Blogging and Social Media are interesting “new beasts” for the business world. We have found that our clients that don’t have full-time marketing staff tend to find it extremely difficult to maintain the regularity of these functions. It is usually higher-ups at the companies that feel responsible for communicating with their customers and presenting their image to the world. However, management is almost always so engaged with other responsibilities that seem like higher priority in the moment. Thus they don’t create the regularity necessary to have a fruitful blogging or social media presence.
Blogging keeps websites fresh in the eyes of search engines and site visitors. Social media keeps one visible in the community. These are the modern day equivalents of keeping a storefront bright and clean with an “open for business sign.” Collectively we know that websites and Internet presences are a huge and growing part of procuring new clients, customers, and sales. It might be our hard-wiring, but we tend to feel like networking in person is a more productive use of our time than networking online through social media. In person it feels more real, as the feedback is instant. Online networking doesn’t provide such instant feedback. You talk into a computer with your fingers, and no eyes or ears are on you. You say something now, and no one responds until tomorrow, or next week, or possibly never. Typing can feel like a lonely, isolating, unproductive process. The only exception is for those with such huge Internet followings that the response is constant and strong.
There are several solutions to help make the whole blogging and social media process easier for you and your staff:
1) If you are the one who is fully responsible for these tasks, then place your blogging and social media responsibilities on your calendar. Give yourself 20 minutes at the end of your work day to blog about what was alive and meaningful for you that day. Write every Friday morning at 9am. Or, engage with social media Monday and Wednesday mornings at 9am, and blog on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Make it regular, and hold yourself accountable. You might even find that you can set your writings to milestones. For example, every time I launch a new website I could write about it and the process of creation.
2) If you have a peer who can help hold you accountable, ask them to do so. After you make a post send them the link. Ask them to read it, and give you private and public feedback. This helps keep the posts at a high level of quality, and it gives it some authority in the eyes of search engines that someone is reading and commenting on what you are writing. Plus, you will know that you need to deliver as someone is awaiting your final product. As one Psychology researcher and professor once shared with me, “fear is a great motivator.” Make your commitment to others, and then your fear of failure will help you deliver results. If you keep your commitment private, no one will know if you fail, and you can easily overlook the failure yourself.
3) Ask your team for support. Even small organizations can make great progress online by sharing the responsibilities. For your team member who loves Facebook, assign her social media duty. She might even find joy in those social media connections- including Facebook pages, Twitter tweets, and LinkedIn networking- that you’d otherwise have to push yourself into engaging with. Ask colleagues to guest write on the company blog. A team of five whom write just once per month each, yields a weekly blog post for the company. Schedule it, suggest some themes, and send a friendly reminder if the posts are not submitted on time. Once structured and managed, it can be a fun part of the whole process of work! And, customers and other visitors to your site will appreciate the multiple voices and perspectives.
The more you discuss the inner workings of your business, the more the world will understand your expertise. I can tell you that I am an expert in making croissants and you’ll just hear that on the surface. However when I describe the challenges of making the perfect croissant in my blog and discuss the many types of wheat flour- that you have likely never heard of- couple with my experience of how finely ground they need to be to make the optimal batter, you will quickly realize how much you don’t know about the topic and how much I do know.
4) For those who simply don’t want to be bothered with blogging and social media, we have a team member who is happy to do the writing, posting, and engaging for you. She is a social butterfly and an intelligent thinker, and she can masterfully weave marketing, public relations, and networking into one complete package for you.
You have invested in your business and in your website. Now you need to fuel it with blogging and social media energy. The more fuel in your tank, the further you can drive.
End note: we are still busy working on our State of Search report for West Georgia businesses, when we have time between working on our client’s Internet presence. We still expect to publish it in April, 2011.