Why do businesses need to blog and tweet?

by Randy Murray on March 31, 2010

The Week of Why continues!

This may seem a bit like preaching to the choir, but this bears some consideration: why do businesses need to blog and tweet?

If you’re a blogger or a heavy Twitter user, you may think it’s obvious. But to many small and medium business owners it is far from clear. Every new thing means more time and more money to spend. And the benefits are not always clear.

But there are benefits if social media are used effectively.

  1. Blogging can be the most cost-effective way of improving SEO.
  2. Tweeting is an add-on to your blogging effort – micro-blogging.
  3. Both are highly effective tools to use when something bad happens, providing a way for you to communicate, quickly, clearly, and honestly with your customers before the message spirals out of control against you.

There are many more, but let’s talk about these today.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Many organizations are spending tens of thousands of dollars on improving their search engine rankings. And to many it appears to be some weird black magic or voodoo. The rules seem to change daily and everyone has their own technique. But an active blog, published frequently, can draw more attention to your site and, most importantly, customers and prospects. If you’re providing valuable content to your industry, others will link to it and over time those links will dramatically improve your ranking. As prospects see your company regarded as an expert in your industry, they’ll become more likely to buy from you.

Tweeting is often regarded by businesses as something that teenagers do – or for marketers selling get-rich-through-tweeting schemes. But tweeting is essentially blogging 140 characters at a time. It’s an opportunity for you to promote your blog, listen to customers, and extend the conversation, which is what you’re after. With some thought and planning, Twitter can be used as an effective way for you to alert customers to new offers, alert them about new content of interest, and invite them to tell you more about themselves and what they need. It’s sometimes very difficult to get feedback from a happy customer (unhappy ones don’t have this problem). Twitter can be an informal way for you to open conversations with happy customers.

Both of these tools can also provide you with a very effective way to communicate both good news and bad. And you’ll be most effective in a bad news situation if you’ve already established yourself as a company that blogs and tweets. Let’s say, for example, you make a sport drink and you’ve hired an athlete as your wholesome spokesperson. If it turned out that this athlete wasn’t the wholesome figure you’d hoped, you need to communicate quickly and honestly with your customers and the press. Rather than taking days to for a response, blogging and tweeting allows you to respond NOW. These approaches also work best if you listen and accept criticism, not just defend and deflect. You want to show that you understand when your product hasn’t lived up to your customers’ expectations. Just a few words from you, just 140 characters, can sometimes do that, buy you time, let you get your act together and fix the problem. Staying silent is often very bad. But if you plan in advance and use your blog and Twitter to respond and listen to customers and the public, you might turn a PR disaster into a sales opportunity.

Blogging and tweeting takes a big commitment from a business. It’s not something you can just do once and forget about it. To do it well and gain real benefits from it, you need to plan to do it every business day. That’s a commitment of time and money. And to really do it well, you might need professional content – from someone like me. But if you make that commitment and grow your blogging efforts, you can expect to significantly increase your web site traffic and open valuable conversations with your customers and your market.

Click here for more on this topic.

And if you haven’t already seen this, watch Seth Godin and Tom Peters speak briefly about the importance of blogging.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mari March 31, 2010 at 11:33 am

“And it’s free.”
“And it’s free.”


2 Randy Murray March 31, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Mostly free. Just like humans are “mostly harmless” (Thanks to Douglas Adams).

For a business, time=money. Devoting the time to blog and tweet means less time for other things. And businesses that use professional writers, like me, are budgeting and spending money.

That said, once the content is created, the publishing of it is also mostly free. Mostly. And compared to conventional media, it is free “ish”!




3 Mari April 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm

You provide an excellent expanded definition of “free” in the blogging world. For clarification, I watched the Seth and Tom video and quoted their final comments. I’m with you…free “ish” is more accurate!


4 Randy Murray April 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm

“The moon belongs to everyone. The best things in life are free.”

Unfortunately, you can only look, not touch, visit, or develop the real estate there.



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