Social media is a very important piece of the online marketing puzzle. Most social networks not only allow us to express ourselves and hear back from our audience and what they want to see or not see, but they also provide a medium by which we measure our ‘reachability' success.
How many likes we have on our fan pages act as an indicator to ourselves and others that we are “popular enough” or maybe “legit enough”. There is more perceived value on a Facebook page with 2 or 3 thousand plus likes than one with 200 or less. When in reality the truth could quite easily be that the business is NOT utilizing Facebook as one of their social marketing networks. After all, Instagram and Pinterest are said to render better results in this area as of late, specially if your product is visually appealing.
But truly, what are social “likes”? Did that person make a purchase? Can you reach out to that individual directly and propose a sale or a promotional code? Well, I guess you could post a promo (for a price) and people can “like it”; But what's the real purpose behind all this marketing in the first place? To sell a product or service to your ideal client, right? If your website is not tied to a blogging platform of some kind then you are missing out on a HUGE opportunity to actually turn those likes into buying customers.
Here is why…
- A Blog will allow you to share your brand much more extensively than any social network can. A picture may say a thousand words, but one word from you might be what seals brand loyalty from that customer. And brand loyalty is the ultimate residual income. Consider Apple, for example, regardless of how often they launch a faulty product into the marketplace their customers keep coming back. Yes, even if they are paying $800 for a phone. Don't worry, I am not picking on Apple, I have an iPhone. There are many other examples of brand loyalty, including things blowing up all over the place that still keep customers coming back. Blogging allows you to connect, share your knowledge and build credibility.
- Once a person lands on your blog, they can subscribe to your list! A subscriber is worth like a thousand ‘likes' in Facebook. Now you can communicate directly with that subscriber about your events, products, information, etc… without having to pay every time you post a message like we do on Facebook.
- A blog is directly connected to your product shop. Once they are on your site, they are no longer distracted by all the social messaging trying to get their attention and click away (please don't turn your blog into this situation). They are at your shop, distraction free, looking at your content and at your stuff!
- Perhaps most importantly, blogging allows you to create content to generate organic search results. What is an organic search result? An organic search result is when a potential customer types a query on Google search and a link to your website is returned to them by Google. THAT customer is an organic result because you didn't pay to bring them to your website with an ad or a post. They found you on Google on their own because of the content you provided on your blog. Google found your content relevant enough to let that person know you offer exactly what they were looking for. This does require you to write relevant and Google optimized content, but in the long run, enjoying some organic visitors could favorably affect your bottom line, don't you agree?
So when you get your blog set up and you are ready to rock and roll, MAKE SURE you aren't sending your customers right back to social media and away from your bottom line! It is ok to reference those accounts and let them connect with you there, but there is no need to make these links front and center ‘call to action' items. Your entire social media marketing strategy should revolve around getting visitors to your website, turning them into subscribers and then making a sale. Not, getting a like on Facebook.
All that said, could you be successful WITHOUT a blog? Yes, you could. But I think you will be working twice as hard and it will cost you A LOT MORE in the long run when you could be tapping away on the side creating content wroth reading and sharing information with your audience that they really want to read.
Think about this: When someone asks in a group “who do you guys recommend for hosting?” (this is asked at nauseaum inside design groups). One could respond (and most do!) with an affiliate link to their preferred host (boring). Or, one could respond with “I wrote an article on why I chose this provider and their pros and cons”, and add a link to that article. Which do you think will get more click throughs? That's right, the article. And that's because people want information so they can make decisions. They don't want to be sold to so abruptly, specially in social media.
A blog helps you share information which is much easier to share and more broadly accepted. (By the way, this is the article on that host. This was a true story example!).
It is easy to set up a blog! There are lots of video tutorials on YouTube you can watch and almost everyone will show you how for free. But, if you have a thriving business and you are just missing this piece of the puzzle (or maybe you are missing a few pieces), I definitely would not recommend the free route. It is, in my humble opinion, worth the investment to hire a designer to make it work with your brand and make this a seamless experience for your visitors.
And now, go forth and blog!