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Why businesses blog (Hint: You should, too!)

If you’ve been too busy running your business these past few years to make the most of online marketing, it’s understandable.

When you spend every waking moment helping current customers, ordering inventory, handling paperwork, paying the bills, etc., you don’t have much spare time to teach yourself about search engine optimization, paid advertising, press releases, social media marketing, etc.

Of course, if you want more customers and more business, you have to do something online these days.

Even if you’re paying someone else to handle Web design and online marketing, you can do your part in building your online presence with blogging (a warning, however: Blogging can be habit-forming; as illustrated in the cartoon above, it’s important to maintain contact with the “real world”):

  • Blogs cost next to nothing, but they provide benefits you can’t get, without a virtually unlimited marketing budget
  • Blogs done right can attract tech savvy readers to you, and readers can turn into customers. The more readers you can attract to your blog, the more opportunities you’ll have for eventual sales.
  • Blogs can make sales reps out of your readers too. When you write a post on your blog, you “open it up for discussion,” inviting participation from your target market. When readers comment on your blog, they spread the good news about your products or services.
  • If handled right, blogs can be great for customer feedback. Instead of expensive market testing and surveys, you get real time responses from real people.
  • And, blogs can function as central hubs. Since they’re a stable venue in a world of fickle social media marketing, they can be your business’s home base. From your blog, readers/customers can venture off to any social media tools you use, like Twitter, Facebook, forums, Digg … and to your website.

In short, a blog can be a valuable tool for strengthening a brand, and reaching out to customers and potential customers.

Meanwhile, here are some helpful social media hints, courtesy of Network Solutions, that can help you with your broader online mission:

Simple social media Do’s and Don’ts

Do …

  • Be open, honest and unselfish in your use of social media and networking applications.
  • Address issues that are meaningful to your target audience. Put them first. Provide fresh insight and original content.
  • Listen to your contacts and respond in a way that is meaningful and useful to them.
  • Provide ways for people to contact you for additional support.
  • Provide links to other useful resources. Remember, social media is about what you can do for others.

Don’t …

  • Wait for an invitation: Reach out to your audience.
  • Sneak in a sales pitch. This is a turnoff to people looking for information and support.
  • Talk too much about yourself or your company. Keep the focus on what’s interesting to your audience.
  • Forget to monitor your feedback and respond swiftly.
  • Overlook the importance of having a good hosting provider. You need a reliable server infrastructure that’s equipped to handle traffic spikes.


Graphic: geek&poke via