now - collaborating on a blog.
How to use a Blog for my business… and why do i need to.
This is a hugely important part of online strategy. Using social channels such as blogs, discussions, social polling etc allows you to engage with an audience by answering, or posing questions. Writing a regular and useful blog has obvious benefits - you’re giving a piece of yourself or your knowledge away, and if you’re doing it right, its in a manner that can be less formal than “brochure talk” that you’d find on your common or garden web site.
You’ve likely found this blog by doing a simple plain English search on something like “how do I use social media in my business”. You’ve asked the question, I’ve provided some of the answers. If you enjoy what I’ve written here and find it useful and engaging, we’ve achieved a few things between us - you’ve found your answer, I’ve found an audience, and with any luck maybe a new customer, or at least a potential person to recommend me to one.
Blogs are fast, responsive and are expected to be longer than your average web page. They are, after all, providing detailed information on a specific subject, or they should should be. I’ll talk about sharing and bookmarking in detail later in the series, but you’ll see from the social bookmark tools (the icons at the bottom for facebook, twitter etc) that we’ve made it pretty easy to share this knowledge with your peers, or bookmark it for later digestion. So not only have we provided useful information, we’ve given ourselves some potential “stickiness” rather than simply drifting back into the ether with a knowing nod as we reach the end of the page.
Blogs also tend to index well with search engines - the major ones are putting more emphasis on regularly updated and current news and also more generally, on user generated content. A well maintained blog gives the search engines a reason to come back to you. A well written blog gives the end user something to search on, by using copy that is crafted to help make web pages more visible to Google, for instance..
There’s no real downsides to using blogging as part of your mix from an authoring perspective. What we have yet to touch on in the power of responding to blogs of others. Writing lucid and useful responses to opinion pieces in trade press, interest groups etc has several key advantages;
- It provides back links to your web site (which can be deep links to very relevant content)`
- It promotes you or your people through online communities and humanises organisations
- It promotes thought leadership when strong comment is attached to a strong brand across the right platforms.
When I search for my own name in the search engines, alongside the obvious stuff, like my facebook page, my personal web sites etc, there are also plenty of links comment pieces that I’ve written or responded to. Each has a link back to my relevant web presence and so each is doing its bit in terms of providing a bigger picture about me, about my knowledge set and where to find me if you need me. The added benefit being each is also adding to the pool of back links to my web site and strengthening my online position in the eyes of the search engines.
Blogging has become a great leveller in terms of online PR and is one of the last truly equitable forms of advertising - you get back exactly what you put in and your voice has as much chance as the next of being heard - moreso if you are following the basic best practice techniques we’re talking about here.
The final thing to talk about in this article is how to properly format a blog or blog entry. Each article you write should be finished by completing the following check list;
- assign the article to a category so people can find it easily by filtering on your blog, web site or their reader
- Use tags to explain in keywords what the blog is about. Most blogging software has a dialogue box that allows you to do this
- Make sure any content you are writing includes links where relevant - if you are talking about a service you offer on your web site - provide a page link that allows the user to reference the source material easily.
- Use a custom post URL that makes your page easy to read by search engines - and ensure that it is keyword rich.
- “ping” the article to relevant blog aggregators
Once your blog is set up, it’s easy to track how well you and it are doing. The best practice above will send you down the right path. If there’s any aspects you need help with - from design of your blog, integration into your web site or even formulating a content strategy for you, we’re here to help.