9 Helpful Tips for Business Blogging

It’s one thing to create a blog – it’s another to create a blog that readers want to visit again and again. If you’re serious about using blog hosting to meet your business goals, there are nine tips to follow when developing a business blogging strategy.

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#1: Find a valuable niche

The ideal blog dares to be different. Find a neglected (or new) area of your industry that will appeal to your target audience. Ask yourself, “Will they want to read about this every day?” If the answer is “yes,” you have a great reason to create a blog.

#2: Enjoy yourself

Business blogging should never feel like a chore. When you create a blog because you’re interested in its topic, your readers will appreciate – and even reciprocate – your enthusiasm.

#3: Look at the big picture

While it’s only natural to focus on the products and services you offer, you can also benefit from broadening your scope. For example, if you create a blog for your pet toy store, your target audience may be interested in posts about pet health and nutrition, or even pet rescue programs. Stick with your overall business blogging theme, but explore diverse (yet related) topics.

#4: See what’s out there

Online sources like Technorati® and Google® Blog Search can help you determine how many blogs are currently covering the topics you are considering. You might also want to look at the additional topics these blogs are discussing, which can inspire new ideas of your own.

#5: Network with other bloggers

Connect with other bloggers in your industry by using Technorati®, Google® Blogs, and other social sites to find like-minded bloggers. Once you find relevant blogs, you should bookmark them, comment often, talk with the author, and social tag their blog entries. By building these relationships, you can gain new links to your blog and – ultimately – new readers.

#6: Add media

Blogs don’t have to consist of text alone. Video, images and surveys can all add interest to your blog. Mix the creative media into the text instead of placing it at the top or the bottom.

#7: Encourage interaction

Blogs have a unique ability to encourage conversations and create interaction. A blog with no comments isn’t really a blog – it’s an editorial column or a standard website. Be sure to invite readers to leave comments each time you post.

#8: Keep up the good work

Develop – and stick to – a schedule when you create a blog. Your readers should know when to expect a new post, whether you’re posting every day of the week or on the same day every week.

#9: Don’t give up

It can take months to build a loyal base of readers when you create a blog. Plan to make business blogging a regular part of your communication strategy for at least a year.

When you create a blog for your business, your overall goal should be to attract repeat visitors.

Taken from: http://www.networksolutions.com/education/9-helpful-tips-for-business-blogging/

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Six Social Media No-Nos for Small Business

The number one social media no-no for small businesses is ignoring social media marketing and the enormous potential that it offers. The beauty of social media is it can level the playing field for small businesses allowing them to compete with larger corporations. A recent national study reported 8 out of 10 companies, of all sizes, are using Social Media and planning to expand efforts.

If a business does not have accounts at some of the major social media sites – Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter – then it is missing out on potential sales,  free publicity,  increased brand awareness and traffic to its website. The social media enthusiasm and obvious business missteps are reminiscent of the mid-1990s and the early days of the world wide web when several major web portals were competing for attention.

Regardless of the obvious opportunity, this does not mean that a business should rush into creating mulitiple social media accounts before it knows what its doing and why it is doing it. Avoid the Fire – Ready – Aim approach where you can.

2. Acting without thinking is the number two social media no-no for business. Before creating a social media account, a business should:

  • Decide who is in charge of maintaining and updating the social media account
  • Decide on a marketing strategy (hint: Study what successful people in your field are doing.)
  • Create your company’s written social media communication guidelines/policy and tell your employees about it. Depending upon your company size, coordinate this with HR and Legal.
  • Be customised where you can. Examples: Create a custom-designed Twitter background and decide what avatar the business will use – a logo? A picture of a product? A picture of the owner?

3. The third social media business no-no is being too aggressive and self promoting

Social media marketing requires the soft sell. It’s important to get your marketing message out there and let people know about your upcoming sales, specials, contests, giveaways, promotions, etc., but it’s also important to interact with people on social media sites, have conversations, ask them about themselves and what they’re up to, and offer free advice about your area of expertise, if applicable. (See item 4)

It’s possible to sell yourself without sounding like a salesman. Instead of singing your own praises, talk about your accomplishments and how they helped someone else. Results can speak for themselves.

4. The fourth social media business no-no is being dishonest.

Integrity is required for long term success. Don’t use an avatar of a person that isn’t you, such as a scantily clad model. It makes people instantly suspicious when they see those avatars; they assume that it’s a spam account. Don’t send direct messages, tweets or updates that trick people into clicking on a link, such as saying “This is how I finally started driving traffic to my site!” with a link – which should lead to a blog post, but really leads to a Clickbank product. You will only fool people once.

Be transparent. People are smart. If your company has authorised staff to participate on the company’s behalf; they should say so. Goodwill can be generated if they share tips from their area of expertise in accordance with your communications guidelines for social media communications.

5. The fifth social media business no-no is neglecting your accounts.

Don’t create multiple accounts, then get bored and abandon them all. If you can not update an account – delete it. It creates a bad impression to create an account and then only update it every few months.  It’s worse than not having an account at all. It makes it look like you are a business that isn’t minding it’s store, that it doesn’t have enough personnel to actually run the business. While this may be true, you don’t want to publicise the fact.

6. The sixth social media no-no is breaking the social networking Golden Rule                

Genuine appreciation goes a long way. A largely unwritten rule of community and relationship building is thanking people and extending a helping hand or Tweet to the next person.  This is part of integrity but it is also simple common courtesy.

Taken from: http://kamaron.org/six-social-media-no-nos-small-business