Hay There! We’ve all heard the expression and learned this lesson in life, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” The same rule applies to leveraging social media for your small business.
I swung by a local retail shop this week and as I was checking out, I had a short conversation with the owner about social media…I wanted to gain some quick insight from him on how his business was using this marketing method. We got to talking about Facebook in particular and he shared with me that the store uses Facebook (& Facebook alone) to let customers know when new product comes in. He said he felt good about the store’s “Facebook following” and I commended him for taking the overall initiative to leverage social media as a communication tool.
I was happy to hear that this owner is not choosing to ignore social media and has at least taken a small step towards communicating with his audience through this vital medium. However, like this owner, many small business owners are just scratching the surface of how to effectively leverage social media. While “Facebook” is the most commonly used word in “social media marketing talk”, it is just one piece to a larger effective social media strategy.
In my other posts, I have talked about the importance of having a blog as the hub of your social media strategy. The concept of blogging for your business (large or small) is not something that I came up with, it is absolutely a “best practice” common in the social media marketing space. Based on this small business owner’s sole use of Facebook, I see that blogging for his small business may not be something he is prepared for. This could be for many reasons. There might be confusion on what a blog actually is and how its different from a static website. It might be confusing to understand how all of one’s social profiles should tie back into your blog…it might be confusing to learn how to create content and what the practice of blogging actually entails. Blogging is a powerful marketing initiative, not a small, one-time task.
The point I want to make in this post today is that if you are not interested in blogging for your small business for any other reason, then you should consider blogging as a means to “diversify” your online presence. If you use Facebook and Twitter in addition to blogging for example, then your social media presence is diversified and you protect your social presence by not putting all of your social media eggs into one profile basket. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are communication channels while your blog serves as actual representation of your small business online. (Not to mention, there are many limitations to the quality of information you can distribute with a profile account alone rather than an active blog…but that’s another post )
Allow me to illustrate the point… I received a Facebook message on my wall from my friend & Top Chef contestant, Chef John Somerville, about how much he loved his iPad with a link for me to click. The post seemed to be as authentic as could be, however, a red flag went up because 99% of the time I talk to Chef John, its about his food & culinary expertise…not technology or iPads. So I sent him a direct message and asked if he had posted to my wall. He said no and wondered if his Facebook account had been hacked which resulted in a “spam post” from his account.
My friend and video blogger, Casey Zeman, frequently references the time he experienced a social profile disaster when his YouTube account was hacked. As a video blogger, his time, talent and effort was all channeled through his valuable catalog of video uploads to YouTube. Casey is an active blogger so he did have a central blog location online where everyone could interact and learn from him– he’s a total pro and his YouTube channel wasn’t his only online connection to his audience.
Think about the implications of these scenarios. If you are a small business running a Facebook page only or if you just have a YouTube video account without any hub or blog to tie all of your profiles back together, then you have put all of your eggs in one basket. Your time, effort and entire social “following” could be compromised if something ever changes with that individual platform…or worse, if its hacked into.
By having a blog, you are compiling a story about your business in one place over time in one larger, concentrated location. You are cataloging content for the long-term about your business’ products and services that can provide valuable information to your customers. You could rest assured that you have a collection of your video and written content in one place that you own, where you call the shots and aren’t forced to rely on a free profile account.
If your business’ Facebook account went away today or your YouTube account was hacked in a month, wouldn’t it be a lot less stressful if you had an active blog for your small business?
I am not saying that a blog is a completely foolproof way to protect yourself from ever being hacked. In fact, since these individual profiles augment your blog content, you want to proactively safeguard those accounts. (Casey Zeman gives the priceless advice that you should back up your Facebook contacts through Yahoo and actively use two YouTube accounts.) I simply want to point out that when you blog, your social media presence has a more potent hub instead of just a Facebook page. By blogging, you are taking smart actions to diversify your online presence while positioning yourself to effectively leverage social media marketing.
Do you want to blog for your small business? If you haven’t started, what is holding you back?
If you have been blogging, do you feel it’s a vital presence over a Facebook page alone? We’d love to hear from you!
If this post can help a small business owner you know, I would love for you to please share or tweet it along with the buttons above!
~Emily A. Hay