Category Archives: New Media Solutions

6 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Social IconsAs social media grows and takes more of a stranglehold of Internet users’ time, the focus on use at the various networks and social sites becomes heightened. Yet, while those sites may or may not make or break your marketing and brand, the effect of having a business blog has never been greater, due to those social media sites.

Here are six reasons your business should be blogging:

1) Your Blog Is Your Hub
While you may be set up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. and sharing different updates to different networks, your blog remains your hub – the one point where all roads lead to. Test and optimize conversions for lead generation (or whatever you’re focused on) at your blog and you’ll have a winner, in many cases, regardless of where the visitors first initiated contact.

2) Blogs Generate Leads
Your hub should be generating leads, which isn’t always easy via social media sites. Sure, you can get Likes, Follows, Pluses and all the rest, but those leads don’t convert like good ol’ email marketing. An email marketing list is still the most valuable digital asset that almost any online business can have. Your blog can generate leads better than any social media site, no doubt, because it can be configured specifically for this, whereas your social media sites are going to encourage following at that site.

To take it a step further, if you’re business is already using email marketing; the case for blogging is even stronger. Among those that use email marketing, companies that blog get twice as much traffic from their email than those who don’t.*

3) Blogs Are Great for Search Engine Optimization
Blogs still rank really well in search, and for this reason, should not be ignored. While social can give you a boost, and social elements can be added to your blog (such as Like, Share and Tweet buttons,) your blog is still king at giving away both content and context, which the search engines are always thirsty for.

4) Blogs Build Trust
Blogs are typically seen as sources of valuable information. They’re taken more seriously by most users than social media sites. Because of this, trust is an important reason to be blogging. In the digital world, trust is the hardest thing to come by because there is no face-to-face like in the offline world. Blogs can combine the social feel, at a more business-like level, that can crush both social media sites and static website, to inspire trust in your prospects and customers.

5) Blogs Sell Services
Leveraging the trust that can be built and value that can be given away at a blog, there can be solid conversion and sales of services through a blog that won’t happen the same way elsewhere. If nothing else, it’s high-level lead generation, but combining all fronts and your blog is moving the prospect closer to the sale.

6) Blogs Enhance Reputation Management
The perfect balance of social and corporate, a blog that publishes regular content is magnetic to search engines. If what shows up in search when someone searches for your brand name matters, then a blog would benefit your business.

Business blogs have been proven to deliver immense value, as demonstrated by the 81% of companies that consider their blogs “useful,” “important” or “critical.”** I encourage you to take a look at Proforma’s Social Media White Paper that showcases the 21 lessons we learned in our 12 month journey to growing our social media reach by 12 million users, including some of the tactics we’ve used to grow our blog viewership beyond 100,000 in just three years.

The Recipe for a “Good” Tweet

Image courtesy of C!...'s photostream

Image courtesy of C!…’s photostream

Chances are fairly good that unless you’ve found a way to live without any form of media in your life for a larger part of the past decade that you know what Twitter is. Chances are even more likely that you yourself own one of the reported 883 million Twitter accounts in existence today. Even if, to this point, you’ve defied the odds, I daresay you would be able to pick out a good, quality message over a less popular one? How about being able to determine which Tweet was shared more than the other? Three Cornell students claim they’ve made a computer algorithm that can outperform the average person. Give it a try here and stop back in here when you’re done.

How did you do? My first try found me correctly selecting the more popular tweet nearly 73% of the time… not bad, but the computer algorithm beat me by one solitary tweet at 75% correct. I found myself asking some interesting questions: Why was the computer able to outperform me, what criteria is it using to select the better message? Is it possible that there is, in fact, an algorithm that can guarantee your message is more popular than other, similar messages, 75% of the time?

My questions led me to a discussion the Cornell students had regarding what criteria the computer was given to select the better message. What I found were seven items, among others, that the computer was trained to look for:

1.    Know what topics trend on Twitter – A recent study broke down tweets from the second quarter of this year by category and found that tweets under the topics of sports, science & technology, politics, art & entertainment, and business finance performed better on Twitter than on either Facebook or Pinterest while tweets discussing family issues, health & fitness, and shopping were poorly received on this medium compared to the others.

2.    Use an image or a video – Simple enough; you only get to use 140 characters on Twitter… so why not share something that’s worth at least 1,000 words?

3.    Post any links about 25% of the way through your message – Twitter is geared toward those who want information NOW. If they have to wait til the end of your message to get a link, they may have already clicked on to the next message; don’t give them the chance.

4.     Track and Learn – One advantage the computer algorithm has over us is that it’s got five years’ worth of analytical tools at its disposal instantly. If you want a true barometer for what does and doesn’t work for your site, consider working with analytical tools to fine-tune your online presence.

5.    Preview with stats, quotes, and takeaways – Tweets that contain quotes receive 53% more retweets than your average post. Curiosity killed the cat, so draw in your viewers with a small taste of what your content truly has to offer.

6.    Use your social media to inform your content – It’s the age-old marketing concept to know your audience, and it still holds true today. Chances are pretty good that if you’re talking about the things that are popular in your industry right now, you’ll get noticed a lot more than if you’re simply taking shots in the dark with your posts.

7.    Sharing is caring – Not immediately (necessarily), and never something you want to consistently do (to avoid annoying others), but GOOD content, content that gives you an “AHA!” moment, content has opened your eyes to something new (perhaps something you’ve found on the Proforma Blog?) should be shared. If the message or content within was enough to make some kind of an impact on you, it’s a good bet that there are others out there that would similarly benefit from seeing the same message.

It won’t happen overnight, and you won’t always find success, but if you spend enough time working at these seven items, not only will you find yourself beating the algorithm (which I wound up doing 80%-74%) but, and more importantly, you’ll find yourself to be considered a thought-leader in your industry and the following you begin to gain can do wonders for expanding your business.

Online Resources:
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/01/upshot/twitter-quiz.html
http://www.socialbro.com/blog/8-key-social-media-shareable-content-marketing

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