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Corporate blogging & micro-blogging strategies

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In this week’s post, we will look at some blogging strategies that organisations (such as the IGC – International Geological Congress) should adopt to pave the road to success.

Corporate blogging

So first and foremost, why have a corporate blogging presence? Here are some of the reasons why you should:

  1. Provide the platform for organisations and their employees with exposure as thought leaders in their industry/domain
  2. Enhance the visibility of the organisation/build brand awareness
  3. Provide your employees, clients, and prospects a platform for interaction/collaboration to take place
  4. Leveraging blogosphere and search engine technologies to increase the organisation’s findability towards the wider audiences of the internet.

Blogging is a way for organisations to become “less corporate” and put a human face when interacting with current or potential customers. People relate more effectively to other people instead of a logo or corporate brand. Additionally, a corporate blog represents the company’s values and philosophy.

Blogging also facilitates communication with customers in a more personal/informal and direct way but more importantly, blogging provide customers with a much needed channel to interact with the organisation. Customers are able to give comments and potentially provide valuable feedback or insight that will improve the business.

Here are some of the blogging strategies provided by social media experts of the Fortune 500 companies such as Michael Brito, Social Media Strategist at Intel and LaSandra Brill, Manager, Web & Social Media Marketing at Cisco:

1. Find out if blogging is an ideal solution as part of the organisation’s marketing strategy

There are many companies that are lured by the idea of blogging. It is essential to understand the target audience and determine if a blog is a good way of having interaction with them. Conduct some research on the socialsphere to learn what the target audiences generally does online.

2. Form a blogging team

Prior to shortlisting of candidates to form a team, the company needs to determine if the blog will only have one single voice or multiple authors. Cisco, HP, and Intel blogs have various authors. If the company has many products and services in its portfolio, then having a variety of subject matter experts to cover specific topics would be ideal. Brill said:

“We chose a heterogeneous team of experts to make sure we had coverage in all of the areas our customers might be interested in.”

Companies can also select a specific employee to be the sole blogger.

3. Train the bloggers

It is important to train the team on blogging best practices, writing tips, and promotion. At the same time, a corporate social media policy should be put in place to avoid future complications. The bloggers must be aware of the “dos” and “don’ts”.

4. Establish a comment policy

The main objective of setting up a blog is to establish a two-way conversation between the company and its customer. It is important to give readers a share of the pie through commenting as this will forge a closer relationship between both parties. Circumventing that will lose readers. Bloggers and employees should be encouraged to post and respond to comments quickly and effectively in order to keep the dialogue going.

Dealing with foul languages and spams are part and parcel of blogging. Cisco, Intel and HP allow positive and negative comments to be posted. When dealing with negative comments, Brill said:

“Most comments are published within a couple hours including negative comments. Negative comments are handled on a case by case basis – sometimes it is best to sit back and let the others in the community chime in and sometimes clarification maybe needed to set the facts straight. In other cases we engage the commenter directly to understand the negativity.”

5. Marketing the blog

There is no point in having a great blog that will not gain traction. The target audience needs to know of its existence in order to visit it. Brito said:

“It’s about equipping and training the bloggers to participate in the conversations that are happening of the corporate domain. Are they on Twitter, Friendfeed, MyBlogLog and Facebook? Are they spending considerable amount of time building community within these channels and responding to relevant comments? And are these tools talking to each other and pulling in feeds?”

Prior to launching the blog, bloggers can start developing their digital presence and build a network on various social media platforms.

Micro-blogging

Micro-blogs are mini posts or updates that can be sent instantly to blogs. There are a number of services for micro-blogging such as TwitterJaiku and Pownce. Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace also have micro-blogging features embedded in them (status updates). So what’s up with micro-blogging?

Micro-blogging is appealing to people because it is instant and they can send updates on mobile devices, making it more accessible and convenient. Here are some micro-blogging strategies:

Events

The biggest value micro-blogging provide to events are live updates of the events themselves as they unfold so that readers from home will know what is happening at the scene. This experience can be enhanced by combining the updates with Google maps. We can give up-to-the-minute updates to people all across the globe.

Service options

Explore different micro-blogging services. Some of them may be of more relevance to the event planning business and provide greater value. E.g. Pownce offers additional functionality such as file-sharing and event invitations on top of their micro-blogging service. You are able to send e- invitations or tickets to your community.

Customer 101

Using Twitter is a good way interact with your customers and forge closer relationships between company and customer. From a range of enquiries to customer feedback/complaints and technical support, Twitter can do it all.

Additionally,  Twitter can be leveraged to constantly inform your audiences about the traffic situations on route to your events. This is a great way to gain a competitive edge over your competitors.

Final thoughts

Blogging and micro-blogging are closely-knitted. Every interaction you have with someone online (e.g. micro-blogs), should somehow lead them back to your main blog/website. Twitter and micro-blogging excels when you push thought-provoking byte-sized content and link back to resources on your main blog.

A two-pronged attack on both fronts will greatly enhance an organisation’s digital presence and allow high levels of interaction between the intended parties. The online publicity gained from both approaches hand-in-hand will help the organisation to achieve their goals in the foreseeable future.

Here are some links and references:

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