Am I the only one not that who sees Twitter/Facebook overlap? More on that below... Also, see our two "Quick Content" generator tips
Well Twitter, we've got our eye on you. We'll talk about you a little more later...
However there is a general consensus that we businesspeople and marketers are supposed to be using at least these four tools. But it's not always clear what each one is for and how they work together so let's address those questions here:
"You Have a Blog, Right? You Have to Have a Blog!"
Have you heard this one enough? Well we hate to pile on, but it's probably true.
Here's Why You Need a Blog
Your blog is where you share your expertise, keep up on industry news and trends, offer your own point of view on things and share solutions to customer problems. And a blog is where you demonstrate to your customers and prospects that you keep up on industry news and trends, etc.
Whatever Field You Are In, It's Changing
And there is a lot of news to share and weigh in on. Your customers are counting on you to do this because they look to you as the expert. How do they know you are the expert? Because they read your blog!
We're all supposed to have those on our sites because that's where more than half of website traffic comes from.
And have you heard this statistic:
"25% of Google searches entered every day have never been searched before."
Keyword research is important but we also have to cover these "known-unknowns".
More Content = More Keywords
Your blog gives you ample opportunity to hit on lots of potential long tail keywords and increase the odds of using the latest-greatest search terms. It's hard to capture a lot of obscure long tail keyword phrases or new search terms on five pages of a static website. Know what I'm saying?
Our friend Chuck Linart has a longer piece on the value of a business blog here, "Does Your Business Need a Blog?"
Do You Need Facebook and a Blog?
Actually Facebook and a blog work very well together. Post the long and thoughtful piece on the blog, then link to it with an enticing question or comment on Facebook. At a minimum the blog entry will get exposure among your Facebook Friends (FBF) (and some Friends of Friends) and at most it might get a conversation going that you can observe and participate in and take some customer insight from.
Check out this great example of a company using Facebook to talk with their customers.
Another quick and easy way to use Facebook that adds value to your Facebook Friends and keeps you looking sharp is to post links with comments to articles in online or in print magazines or journals important to your trade. We're all suffering from information overload these days, (did you see the article this month in Fast Company, The Change Manger? Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge - see below)
First "Quick Content Secret": Become a Reliable Source, Do the scanning for them. Post what you're already reading.
For example we read Inc. Magazine and Fast Company at home. Sometimes there's an article related to small business marketing or tech trending that I think our readers might find interesting. Although we get the paper version of the mag, we find the article online and post a link to it on FB or in a blog post (*ahem*, see above).
Facebook Tip - It's Not All About You. It may be your page, but it's social media. It's a conversation. People delight at the guest who shows up at the party ready to talk on a variety of subjects and they ignore the bore who drones on about himself.
Second "Quick Content Secret": Google Alerts. Have Google email fresh content to you daily
Website Still Hugely Important? Blog On Site? SEO Still Vital?
Usually. Ideally, yes. And yes.
Is A Website Still Required?
Yes, having a website is site is still vitally important in most cases. For example, e-commerce (clearly) and for almost all other business it's necessary to have a website to be found online. It's a place for prospects to window shop, and if your blog is there, it's where people go to get your opinion. And isn't it just so handy that your list of services, About Us info and Contact info is right there too?
But Not Every Site Must Be Latest-Greatest
We know people that keep basic brochure-ware online because they meet clients face to face at meetings in their small community. These cases don't require much if any SEO and site update and expense, just a presence is helpful.
Is a Website Ever Not Needed?
Rarely and you'd know if it applied to you:
- Bricks and mortar store in a remote town (Ruth Ann's general store in Cicely Alaska)
- An extremely specialized business where the few clients know the few merchants (Yo Yo Ma's cello polisher),
- Businesses that operate solely on word of mouth and referrals (financial adviser to the Bilderberg Group).
Blog on Site? - It's best to keep a blog on the website. Keep it simple, don't make people work to interact with you. In some cases a blog might live on a blogging site where it has good traffic, or integrating into the site is not a priority due to financial limitations. If that's the case having it off site is not the end of the world.
SEO Still Vital? - Yes, there's really no getting away from that. People search, you want to be found. But don't stress too much over the technicalities (read this instead). Be yourself (Google's primary consideration is RELEVANCE) and throw up good content, content, content. "Content is king" said Sumner Redstone. Indeed it's as true as ever.
Twitter? I Hardly Knew Her!
Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck, but seriously, folks...Twitter it seems to us has more specialized uses than websites, blogs and Facebook. It's a odd bird so to speak.
Twitter is good for breaking news and surprise or short lived deals
"It's raining - '10% off when it's raining' sale is on!" It's also heavily used by mobile device users so getting people to act/react while they're out and about is a good use. And it skews younger than the tools above so that will play with some brands and categories more than others. We think it's safe to say it's more spontaneous than contemplative.
The Laziest Use of Twitter
Is tying it to your Facebook account. Ugh. Don't do that. It screams, "I have nothing to say" and "I don't understand social media". In our opinion. It's ok not to understand social media, everyone's learning it. But if you put yourself in the shoes of people who follow you on both platforms, likely your best contacts, the duplicate message is going to look spammy.
Here's our beef with Twitter. Facebook posts are generally short (though can go to 420 characters). And FB posts can have photos, allow comments, start a dialogue with others.
If you're not aiming young, mobile and don't need to spout spontaneously - and don't want to update frequently, we think time can be saved by skipping a Twitter account. Now please use the Add This button below to Tweet this link to all your friends.