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A new hobby horse: Web 2.0 for community building or growing your business?

Web20 Coming back to a recent article on the Kiss2 blog-site: Calling a spade a spade and some recent blog posts I read from well-known A-list bloggers.

To most bloggers, specially those who are deeply involved in social media communities, a blog should mainly be used to create a community. Conform to the expectations of Web 2.0

As a ‘brick and mortar’ company director and owner of various blog-sites I have a very different idea about what a blog can be. In that recent article mentioned above I consider any accessible entity on the world wide web as a ‘web-presence’, also those created on a blog-platform.

A web-presence build on a blog-platform is an effective marketing tool – a very simple, self-manageable tool that so easy gathers visitors to it – due to its embedded search-engine friendliness – and drives qualified traffic to your (if you have/need one)  ‘static’ website and/or webshop.

For small businesses – be it "brick and mortar" or services – it is not specifically about building a community that Web 2.0 advocates have in mind; it’s about growing your business by building trust.

Building trust by writing articles about your products, services. Written with – if I may be so bold – an educational value in mind: explaining to your web presence visitors in all honesty when, where and why your product/service might be the most suitable for them at that specific moment in time or later.

Educational because that’s what the world-wide-web is used for too: searching for information, specially when looking for new products/services to purchase. Perhaps that’s the most significant reason most ‘surfers’ (or is that a too much out-dated term?) start up their browsers for: looking for information.

And write in all honesty, because that’s nowadays also a very significant feature – if not the most significant for most of us - of the world-wide-web: almost every statement about your product, service you make can be checked against other statements, reviews by users or respected web journalists. Tell a porky nowadays and you’ll be ridiculed/told off/slapped on the wrist/loose credibility in no time at all! There are many global brands out there who know how true – and painful – it is by not taking this aspect of the world-wide-web for granted.

Building trust, because no matter how much information is out there on the world-wide-web, everyone will still look up to the ‘expert’, to the one who turns information into knowledge – and is very willing to share his/her knowledge to all who come looking for it.

And using a blog-platform - that self-manageable, search-engine friendly, simple to set-up, use and edit to your own likings, plus enormously interactive if you choose so – to establish all points mentioned above is IMHO the best ‘invention’ the Web 2.0 brought us as one of the most effective and powerful marketing tools any small business could ask for.

It is a rather low-instep media also. Anyone who is able to create a Word-document can write and publish an article on a blog-platform. A media that doesn’t need extra hosting, specific web-design or HTML-coding knowledge (if you do have those it can only work to your advantage but it is absolutely not a pre), can be edited by yourself without having to spend extra money (and time to explain your ideas to) a web design business.

It’s like using follow-up messages to any of your prospects and existing clients: if you don’t use this honest and effective marketing tool you’re definitely leaving money on the table. In these economical different times perhaps even more than ever.

Yes, I know. This is turning into a kind of ‘hobby horse’ of mine, but as managing director of a small brick & mortar business and owner of 7 blog-sites I see the positive results of using a blog-platform to grow your business on a daily basis.

I definitely plan to write more about this particular ‘hobby horse’ of mine in the near future and have already written other articles on using blogs and webmarketing to grow your business in a simple, effective and honest way. If you like you can pop-in your name and email address in the top right corner to subscriber to the free and ever growing number of articles. They will land in your inbox at regular intervals, so you can learn and use them on your own pace.

Greetings from the 1 plus 1 makes 3 experts

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

Comments

Arthur M. Gallagher

Karin,

I am not sure there is really a major structural difference between the communities that A-list bloggers might talk about and the communities you build on your own blogs.

Your business blogs are your way of linking people with an interest in the market you operate in. You freely publish valuable information with no strings attached because you understand that communities are built on generosity. Of course you focus on topics around specific needs that people might have and that your company can help them with, but you do not force or even coerce people to take your solutions, rather than someone else's - you leave them that choice.

I know that your fundamental motivation is to feed a person's curiosity about their own issues, in the hope that you will one day turn them into a customer, but at least you try and make your prospects as well-informed as you possibly can.

At the end of the day a great number of A-listers earn in relation to the number of readers their blogs have. And there is no reason at all why a community of people talking about the latest buzz in sociopolitical thinking should be any more valid than a community of people who are satisfied that their family lives in a home with beautifully crafted wooden flooring.

More clicks to your bricks :-)
Art

Karin H.

Hi Arthur.

Thanks for you much appreciated comment. I sure agree with you that A-bloggers are valid, my 'problem' with it is that 'non-bloggers' (another strange word) and especially small businesses can't see - or are not able to see - the benefit a 'blog' can have for their business when all they hear is that blogs are for building a community ;-) (instead of a very simple and effective web-tool to provide their prospect with loads of interesting information.)

Karin H.

Martin Malden

Hi Karen,

... and I would add that if you host your own blog you can turn it into what looks like a static site by specifying a static start page.

The blog pages are then set further back in the site but it appears as though it's an entire site complete with blog - which it is.

You can have a static page as your home page, other static sites for product pages and then your blog running as normal.

Blogs, RSS and Google Alerts are also excellent ways of picking up on what people are saying/thinking/writing about your company. As soon as you're notified of a reference to your company anywhere on the web you can pick it up and react to it.

Anyone who's not doing that in their business is losing opportunities to build trust and good will.

Cheers,

Martin.

Karin H.

Exactly Martin (and welcome)

A blogplatform is 'nothing more' than a 'static' web site with a tremendous amount of extra benefits thrown in ;-)

Karin H.

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