Obnoxious and we loved them for it when young. Still obnoxious but not quite so endearing as middle-aged gents.
See the title of this post? And see the date of my previous post? Yes, I know!
One of the big problems for small business owners is the time and thought involved with keeping social media fresh. Without dedicated comms staff to do the leg work, social media participation can easily become a burden on top of managing clients, staff, bookwork, etc.
If you don’t have the time to do it well, or the budget to outsource, an option is to have a website purely as a static brochure (as, otherwise, you will be totally invisible online) but to forgo the blog or the Facebook or Twitter account. A poorly maintained social media account is a worse marketing strategy than no account at all. You may have more targeted methods for reaching your clients.
Having said that, a regularly updated blog does show you as a thinker, a knowledge centre and a communicator in your industry and is very helpful for giving potential clients some idea of your expertise and suitability for their projects.
It also lets customers build a relationship with your organisation by posting comments under your original post and so starting a dialogue with your business.
On top of that, search engines love blogs, they are always looking for fresh content. The more you blog, the more search engines will index your site, giving it potentially better visibility in search results.
Communication is good … just don’t wait 13 months before before writing your next post!
More young women are embracing online communities while fewer men feel their online communities are as important as their offline equivalents, according to a new study.
This is apparently a sharp reversal in attitudes and has taken place over just a couple of years.
Researchers at the University of Southern California say 67 per cent of women under 40 feel as strongly about their internet communities as their offline ones, while only 38 per cent of men said the same. In 2007, the numbers were just the reverse, with 69 per cent of the men and 35 per cent of the women feeling that way.
If the numbers turn out to be accurate, it could be a pointer to a rethink by us PR hacks over how we plan online campaigns.
A Chicago woman made derogatory comments on Twitter about her landlord and her rented property. The landlord reportedly went straight to court to sue the woman.
The citizens of cyberspace are Tweeting and blogging like crazy about it. Messages for and against both parties.
The woman may or may not have the best intentions. The landlord may or may not be the world’s best landlord. But who’s right? Who’s wrong?
It doesn’t really matter anymore. The lid has been lifted, the genie’s out. Damage control will be difficult to put in place. Take care how you project and protect your corporate reputation!
With blogs fast becoming authoritative sources of news in their own right, the avenues you need to reach to get comprehensive publicity coverage can sometimes appear infinite. But you do need to communicate with far more than just traditional media outlets.
Spend a bit of time online researching who is writing the most authoritative and informed blogs on topics relevant to your business. You will easily be able to find the blogs you should be talking to.
People in your industry will be aware of leading blogs. The Technorati website shows who the most popular global blog sites are. Google’s Blog Search works well if you type ‘New Zealand’ after whatever topic search you are after.
What is news on a blog?
How does news develop and grow in the online age, where blogs are taking on papers in the news-breaking game and often winning? American journalist and new media expert Jeff Jarvis defines it as “product versus process journalism.”
“Newspaper people see their articles as finished products of their work. Bloggers see their posts as part of the process of learning.”
The way blogs work include “collaboration, transparency, letting readers into the process, and trying to say what we don’t know when we publish – as caveats – rather than afterward – as corrections,” Jarvis says.
Traditional news outlets like to project the impression that their story is the definitive version .
Whereas, as the Irish Independent reports, journalism – as practised by bloggers – exposes the workings of a scoop. “[High-profile technology blog] TechCrunch, for instance, publishes the beginnings of a story that may only be a rumour. The responses to that rumour, often from reliable sources, generate updates to the story, which is polished with the help of readers to get closer to the whole truth.”
“This is journalism as beta,” Jarvis writes. “Every time Google releases a beta, it is saying that the product is incomplete and imperfect. It’s a call to collaborate.”
And that call to collaborate is drawing millions of blog readers and comment writers. If you want your company to be where the word-of-mouth action is, you need to be noticed in the blogosphere.
… And, lastly, just to add to the proliferation of news sources you need to pay attention to: Is Twitter the news outlet for the 21st century?
I have been a bit doubtful of Twitter as a viable business tool in NZ for the simple reason that the number of New Zealanders using it has, in my experience, not been large. More than 90 percent of the people choosing to follow my tweets are in the United States. Not useful when you are a firm that sources its business domestically.
But new figures show that my concerns may be misplaced: the percentage of Kiwis using Twitter apparently outstrips the percentage of Americans doing so. Even though the total numbers may not be huge yet, market research company Perceptive says 6 percent of New Zealanders regularly tweet, compared with 5 percent of the US population.
So I’ll keep the Twitter experiment going, and as Kiwi Twitter numbers grow, see if I can encourage more Kiwis onboard.
Blogs are a powerful way to pull readers to your website, to educate and entertain them and lead them to action on your website. But how do you attract readers to your blog?
Compelling, useful and regularly updated material is, of course, essential. But other communication tools can also be useful to advertise your blog across the web.
Twitter: I’ve been experimenting with Twitter for a few months now and have more than 100 followers (people who have clicked to ‘follow’ – aka subscribe – to my Twitter feed). This is a small number compared to the many people with thousands of followers but the number is steadily growing every day.
So how do I attract them to my blog?
I put up an appealing (I hope!) Twitter post (aka a Tweet) about each blog post I make, and link back to my blog post. My followers and the many other Twitter readers can see it and can visit my blog, if they are attracted to my message, simply by clicking on the link . If you search and monitor the Twitter traffic, you will easily find people with an interest in the information on your blog and can tailor your Twitter messages to attract them.
Similarly with social media sites: I put up brief posts about my blog items on a social media site with a similar subject matter to this blog. People read the post and then come to my blog to learn more. Measurement of my most heavily read blogs shows that a significant readership has come directly from this social media site.
Email: The Copyblogger site recommends pushing people to your blog using an email newsletter. Copyblogger says email your blog’s RSS feed as a newsletter; start a simple opt-in email newsletter; link back to your blog; and place newsletter subscription tools everywhere.
You have to experiment a bit with linking to your blog from various other online services, but give it a go and see what works for you.
You might also be interested in these articles from other sites:
Four ways companies use Twitter (Read Write Web)
Fifty ideas on using Twitter for business (Chris Brogan)
This interview gives some good info about the importance of finding niches for social marketing:
In April, Wellington hosts a training and education event on social media and online marketing. Leading international experts will take workshops on topics including social media, SEO, online communities and content marketing.
The two-day event is to be held at Te Papa on April 15 – 16. Attendees will leave with “actionable strategies” to implement to their businesses, says the blurb for the event.
Find out more at Marketing Now.
Watch out for Chris Brogan and David Meerman-Scott in Wellington next month.
A couple of weeks back we posted about the world’s best job – a hugely successful social media competition that had spanned the world and gained vast positive publicity for its tourism cause.
Recently the press has been pretty negative: the competition is still a great success but the IT systems to run it have not been up to scratch causing the website to crash under the weight of people wanting to submit entries.
I guess the impetus of the campaign will carry organisers past this, but it’s an unnecessary stain on an otherwise creative success. A good example, if ever there was one, that you gotta have your systems sorted if you’re online.