business blogging

Sure I Like You…But That’s About It.

By Communications, Corporate Strategy, Social Media

“Forget about the number of fans or “likes” your organization’s Facebook page has. It’s what the organization is doing to keep those fans engaged that is important, especially if those fans comprise the “Millennials” – individuals who are 18 to 29 years old.”

That’s a quote from a great new piece of research from Dr. Tina McCorkindale, an assistant professor in Appalachian State University’s Department of Communication, who has been doing a bunch of poking around into the habits of Millenial Facebook and social media consumers. You can link to the article here, but the key paragraph is right here:

“With so many companies spending so much time and money on social media, we need to understand not only social media tools but the strategies of how to use it,” McCorkindale said. They found that while 75 percent said they had “liked” a profit or non-profit organization on Facebook, 69 percent said that once they “liked” the organization, they rarely or never returned to the fan page. Only 15 percent of the respondents said they visited organizations’ fan pages weekly. Most respondents (44 percent) spent less than 30 minutes a day on Facebook…Only 28 percent said they had actively searched for an organization’s page.”

Wow. Shocking! Not really. Getting someone to like your Facebook page is actually pretty easy. Getting them to like what you have to say and absorb the value you claim to be providing enough to come back more than once is an entirely different proposition. First, you actually have to PROVIDE that value, whether it’s superior quality of service, workmanship, price/benefit, design, humor–whatever it is you do–it has to be done well, and with commitment.  Think about it. How many Facebook brand pages provide so much value to you that you HAVE to come back regularly? I can’t really think of more than about three, and they are all musician pages. Now I might be different than you, but I go back because I’m a fan and there is usually something new to consume–a video, more tracks, a question, some tour photos.

Are you providing that to your current or potential customers? If not, how can you expect that they are going to take time out of their amazingly interesting day, search for your page, go look at it, and consume what they have already seen? Guess what, they aren’t. At all. And why should they?

These are TOOLS, people. Like picks and shovels and databases and chainsaws and mobile apps. They only do something if you pick them up and get to work. In the social space, that means connecting, responding, engaging, rewarding, asking questions, providing answers in ways your customers can actually extract some VALUE from.

But you knew this, right?

The Culture of Social Media without the Platforms; Mind = Blown

By Communications, Public Relations, Social Media

It’s a very busy time for my business and yesterday included a marathon of meetings right in a row (six!). Right in the middle, we met with a prospective client.

Now, Jaggers Communications offers the full suite of communications services from public relations to brand positioning to social media strategy, but often client conversations begin with learning about social media (it is a specialty of our firm). One of the people we met with shared his complete lack of use and knowledge of social media. He’s not engaged in any way online and hasn’t had an interest in doing so personally, even though he understands it’s important for his business to begin to seriously look at digital communications and how they should be used.

Then, he went on about his business philosophy, about how he prefers to serve clients, to interact with partners, to collaborate and nurture a culture of transparency within his organization.

And then my brain exploded.

Everything he said is exactly the culture that social media has established and worked to grow. It’s precisely where bloggers hoped business would evolve when it became impossible to hide behind a curtain of complacency. But it wasn’t the culture online that drove this man’s business values; it’s how his company has done business since the 1970s, long before blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

It was so refreshing, and so very exciting for me to meet with someone who “got it” before the technical aspects were even brought into the discussion. In fact, the words we use to talk about the tactics of social media are almost irrelevant. They’re tools to get us to the goals we make. The framework and quality are there; the genuine stories and rich culture exist; we have the honor of helping the business share them online.

Sometimes my work makes me giddy.

Jim Duncan’s Blogging Philosophy

By Social Media
Jim Duncan, Nest Realty

Jim Duncan, Nest Realty

My friend Jim Duncan is a blogger. He’s also a REALTOR® and an entrepreneur.  Jim has been firmly in the lead, using social media and blogging, specifically to help build his business and maintain relationships with referral sources and future customers. Jim offers a nice balance when he blogs, spanning the personal and the professional, including musings about being a dad alongside thoughts about local policies and the real estate market.

Jim’s not selling on his blog — he’s blogging — which I appreciate. His posts are always informative, sometimes controversial but always interesting to read. Because it’s what he most wants to write, Jim gives the reader a great sense of what it’s like to live and work in Charlottesville, Va.

A couple of days ago, Jim shared a link to a post written by Hugh MacLeod which, as Jim said, perfectly summed up his blogging philosophy in one sentence.

People should come to your blog, not because somebody drove them there, but because it was important for them to come there.

We DO spend a lot of time talking about goals, evaluation, measurement and yes, “driving traffic,” but ultimately that’s not it at all. It’s about sharing valuable content, engaging in a way that’s authentic and thereby drawing those who are interested in what it is you have to offer. I’m FAR more interested in only having five visitors to my site if they are commenting, interacting and doing business with me, than 10,000 visitors who stop by and don’t contribute to the conversation at all.

I admire Jim’s philosophy, and subscribe to it myself. Do you agree?

How do you describe your blogging philosophy?


Businesses: Backing into Blogging

By Communications

It’s funny how businesses have thrown themselves into Twitter and Facebook interaction without backing up and considering blogging. Many of them have blogs that were once established but now, sadly neglected. To what do they link on these other platforms, if not ever their own valuable content? While I endorse the use of social networks to engage with and build a community, doing so without a blog is very odd.

Businesses need blogs for several reasons.

  1. A blog will create organic search engine optimization. Nothing is more valuable to a business than a website with frequently updated content as a method of activating the search engines and attracting customers to your business’ content.
  2. Blog content demonstrates thought leadership — if you can say all you have to say 140 characters at a time, be my guest, but most of us need a bit more room to demonstrate our wealth of knowledge on a particular topic.
  3. A blog creates an archive of information that represents your business. It’s common for a visitor to your website to spend time on several pages of content — give them a reason to stick around.
  4. Blogging helps create relationships between the business and its customers. When visitors read content by individuals in the business, they come to know those people and relationships form over time. Allow this to happen; it’s powerful stuff.
  5. Blogging helps businesses figure out who they are. Due to two-way conversation, invited feedback and discussion and often the process of writing and working things out with words, sometimes businesses have watershed moments and redefine their mission. It’s very cool to watch.

If your business has jumped into Twitter and Facebook based on peer pressure, but has skipped blogging entirely let me know. Why? And do you agree that it’s time to start blogging?

Websites with a Blog have 55% More Traffic

By Communications

If your business website still doesn’t have a blog, today’s the day you might decide to change that.

A recent study indicates that businesses that incorporate a blog on their website have 55% more visitors and 97% more inbound links.

It is now, in my opinion, counterproductive to NOT have a blog on your website. If your competition has a blog and you do not, your website is practically invisible to your audience.

The original study, produced by Hubspot.