When you get your business blog started, it’s tempting to invest in a custom blog design, theme customization, or other features that will set your business’ blog apart from the rest.
My advice on this is quite simple; DON’T.
Don’t pay anything from a tech or development standpoint to get your blog up and running, particularly before you’ve figured out exactly what you will be blogging about, how your blog will contribute to your business goals, how you plan to convert your readership, and have experience blogging for some time.
There are a huge number of free options
WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr are fantastic blogging platforms, and for basic features, they’re free.
When you’re getting started, don’t feel pressure to invest in something that is beyond your needs. Even free blogging platforms offer vast feature sets and options for customization.
It might take a while to determine your needs
It’s immensely difficult to determine exactly which features are going to be desirable and useful for your blog and to your consumers until you get started and see how it is going to evolve and grow.
Spend time utilizing a free blogging platform so you will better understand which features will be most valuable to invest in when the time is right to customize your blogging experience.
Establish blogging as part of your routine
The number of custom designed blogs I’ve seen that haven’t been updated in over a year is staggering.
Before making a significant investment in you business’ blogging platform, make sure that blogging is going to be something you can sustain, and that will yield real business results. When you do, you’ll better understand your potential ROI and will be able to make informed decisions about your investment.
In time, you might find more cost-effective solutions
Robust developer communities support many of the large blogging CMS platforms. This means there are a huge number of developers and designers who are sharing their themes, templates, designs, plug-ins, and more for affordable rates, and in some cases for free. Chances are that even if you have very specific requirements in mind for the function, format or features of your business blog, that there is probably someone out there who has already developed a low cost solution that you can take advantage of.
Instead of rushing into making decisions about every last detail to do with the design and function of your blog and relaying those to your developer, take your time to see if there are more affordable solutions that you can implement. Chances are, there will be.
At the end of the day, your business blog is all about value
The value you offer consumers with your content should be the focus of your business’ blogging efforts, not the minutia of every little detail of design and functionality.
When you’re just getting started blogging for your business, don’t get caught up in all of the bells and whistles. Instead, focus on producing killer content that is going to build, sustain, engage and provide value to your current and prospective consumers.
Instead of investing heavily in the custom development or design of a blog for your business, invest resources in producing absolutely killer content for your targeted consumers, and promoting that content through relevant channels. The results you will achieve by providing valuable and engaging content will far outweigh the results you can achieve by paying to add the one or two features or design flourishes that you’d ideally like to see on your blog.
Be patient in the short-term and develop blogging to become an integral part of your business’ value proposition. When you’ve gained enough experience to see what works and what doesn’t, you’ll be in a better position to make wise investment decisions for customizing your business’ blog for you, and your consumers’ needs.
What blogging CMS do you use for your business?
If you use a common blogging CMS, what features or limitations would you love to see implemented?
In your experience, what has been the single most valuable aspect of blogging for your business?
It would be great to chat with you about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Photo Credit: Veer
Do you have access to Facebook’s targeting options for your timeline posts on your business or brand Page?
Funnily enough, I’ve found that this feature isn’t enabled by default for many Facebook Pages, which means you may need to make a few adjustments to gain access.
If you don’t have access to Facebook’s timeline post targeting options, no worries.
You can fix this by adjusting your privacy settings. Skip to the step-by-step instructions below for how to adjust your privacy settings to be given access to this powerful feature.
Being able to target an audience for your Facebook updates can be incredibly powerful.
It allows you to create and publish content for your audience with added context, which will make your posts all the more valuable. Also, if you have messaging or content that is only relevant or valuable to a portion of your audience, you can target your updates specifically for them, so as to not spam the rest of your audience and risk dreaded ‘unlikes’.
Targeting your posts is win-win for you and your consumers.
Benefits of targeting your posts include higher engagement and interaction with your content, and your audience will see greater value in the content you provide to them, which can lead to greater brand affinity, loyalty, virality, or stronger purchase intent to list a few.
Currently Facebook allows you to target based on your audience’s gender, relationship status, educational status, interests, age, geographic location, and language.
Following are step-by-step instructions for how to gain access to Facebook’s powerful timeline post targeting options on your business or brand Page:
STEP 1: In the Admin Panel, click on the ‘Edit Page’ drop-down menu
STEP 2: Click ‘Edit Settings’
STEP 3: Ensure you’re on the ‘Manage Permissions’ tab
STEP 4: Check the ‘Post privacy gating’ check box
STEP 5: Click ‘Save Settings’
That’s it! Those few easy steps and you’ve unlocked a whole new world of possibilities for your business or brand on Facebook.
If you have just gained access to Facebook’s targeting options, how do you plan to utilize them?
If you’ve been using Facebook’s targeting options for some time, how have you effectively been using them?
It would be awesome to chat with you about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial, so please don’t be shy to share your thoughts.
The reality of social media and content marketing is such that no matter what business you are in, you are also in the publication business.
Publishing meaningful content is incredibly important for businesses to cultivate, maintain, and grow their business. A strong digital and social media presence can be a deciding factor for many consumers who are increasingly looking to digital and social platforms to assist them with their purchase decisions.
To develop a strong social media and digital presence, it is critical for businesses to create and sustain regular publication calendars.
The regularity that each business publishes content is really dependent on your respective audience and what platform you are publishing on. For some businesses this could mean publishing content several times per day, and for others it could mean once per month, or longer.
Regardless of how frequently you need to publish new content, it is absolutely necessary that you do so with dependability, and that the content you publish is strategically relevant to your business. Creating a publication calendar can assist with both of these things.
Following are a few of the reasons why creating and sustaining a regular publication calendar is imperative:
Keep consumers interested and involved with your business
Think about the websites and blogs that you visit on a daily basis. It’s likely that they’re constantly being updated with interesting content that is relevant to you. If those sites weren’t updated frequently and dependably, you probably wouldn’t have the same interest in them as you do.
When establishing a publication calendar for you your business or brand, ensure that you’re going to be providing new content frequently enough to keep your audience interested, engaged, and coming back for more.
Dominate search results
Search engines index some types of content independently. Blog posts and videos are prime examples of content formats that appear this way.
If your business or brand is producing content in accordance to a regular publication calendar, your business is going to be more likely to dominate search results for your business, industry, category, and related search terms. Ultimately this will lead to greater exposure, an influx of leads, and if you are able to convert, sales.
Feed your content pipeline
This is an obvious one, but still worth mentioning. Creating a publication calendar for your brand will help to keep content creators in your organization organized and focused on producing content on a regular and ongoing basis. This will result in a steady stream of material to feed your content pipeline.
Show consumers that you’re in business!
Have you ever arrived on a business’ website, blog, or social media network to see that their last content update was 7 months ago and thought, ‘I wonder if these guys are even in business anymore’?
Even if you haven’t thought exactly this, it leaves consumers with a negative impression of a business or brand when they appear to an ill-maintained digital or social media property. It can read as a lack of enthusiasm, dedication, or commitment to your business, which are all thoughts you don’t want your consumers to have.
The simple solve is – you guessed it – to create a regular publication calendar and stick with it. If you’re going to be publishing new content relatively infrequently, it might be worthwhile communicating your schedule in a highly visible place such as your ‘About’ page so visitors will understand when they should check back in for new content.
Continuous improvement and provision of value
Another great benefit to creating and maintaining a regular publication calendar is that it will keep you thinking about your business, consumers, category, products, services, innovation, and any number of ways you can provide value to your consumers through social media.
This will force you to stay relevant, to develop and grow the way you think about all aspects of your business, and your consumers will thank you for it by seeing you as a trusted source of value and leader in your category. Results of this can include increased brand affinity, loyalty, strengthened purchase intent, and more.
There are a huge number of benefits that publishing content on a regular and ongoing basis can afford. Creating and executing against a well-crafted publication calendar can help to keep you, your social media team, and social media contributors organized and working to maximize success.
How does a publication calendar help your organization stay organized on social media?
Have you ever had a negative experience from not employing a publication calendar?
What are the greatest benefits that you have experienced from executing against a publication calendar?
It would be great to discuss this with you further in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Real-time social media marketing can be incredibly powerful as it adds elements of context and relevance to your social media content and audience interactions.
The challenge for many organizations is that existing processes can stand in the way of engaging and interacting with audiences in a timely manner. Process by its nature takes time, and virtually strips organizations of being able to act in real-time.
Opportunity identification, legal reviews, running approvals up the ladder, creative ideation, risk assessment, production, organizing and rallying a team to create content are a few of the factors that can grind execution of the best intentions to a halt.
All of these components are important, but to capitalize on real-time opportunities on social media, certain planning and preparation will need to be in place. Also, in some cases, concessions or modifications might need to be made to your organization’s regular processes.
Following are a few suggestions and ideas for how you can prepare your organization to be equipped engage in real-time on social media:
Pre-establish roles and responsibilities
Pre-establishing roles and responsibilities will keep your team organized, focused, and ready to act. When an opportunity is identified you’ll be happy to have your team chosen and roles established so you can get straight to producing something amazing instead of figuring out who’s going to be doing what.
Set guardrails as a team
Consider working with all reviewers and decision makers on a set of guidelines to abide by for any real-time social media marketing efforts. Chances are that there is a fairly well defined set of dos and don’ts that can be applied across the board, regardless of context. If these are set from the get-go, you might be able to reduce, or even eliminate, review timelines down the road.
Organize an expedited process where possible
Getting all decision makers, reviewers, and legal advisers on board with expediting their respective processes to pass a piece of content is of utmost importance. If there are parts of your existing process that just can’t be changed, ensure that everyone involved understands just how critical timing is for real-time marketing to be effective, and perhaps they’ll be able to help with determining how to expedite their contribution to the process.
Create and publish now, apologize later
The fastest way to work through process is simply to eliminate it. Depending on your organization’s tolerance for risk, you may find that the best approach to real-time social media marketing process is to virtually ignore the bottlenecks, publish your content without all previously necessary reviews and approvals, and should anything go awry, work to solve that problem later. Hopefully if you have done due diligence to establish guardrails, you can avoid any issues.
Open your lines of communication
One of the main points of real-time social media marketing is to open the lines of communication between your business and your consumers to carry on a dialogue or conversation in near real-time. To facilitate this, your internal lines of communication will also need to be opened and streamlined. Save yourself precious time by finding opportunities to cut through hierarchy, politics, and any other circumstances that tend to slow or cloud internal communications.
Gain the support of senior leadership
Having someone in a senior leadership position as a strong supporter of your team and efforts will greatly ease your ability to act swiftly and minimize roadblocks. If you are not in a senior leadership position yourself, and need to gain the support of someone who is, try to recruit him or her by demonstrating the value of real-time marketing, and by showing them how it can be executed without spiraling out of control.
In order for real-time social media marketing to be practiced effectively, processes need to be adjusted, and in some cases, recreated. Every business will have unique needs for process, so you’ll need to determine what works best for your organization and adjust accordingly.
What processes does your organization have in place to facilitate real-time social media marketing?
How do you work through process in a timely fashion to allow for real-time social media marketing efforts?
It would be great to chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial