You’ve told the boss that you’re going to implement social media stuff for your organization, and in your mind, you’ve decided that means an account on Twitter and a blog. Maybe there’s a bit more to it than that. For instance, what are your goals? Are you there to show customers and prospective new customers that you care? Are you there to solve customer issues? Are you building awareness and attempting new forms of digital marketing? Knowing this up front makes a world of difference.
Community manager is a role that more companies will adopt in the coming years. Jeremiah Owyang provide a huge list of companies who have such a champion already, and more recently gave businesses a scorecard for whether startups should have a community manager.
Back in June, I wrote about whether companies will value your personal network. It’s a topic I think about constantly because I’ve seen time and time again the value of my own network. I use some amount of that value every day. And I spend a portion of each day threading the social needle.
Two great posts over the last few days show me that it’s not just me thinking about this. Tim Sanders says we should refresh our network often, and Jeremiah Owyang reports on the the risks and opportunities inherent in your network. It’s all pointing towards the same thing: you’ve got to think consciously about how you use social networks, and you have to build relationships that are decoupled from goals.
Marketers: please, please, please think really hard about the recipient of your message. It seems SO easy, but I find that people talk about how amazing they (their company/product/etc) are. I’m glad you’re proud, but is that what you want to tell me? Because if I’m the customer/consumer/user/partner, you know how I’m thinking, right?
You’ve started a company blog. What comes next? It’s not like someone gives you blog topics and an editorial calendar and suggests which one to post first. Well, I’m here to help. As part of my ongoing desire to see you pick up these social media tools for yourself and change the future of your business, here are 50 Blog Topics Marketers Could Write For Their Companies. (Feel free to repost, but please link back to [chrisbrogan.com] ). Oh, and if some of these don’t fit exactly, think creatively about whether you could adapt them.
50 Blog Topics for Marketers
- How to get the most from our customer service department.
- The best way to recommend an improvement to our product or service.
- Podcast – complete installation instructions in audio and video.
- What would you like to see in next year’s catalog?
- Our favorite projects over the coming months.
- Some tricks that might keep you from needing support.
- Upcoming coupons and offers for the next two weeks.
- We want to talk. How should we contact you? Where?
- Choose our product’s price.
- Five tips for getting more from your ______ .
- A little bit about us.
- A walk in our neighborhood.
- Photos from our community meetup.
- What goes into our decision process.
- Video – a tour of the plant, and a day in the life of your product.
- What it’s like to work for our company.
- We support these causes, and here’s why.
- The next two years: how we grow with you.
- We want to come to work with you (and learn how we can help)!
- Giving back to the community: our plan.
I think about this all the time. I want loosely joined social networks for those times when we’ve got an opportunity to meet like-minded people. When I visited the famous Nikko hotel in San Francisco a few months back, I saw all kinds of interesting people in the lobby. At conferences, I’m always wondering who from the event might be at the hotel where I’m staying. I think there’s something to it, but only if done right.
Ideas for a Hotel Social Network
Here are some ideas. Could you think on this too? What would you add?
Social media isn’t always the right tool for the job. Not every company needs a blog. YouTube worked for BlendTec, but it might not work for your company. And yet, there’s something to this. Over the last three days, I’ve spoken to four HUGE brands in America that are considering social media for one project or another, and there are many more out there working on how these tools might integrate into their business needs. Here’s a list of 50 ideas (in no particular order) to help move the conversation along. Note: I mix PR and Marketing. They should get back together again.
Please feel free to share this with others, and reblog it, provided you link back to [chrisbrogan.com] as the source.
This is not a plea for comments for THIS blog. This is a post thinking about how comments matter to bloggers in general. I use my blog only as a reference point. Instead, this is a reminder that commenting is good, and that if you can’t comment, you can still help out bloggers that you like.
At the time of this blog posting, over 5,300 people receive this blog in their RSS reader (or via email). Another 2,000 – 4,000 come to the site directly, depending on the day and the post. Add those up, and let’s say that around 7,500 people come here daily to read my stuff.
Blogs are not traditional media, and bloggers are not journalists. Unless they are. But it’s not a requirement. A blog is software. It’s something one puts up on the web to capture information, of whatever type one wants to put on there, and thus, if anyone tells you that you’re doing it wrong, that’s just silly. There aren’t very many wrong ways to do it (legal things like stealing from others might be something you could screw up, but otherwise). And yet.
If you’re going to blog seriously, consider the following:
- Consider the goals and value of your posts. Are you adding to a body of work? Are you blogging to educate, inform, deliver some value?
- Facts do matter. If you’re stating opinions, stress that they’re opinions. If you’re claiming a fact, try to cite it. (I tend to state mostly opinions).
- Remember that defamation is still an issue, potentially legal.
- You can always ask questions BEFORE you blog (novel, I know).
- Brevity matters. I know that I blog about this often. I just see several posts where one has to wade through to try and decipher the salient points (often my own).
- Disclosure is key. If you’re doing something to make money, if you have a business relationship with an organization that you’re writing about, if there’s anything that might potential change the way something is perceived were it be to be measured against what you wrote, consider that.
- Link when you’re mentioning other sites or information that has a link. It’s good manners. It’s the way the Web works. It’s more resources. Linking only to yourself says something about you (and it’s not flattering).
- Review the body of your work every 10 or so posts. Are you improving?
- Review the body of your work every 30 or so posts against the most recent. Are you repeating?
- Review the body of your work against 5 other blogs in your space. Are you an echo?
- Ask yourself WHY you’re posting what you’re posting. Pretend you’re the reader. Is this worth their time?
- What else could you be doing with your blog to add value to your core community?
There are lots of reasons to be blogging: capture your thoughts, share moments, build relationships, establish thought leadership, sell electric toothbrushes, whatever. None of them are especially wrong. But if you’re going to blog with the perspective that you are a professional, give it your best. Your audience deserves it.
Great story at Trendspotting (and I’m sorry that I forget who sent me this) about Coke trying to work with 9 bloggers in Brazil about a product rollout, where they sent the bloggers some of the new Coke, designed special front page replacements for their blogs, and summarily got lots of negative coverage for creating what the news media called “rent-a-bloggers.”
Blogging and social media are a great set of tools for promoting products and services by the digital version of word of mouth, but it’s a tricky situation. There are lots of opportunities to raise the ire of your community, and lots of ways that the marketer’s campaign could backfire.