In the world of Social Media for Small Business, creating and maintaining Blogs is one of the keystones for success: this is the core content that makes Social Media “social”. For example, if you are a local auto mechanic or solo practitioner, a Blog is where you differentiate yourself from your mega-sized “AutoCity” or “RetainersFirst” competitors.
A Blog is simply a series of brief articles (posts) that you issue periodically to your electronic network – kind of like a traditional newsletter but much easier to pull together. From a marketing perspective, a Blog provides the content that helps create both awareness and comfort with you and your brand – think of it as a personal chat with folks you just met at a networking event.
Successful Blogs establish your identity by providing the audience with something topical, useful and/or interesting. For a small business, a Blog provides the perfect platform to demonstrate your expertise without the need to give a sales pitch.
Your Blog posts should be one side of a conversation that you are actually interested in having with your audience. If you’re successful, folks out there will want to respond and you’ll get comments back from the audience. That means you’ve started building relationships which means you’ve started to meet one of your core objectives.
So what do you “post”? There is no “Official Blog Playbook”, but here are four general tips:
- Short posts are generally better than long ones, for both you & the audience. A single page of text is usually about right, with links to longer documents or articles if that’s appropriate. Save the dissertation for another forum, you’re just trying to pique interest & make some friends.
- A relaxed presentation is better than a formal one – you want your posts to be useful & interesting, not tedious or difficult to read. And remember, enthusiasm is contagious, so make sure your own interest in the topic comes through.
- The best choice of topics will let you subtlety show your knowledge & skills without giving a drawn out lecture. The cardinal rule, of course, is never attempt to sell anything! Always remember that your audience is there voluntarily and the quickest way to lose them – forever – is to bore them or flip the discussion into a sales pitch.
- Finally, keep at it – Social Media marketing is a process, not an event! Your goals are brand awareness and recall – you need prospects to know your name and (positively) remember what you do. This classic PR conundrum is faced by all high-end ad agencies and – guess what – a simple Blog gives you, a Small Business, the solution…a low-key approach that potentially leads to a trusted personal relationship.
For your Blog to succeed, you need to establish your bona fides with the audience…daily, weekly, or monthly posts that earn that trusted relationship. This involves a commitment on your part – kind of like dating, you’ve got to show up to be considered seriously. If this turns out to be beyond your resources…i.e., you simply don’t have the TIME for this marketing stuff because you’re busy actually running your business… seek out some customized support that meets your specific requirements.