Whether you recognise blogs as social media, or prefer to think of them as the content feeding social media, one thing is unquestionable: blogs and social media are inextricably linked. Here’s just a few of the many crucial ways in which social media for business blogging thrives in partnership with other forms of social media:
A collaborative report, carried out by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs in 2012, revealed some useful insights into the content marketing activities of North American B2B marketers. Both social media and blogging were in the top five activities, with 87% using social media and 77% publishing blogs – these figures were an increase on the 74% and 65% respectively in 2011.
Other popular activities included the online publishing of case studies, videos, articles and eNewsletters. The statistics are clear: if you’re not already blogging and active in social media, your competitors certainly are. And, if the trend continues, even more of them will be actively investing in these and other content marketing activities this year.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, SlideShare and Google+ are currently the most popular third-party social media platforms. However, before diving into social media for business blogging, it is vital to assess which platform is the most popular in your industry.
Currently, for example, LinkedIn is hugely popular with B2B users, whereas Facebook is the leader in B2C. Attempting to be active on every single social media platform will only exhaust your time, energy and resources. The eventual outcome is likely to be a half-hearted effort; giving an unprofessional, unfriendly and non-committal impression of your business.
Focusing your efforts on two or three relevant platforms will result in a far more targeted, effective and sustainable social media campaign, with a more rewarding sense of engagement and subsequent marketing opportunities. In terms of your blog, these social media networks are far more likely to benefit from, respond to, and talk about, the content you are creating.
Factors to consider when making your choice of social media platform(s) include:
– which is most popular – within your industry and with your target audience;
– which is most suitable – for sharing for your content (written, video, presentations, etc);
– which is most targeted – to achieving your goals (customer service, info sharing, networking, marketing, PR).
People use social media for a variety of reasons, including friendly chat, consumer research, information gathering, content sharing and business networking. For businesses, social media activities provide lots of engagement opportunities, which are often preferable to expensive advertising or aggressive sales campaigns.
Many of these activities can, in some way, be linked to (or reflected in) your blog:
A permissive funnel for content marketing campaigns, including online articles and blogging
Create and share remarkable content with invitations to engage (opportunities to gather leads) through comments, sharing, call-to-actions, etc.
A way to join and positively influence industry relevant conversations
Tailor your posts to hot topics in your industry and back up your social media comments and discussions with links to your relevant blog posts.
A chance to engage with customers and their issues directly, immediately and effectively
When your customers are discussing an issue via social media, respond immediately then back it up with a helpful blog post later, if appropriate.
A tool for surveying potential marketing and public relations opportunities
Observe, and engage with, your social networks and be ready to respond to needs and trends by tailoring your blog campaign accordingly.
A method for receiving real-time feedback on content, products and services
The speed of social media sharing can be optimised when partnered with the ‘official forum’ of your blog, to respond to feedback on your business.
A platform from which to canvass opinion on business or product development ideas
The relevance and immediacy of social media networks are ideal for canvassing new business ideas, which can be showcased in detail on a blog.
A service for monitoring and engaging in industry news, developments and events
There’s no faster way to monitor industry news than social media; engage further and share the full extent of your expertise on your blog.
A channel through which to network with peers, customers and industry thought-leaders
Social media is perfect for networking; bring the discussion back to ‘your place’ through blog posts, guest posts and knowledge sharing.
Social media for business blogging offers huge opportunities in terms of SEO: any social media activities, linked to your business or your content, will influence your website’s SEO. If people are talking to you, or about you, and are linking to your website or referencing content on your website, these links will add authority to your website in search engine rankings.
In addition, by their very nature, social media sites themselves have a very high authority, so if your own social media account is linked to your website, these links will carry extra clout and play a part in SEO.
With blogging, the effect of SEO is two-fold: not only does the act of publishing frequent fresh posts on your blog register with the search engines, it also produces remarkable content to be shared (and linked to) through social media – broadening the audience for that content and laying down fresh links each time the content is shared and referenced.
And there’s more good news: if you invite (and embark upon) guest blogging opportunities, the resulting blog posts can also be shared via the respective bloggers’ social media channels – attracting a whole new audience and extra potential for inbound optimising links.
Sharing the love
The variety of social media platforms, and the differing reasons people use them, result in a myriad of tangible business opportunities. Sharing your blog content via social media can add real value to discussions and provide expert information, while also showcasing your brand by linking back to your own website.
One of the great things about social media, and blogs, is that people can tentatively get to know your brand – by ‘following’, ‘liking’, ‘linking’ and subscribing – this gives everyone an opportunity to get acquainted slowly, without the pressure of an overt sales campaign.
People who engage with you via social media, and link or subscribe to your content, could be considered ‘warm leads’ for marketing purposes, potential colleagues in networking, or allies in public relations – they are beneficial to your business and your business is, in turn, beneficial to them.
At the same time, by interacting with the blogs and websites of others in your social media network, you will also garner hoards of helpful industry information and useful contacts, to enrich the content you create on your own blog.
While social media for business blogging should never be purely about broadcasting, it is worth looking to the future potential of blogs as their multi-media and mobile capabilities increase. Blogs already offer the potential for broadcasting online training videos, product demonstrations, news footage or even an interactive event – future possibilities are likely to be mind-blogging, as technology works in synergy with the dynamic characteristics and real-time capabilities of blogs.
Crucially, the content you place on your blog is, in most cases, your content, subject to any clauses in the creation of that content. On the other hand, content posted on third-party social media sites is not always within your direct control or ownership.
With such potential for the publishing and broadcasting of some really remarkable content, it is wise to ensure that you control the content, the rights, the off-switch, and the official forum for discussion.
The optimum balance for any content marketing campaign is when the overwhelming majority of content is created by you, on your own website or blog. Other forms – including content you create on other sites, content you invite others to create on your site, and tweets or posts on Twitter and Facebook, for example – should feature as a vitally important component of your strategy but they shouldn’t usually be at the core.
By using your blog as the primary platform from which to post, broadcast and share your content, you not only retain ownership and control, you can also derive the maximum SEO benefit and create an invaluable archive of remarkable content for future social media for business blogging.