I’m not a social media expert. I know a couple of things, but I’m definitely not an expert. So when one of my clients was looking for advice on business blogging and social media, I was glad to share what I knew. We talked about how business owners can benefit from blogging because it allows them to show their expertise, about why it’s important to engage readers, and why always pitching your product is not the best thing to do in a business blog. However, that pool of knowledge was pretty shallow. In fact it dried up pretty quickly.
So I set up a meeting with Kristen Daukas, someone who actually runs a social media agency. In addition to her day job, Kristen is the author of several active blogs and is the editor and publisher of Ten to Twenty Parenting, a resource site for parents of adolescents. She regularly speaks on a wide variety of topics in the Social Media universe and was happy to share some of her thoughts. Throughout our time together, Kristen focused on three key points and I’m going to add my two cents:
- Get Started Now
- Don’t Just Focus on Your Industry
- Make Connections
Get started now – Everyone has a skill or an opinion. It’s great when you have both and for most business owners, sharing your expertise and your opinions is as natural as breathing. We all have an opinion on how to do something, how things are going or how they should be going. Your customers and potential customers value thoughtful information. Putting your thoughts together on how your service or product can be used to make life easier, better or cheaper can be valuable, and shows readers that you know what you are talking about. Your knowledge and willingness to share it may be the deciding factor in whether someone is willing to do business with you or your competition. It takes a little effort to get started, but creating the discipline of regularly putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, will over time make writing easier. If you need an extra push, consider the Ultimate Blog Challenge or BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo where you are encouraged to publish a blog post each day for a month. Don’t worry, they provide tips and prompts to help keep you on track.
Don’t just focus on your product or industry – Many business owners only think of their blogs and social media accounts as ways to promote their product or service. Yes, your blog or Twitter and Facebook accounts can promote your business, but to only think of them in that way is very limiting. A well written and interesting blog post can create a platform for building community and the exchange of ideas. As a business owner, you have plenty of stories to tell about how your product solved a problem, but you probably also have stories about people that you’ve worked with, about how important it is to have good suppliers, or how best to relax after a long week at work. You have plenty of stories to tell, and people will be willing to read those stories and learn a little more about you and your business. We do business with people that we know, like and trust. Let your blog become another way for people to get to know you, get to like you and learn to trust you.
Make connections – Blogging is a good way to get your company’s message out near and far, however it’s only as good as the connections that you make. Your blog posts should seek to engage readers and to promote discussion. A blog post that gets people talking can help to bring traffic to your business website. The comments that your post generates are a sign that your topic hit the right note or managed to pluck a nerve.
This doesn’t mean you should be unnecessarily provocative, but you should share information that people will find interesting. Encourage discussion by asking questions or asking readers to share their own opinions in the comments. Take advantage of the tools your blogging platform provides to make your posts sharable on other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. There are a number of WordPress plugins that make this easy.
As a blogger for your business, you should make point to read other blogs. Reading a variety of blogs can help you develop connections to other bloggers and other industries. You’ll quickly discover that the information you get from seemingly unrelated industries may be relevant to your business or to your customers. Join the discussion and comment when appropriate. While it is OK add your website address to your comment, it’s not OK to spam someone elses site with self-promotional links.
Throughout the discussion she reminded us that blogging for your business doesn’t have to be difficult, but it has to be consistent. This was one of the things that Kristen told us that I already knew. But as we all know, knowing what to do and doing it are two separate things. If you want to get in contact with Kristen Daukas to learn more about blogging and social media, you can reach her by visiting AtlanticSocial.com.