Businesses are increasingly turning to social media for a quick, inexpensive way to boost site traffic. It’s a great way to generate loyal customers and brand awareness, while making your company seem much more human and relatable.
But aren’t they forgetting something?
Few people talk about blogging as a form of social media, but it is inherently and completely social. It shares the same social attributes of popular networks such as Facebook, allowing for a content rich experience.
It allows seamless communication between the blogger and audience, in a way that Google Plus has struggled to replicate.
Of course, it is also more flexible than Twitter, with its microblogging format.
What is more, blogging offers all of this with an unparalleled level of control over form and function.
So – Why Should You Be Blogging?
Compared to running a social media campaign, running a company blog gathers you more respect for success, and is less ‘risky’ than social media.
Social media that overly pressures people to sell, or is ‘content-light’, is more jarring and less expected. If you mismanage a blog in this way, by contrast, it’s severely sub-optimal, but it’s not a disaster.
People expect a company blog to promote, while they expect all tweets to discuss.
So when a blog discusses, people get happy. When a tweet promotes, well, it’s that much less appealing to Follow the tweeter.
Meet New And Interesting People – Then Convert Them!
Social networks often rely on previous contact with the audience as well.
Wildly following twitter users on your account will not gain you a targeted audience interested in your brand whereas Facebook only allows you to invite people in your own personal network to like your page.
An invite to a stranger will allow people to sense your desperation.
Time spent following the blogs of strangers is seen as more meaningful, though, and leaving thoughtful comments can gain you interested visitors coming back to your site, reading about your brand, and engaging with your articles.
Producing content through a blog also gives you the opportunity to increase traffic to your company website. This can be done either with an on-site blog, or an off-site blog that links back to relevant pages.
This in turn means that the time that you spend sharing links on your social media pages has a direct influence on how much traffic is directed to your site.
This is a way of gaining links back to your site that is seen very favourably by Google. After all, you are producing relevant content for a tailored audience in a place that you would expect to find it.
A Unique Level of Control
Because of the level of customisation when running a blog, you are also able to operate out of any constraints of social media – rather than producing content that has to stand out amongst a hundred updates, and which enjoys only a brief period of time in the limelight, you are able to create content with a more comprehensive aim .
This adds a library of content that if tagged correctly will be found through search engines long after it has disappeared from someone’s timeline.
Sure, social media sites are a great way for companies engage conversation with potential customers and share relevant content. Much of this content, though, is not generated from the companies themselves but from third party sources.
Could you be spending too much time promoting other peoples content?
Generating your own quality blog posts means that you can tweet about them later, invoke them when they’re relevant to a conversation.
You can bring them up to answer questions using the #question hashtag on twitter, for instance – a really useful hashtag for anyone looking to grow a twitter following, incidentally!
Both onsite and in terms of outreach programs, blogging for your company carries serious, long-term social rewards.
Instead of the content being contained within a network, every time the information is shared, there is a direct link back to your company – rather than the often detracted and one way comments fishing for interaction that companies tend to adopt in platforms we usually think of as Social Media, with the big capital letters.
Blogging shows that your company is run by real people, many companies partake in social media just to have a presence – but these networks are favour the constant creation of content and updates, primarily the interactions between individuals that they were built for.
Creating a blog is a much more substantial way of showing to your customers that you care about what you do and gives you an opportunity to show all of your expertise rather relying on word of mouth, repeat custom or reputation.
That’s not to say that you can get away with one monthly update – a key element of running a blog is to build an audience, one that is interested in your content and one that interacts – this is where you should be using social media to promote your posts.
Much like the traditional fable of the blind men and the elephant, many businesses have been encountering one aspect of blogging, the ‘passive content repository’ aspect, and declaring it to be the complete animal! Blogging is much more than that.
Blogging is the original social media, and it’s the heaviest player in the game. It’s a facebook or G+-style wall, it’s a Scoop.it or Pinterest-style curator, it’s a lengthy tweet, it’s an article, it’s a direct conversation, it’s all of these things and more – in short, it’s flexible.
Setting up a blog and building an audience takes patience, and many are disheartened by the big name brands with powerhouse social media accounts and thousands of followers.
Blogging for a business is not a direct popularity contest, though, but an investment that relies heavily on the personal touch. It is about strengthening your brand and converting social interactions into happy, satisfied customers.
Blogging can function as an incredible social media platform, but it’s not a strictly defined tool. Its social strength lies in its diversity and its permanence, two features that no other social media format can lay claim to.
It’s time for businesses to stop treating blogging as an online content warehouse, and start to engage.
James Duval is a tech blogger for Intercall Europe, writing on behalf of the Intercall Blog about b2b and b2c communication. He discusses the correct ways that businesses should be approaching communication with customers to see real business results.