Business and Social Media – Part 3

This is the third article in a series of articles describing how social media can be used by businesses. The aim is to publish one article per week on this topic, the first being Friday, August 7. Each article will address a single topic, and build on material provided in the earlier articles. Through feedback provided on the articles, this may lead into another series after the conclusion of this series.

Note that any clients referred to in these articles are fictitious, unless I specifically indicate otherwise.

Applying the Concepts

The client described in the first post in this series can make good use of the previous article as she develops her strategy. Social Media is built around interactions, so Jane must decide what kind of interactions she would like to foster. She must also look at how each platform is constructed, so that she can play to its strengths.

The Blog

The first step for most businesses starting with social media is to write a blog. If the client is technically adept, they can follow the instructions here on how to set up a WordPress blog on their own site. If not, they can hire someone to set up the site for them. (If you are looking for someone to set up a blog for you, please contact me directly and I can refer you to a reputable company that does this for a minimal fee.)

Before going live with the blog, there are a few things Jane needs to do.

  1. Choose a topic for the blog. As the owner of a hardware store, she may feel comfortable writing articles about how to fix some common problems around the house on a tight budget. The title and sub-line for the blog should reflect the topic chosen.
  2. Set a schedule for posting. More important than posting frequently is to post on a regular schedule. It is tempting to post each article as soon as it is written, but that may end up causing the blog to die quickly, as the speed of your writing drops. My usual recommendation is to start with one article per week, posted in the afternoon of Tuesday or Thursday. As the number of viewers of the blog grows, the frequency of publishing can be increased to twice a week, then three times a week.
  3. Prepare some articles. While Jane has selected a topic that she feels confident she can write about, she does not know how much time she will have available for writing. She should prepare about 3 months of articles (if she’s publishing once per week, that works out to 12-15 articles) and upload them to the site in draft mode.

At this point, Jane can launch her blog. Some companies (including the one I recommend) can do some preliminary advertising for her to increase the number of viewers quickly. Other plugins for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be installed so that new posts are automatically submitted to various search engines. Certain types of content will result in Google scanning the page earlier. A reputable company will help to explain and set up these components.

Jane should also be sure to monitor the number of viewers to the site, and respond to comments on her posts. Writing the article is only the first step – interacting with her readers is more important. While it may take time to convert a reader to a client, if she does not interact at all with her readers, then her blog is merely another form of traditional media.

Jane must also remember to tell people about her blog, and ask for feedback. A sign in her store can drive her existing customers to the site, and they can tell her, in person, what they like and don’t like about the blog. She can ask them for ideas for articles and for suggestions on how to improve her existing articles. They may tell their family and friends about the site. If Jane can establish her credibility as an expert on the blog, then people will be more inclined to come to her store when they need something, or need advice on her area of expertise.

Tweets – Part 1

Now that Jane has her blog up and running, she may want to create her first Twitter account. With this account, she can post links to articles on her blog, talk about those articles, and create an additional community of people interested in those topics. Using various tools discussed in a future article, she can analyze what people are talking about, and write relevant articles on those topics. With this Twitter account, Jane is trying to attract more readers to her blog, to increase the amount of attention on her writing.

What’s Next

In the next article, I will be discussing other uses of Twitter beyond driving traffic to a blog, and the benefits to creating a page on a social media platform such as Facebook.