There are early signs that Twitter has reached its peak, with user growth slowing significantly. Meanwhile, Gartner says that email is also on the wane, projecting that by 2014 20% of business users will rely more on social media for their interpersonal communications.
So, if those two darlings are falling from favour, what of that once-fashionable online pursuit, blogging? Is it worth your time and effort if Facebook and its ilk are where it’s at?
Inevitably, the answer is, “It depends.” If you are a consumer brand looking to engage directly with your market, Facebook is increasingly the medium of choice. For example, Procter and Gamble is very pro Facebook as a way to interact with customers.
However, for other types of business, and for other business purposes, blogging still has many strengths. Yes, gone are the days when every company expected to attract a mass of bloggers and an online community Boing Boing would be proud of. However, here are just some of the things a blog is great for:
- Making your business ‘transparent’. Customers increasingly expect their suppliers to be open, honest and accountable. Failings are tolerated, provided that they are owned up to and rectified (quickly). Your blog can be a great way of showing what’s really going on in your office and winning some customer loyalty. Famously, Microsoft employee Robert Scoble almost singlehandedly changed perceptions of his company for the better through his Scobleizer blog, which revealed that inside the software monolith was a bunch of people making the same mistakes as everyone else.
- Getting your message out clearly. As we have blogged previously, Bob Lutz, vice chairman at embattled General Motors, became committed to blogging to ensure that GM’s real news and opinion was reaching its customers. Other organisations similarly in the firing line can find it very helpful to create their own news channel in this way, as British Airways is presently doing. However, even for companies that aren’t in the crosshairs, this can be a great way of supplementing and adding depth to the press coverage you are getting.
- Refining your thinking. Nothing sharpens your thoughts more than having to write them down. Making regular blog postings about your business and industry can help you focus on issues and think of new ways to tackle them. This can be particularly useful for professional service or advisory firms, as opinion is their stock in trade. However, anyone who lives by their wits in business stands to benefit from this discipline.
If you want to start blogging or improve what you already do, here are our top tips for better blogging.