This article was originally published on the Spectrum blog.
If the there was ever a communications business marketing dragon with two identical heads, one brain would be social media oriented while the other would focus solely on blogging. It's the truth. Both forms of online marketing are equally important to the success of any business marketing plan. Although while they can technically serve the same fundamental purpose (client acquisition), they're typically used by businesses in completely different ways.
As of today, it would seem as though blogging has taken a backseat to social media. Facebook, after all, has over a billion active monthly users and with Twitter surpassing the 500 million mark, social media might as well be the end-all when it comes to client communications. Right? Well, not quite.
While the world's most popular social media sites serve as tremendous tools for marketers, business owners must be cognizant of the fact that blogging will still impact existing and current visitors in ways that, while different, are equally beneficial to a company's bottom line. Below I'll breakdown the distinct qualities of each, focusing primarily on the ways in which each platform can (and should) be used to connect, inform and influence your target customers.
Behind Google, Facebook is the #2 most visited website on the planet and Twitter doesn't fall far behind at #10. The popularity, longevity and cost-effectiveness of social media makes it an exceptional marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. Be that as it may, there's a right and a wrong way to use it.
Typically, because there is so much engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc., it would be most beneficial (from a business perspective) to use social media as an information "quick fix" for your customers. For example, if you're a furniture retailer, create short and relevant posts about new models you may have in stock, current specials and other incentives that would prompt your followers to engage with you. Also, given Facebook's latest News Feed update, it's more important than ever to share pictures that are intriguing, beautiful and emotionally stirring -- there's no better way to get a LIKE, retweet or +1.
Although social media is a powerful tool, businesses that have completely thrust all of their resources into it at the expense of a healthy, well-kept blog are missing major opportunities to connect with potential customers. If social media sites are the best place to keep your customers engaged, blogs are the best resource companies have to keep people informed.
A blog is where a business builds authority and reinforces its credibility with potential customers. Rather than posting your company's daily deals or charitable pursuits as you would on social media, a blog should be used to go in-depth about industry-specific topics that are relevant to consumers who are looking for your products or services. If your business is moving and storage, for instance, articles on moving best practices would be a great source of search traffic. Consider this: someone with several pets is preparing for their first move with animals and searches "Tips For Moving With Pets." Your blog pops up. They read it, like it, learn from it, and decide that you're a credible enough company to go with. Furthermore, because a blog lives on your domain, it can be used to drive traffic to pages that are more conversion-oriented after trust and credibility have already been established.