The social networking sites are excellent ways to market your products and services. Depending on your marketplace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Snapchat, or any of the many thousands of other social networks might be right for you. But for long term marketing success for your business and your personal brand, you need a blog or similar content site that you own.
The problem with social networks is they come and they go. You simply cannot rely on the companies behind social networks to be there forever. And you can’t trust those companies that will be active in the long haul (Facebook comes to mind) to display your content in the years to come in the way you originally intended. Always remember, the social network owns your content, not you.
Your social network of choice could disappear
Late last year it was announced that the social video app Vine will shut down this month. Rats. I used Vine a number of times and found it to be a fun way to share 6-second videos. Many people invested way more time than me, sometimes hundreds of hours creating and curating a social presence on Vine. All that is lost in an instant.
I’m currently updating my book The New Rules of Marketing and PR into a new 6th edition, which will release this summer. Today I did a search on “Vine” and deleted all references to it in the manuscript. I did the same with social media site Hyves that was once number one in the Netherlands and is now defunct.
Blogging is not dead
Many people have said to me: “blogs are dead.” Nonsense. Your blog (or similar informational site with content you own and curate) is never going to go away. If you have a custom URL, it’s your content real estate that you can own forever.
Unlike most social networks, the search engines index content from your blog and that traffic goes to you. For example, every day people are visiting my blog from search engine hits on blog posts I wrote more than a decade ago! How cool is that?!
Your content on most social sites like Facebook and Snapchat simply don’t appear in search engine results. (A notable exception is YouTube, which is owned by Google.)
I think some people react negatively to blogs based simply on the word “blog”. The term sometimes carries negative connotations among people who are hung up with the feeling that this form of content is outdated. This leads to flawed marketing and PR strategic decisions.
If you find in your company that you’re encountering resistance to starting (or maintaining) a blog, perhaps you shouldn’t call it a blog at all. Instead, you could speak with your managers about starting a regularly updated information site or creating ongoing content for your buyers in order to help drive sales. I’d say this renaming could even apply to the links from your main site to your blog. Rather than a link on your homepage to “Our Blog, “ you could link to the name of the blog (without using the actual word blog) or to “Our Industry Commentary.”
Content is content, no matter what it is called. If you are creating valuable information to market your business, don’t let the term blog hold you back.
And don’t put all of your content resources with the social networking companies who can do with it anything they choose.
Image: My grandmother’s Smith Corona Coronet Electric typewriter that she used for many years. I still have some letters she typed to me 35 years ago.