There is no doubt that every business needs active online presence. But what does that look like? For many small business, a blog in combination with social media support can be the perfect way to:
· Market your business (and yourself!)
· Boost your online presence and website SEO
· Conduct valuable market research
· Connect with your current and potential customers in a meaningful way
Why does it work?
I read a book called The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains and it changed the way I looked at communicating. Two lessons I learned related to blogging were:
· People search the internet for solutions (“How do I maintain a garden in the cities?” or “What’s the best breakfast when you’re trying to save money on vacation?”)
· We’ve grown accustomed to bite-sized solutions that we can explore more deeply if we want to. But we’ve become so accustomed, long responses have been rendered undesirable.
Think of the last time you did a Google search and weren’t interested in any of the links that popped up? Did you look at the second page of search results? Be honest; did you even know there was a second page of search results?
Culturally we have developed a tendency to move on if our problem isn’t solved – at least in part – very quickly. This makes blogs an excellent tool for any small business.
What are some best practices?
What makes people read or not read a blog?
· Be concise. A 500 word blog is just about perfect.
· Add value. Don’t rant. Be thoughtful in what you say.
· Connect with others. Promote your blog on social media, use hashtags and join conversations.
· Read and comment on other blogs. You’ll learn from the content, make connections and even get a few style/writing ideas yourself!
How do I start?
Every blogger will tell you to write about what you know and use your own voice. Writing is hard enough. Blogging about unfamiliar topics or trying to sound like someone you’re not is an unnecessary complication. Yes, clarity and grammar is important, so if that’s not your strength you may want to partner with someone who can help you. Otherwise, listen to your customers for content ideas and write in your own voice about what you already know.
Will you share your area of expertise? Post your blog or blog post below!
Amy Jauman is a speaker, professor, and social media strategist with a masters degree in experiential education and doctorate in organization development. She bills herself as “an educator for the business environment” and focuses on using social media and online resources to make information meaningful to adult learners. You can follow her on Twitter and Pinterest or like her Facebook page for more information about the ever-evolving opportunities in online learning. Follow her blog at www.remotelysmart.com/blog!
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Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota