Let me guess..
You’re completely confused.
You’ve read the hype about online marketing, especially social media marketing.
Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube.
The whole world and his mother has heard about “having a conversation with a brand”.
You’re probably frustrated too.
Because it seems you can’t get any traction.
Social media is noisy, and your voice is drowned out and ignored.
Does it ever feel that you have walked into a big rowdy party, stone cold sober, and know nobody?
Imagine having a plan to grow your business online, a systematic plan that you know works. With simple, easy to do steps, which only requires some smart focus and consistent effort.
By the time you get to the end of this piece, that’s exactly what you’ll have.
The problem with relying solely on social media marketing
The big problem with social media marketing is the sheer volume of noise. Just take a look at your Twitter stream and you’ll see what I mean.
It’s practically impossible to get noticed.
And there’s another big problem.
Social media properties are not your properties-you’re a cybersquatter.
Staking a claim on somebody else’s property. If you’re Irish, you will know all about being a tenant.
And you are completely at the mercy of the whims of Facebook, Twitter, and the other powerhouses of social media who, understandably, have to satisfy their shareholders on Wall Street.
What happens is that the rules change, completely out of the blue most times, and there’s not a single thing you can do about it.
Just take a look at Facebook now and you’ll see that since they changed the rules about who sees what you share in January, 2015 about 10% of your fans see your stuff.
If you want the other 90% to see, you have to pay.
Imagine spending all that time building up fans on Facebook, year after year, and now you can only reach between 10-15% of them, unless you break out the credit card.
Twitter is heading the same way, and if you think about it, it makes sense. These platforms are not charities, and they have to make a profit.
Why blogging works
Blogging works because to grow your business online, you need to become an authority in your field. A blog with good content allows you to demonstrate that authority.
To sell online, you also need to build a “know, like, and trust factor” with your potential clients/customers.
And to do that you need to start a conversation with them.
Makes sense, right?
A blog is a great conversation starter and allows you to develop a relationship with your readers.
And this relationship can be further developed through email marketing.
Building your list, a list of subscribers to your blog, is probably the best reason of all for starting and running your own web property.
Your blog, of course, can, and should, be your own property too-you decide on the content you create and you make the rules.
No more worrying about Facebook changing the rules again.
What you can learn from the world’s leading social media gurus about blogging
The leading social media experts in the world-Chris Brogan, Mari Smith, Michael Hyatt, Michael Stelzner, Ann Handley, Peg Fitzpatrick, Jay Baer, Laura Fitton- are all agreed on one thing.
The best asset you can build online is an email list-a list of subscribers.
And the best way to build this list is on your own blog.
So, these social media “gurus” have, as their primary goal, getting you onto their email list.
Ignore the irony here for a minute.
They know this gives them the opportunity to build a real relationship with you, and not have to worry about trying to communicate with you in a noisy environment like a Twitter stream of Facebook feed.
This is the power of email marketing-your subscriber has opted in to receiving your messages into their email inbox. Then you don’t have to compete with all the other distractions in people’s Twitter or Facebook feeds.
How to get started
You can actually start a blog for free. WordPress.com, Typepad.com, and Blogger.com all offer free blogging platforms.
But they are probably not the best option for you, because you may still have the problem of building your web property on someone else’s platform.
The sharecropper syndrome.
The best option is to get your own hosting account and set up your own blog on this account. LetsHost.ie is who I use and can recommend them highly. A hosting plan starts at 7.95 euros per months so there is no excuse for not taking and maintaining control of your own web property-your blog.
What to write about
What questions are your potential clients asking? How can you serve your market? How can you provide value and demonstrate your expertise and authority?
What frequently asked questions arise repeatedly in your market?
What can you or your business do to make life easier for your potential clients?
What have you done in the past for your clients?
Have you case studies you can share?
What new developments have occurred in your market in the last 12 months? What’s expected to occur in the future?
There are 3 types of posts which people love and which are incredibly, consistently popular:
- short list type posts
- long list type posts
- how to type posts.
So, let’s assume you are an accountant or tax advisor. You could write
- 3 Costly Mistakes All Small Businesses Make in their Tax Returns
- 21 Critical Considerations When Choosing an Accountant
- How to Register a New Employee With the Revenue Commissioners
The art of blogging
I’ve written before about how blogging has been a monumental part of my growing my solicitor’s practice.
Quite frankly, it couldn’t have happened without blogging. And, funnily enough, it all started by accident.
I actually only started my first blog to have an easy to reference place to store my Law Society lecture notes, and as a study aid.
But the traffic that naturally began to come to the blog soon startled me awake to the potential if I really dug into it, studied what other leading bloggers were doing, and leveraged it.
You can too.
It’s not too late.
Not by a long shot.
Arguably, as social media channels become busier, more crowded, and noisy as a Moroccan street market, there is an even stronger argument for using blogging at the centre of your online activity.
So, what’s holding you back?
Write your first blog.
And most of all? Have fun.
I’d love to hear why you haven’t started, or if you have, what problems you’re having.