To celebrate our first one hundred blog posts I thought I’d look back on our first 99 posts and figure out why despite some success and failure we’re still persevering with social media.
It was on the 15th of February this year that we first dipped our corporate toe into Social Media.
Our first blog post was something of a naïve placeholder welcoming the world, or at least our clients, partners and potential customers to an insight into our world.
“At last” the world exclaimed, “finally someone is going to provide worthwhile content which shapes the way I think about technology”…. Or so I imagined. That’s not quite how I pictured it, but the vision was one of a portal into our activity with our blog posts being the by-product of what we do with some useful insights into our way of working and thinking.
The truth is that Social media is hard… bloody hard.
The social media universe is vast… absolutely massive in terms of variety, technology, content, format and users. We are scraping at a tiny icicle on the beak of an insignificant penguin standing on the very tip of an iceberg. The trouble is this: the iceberg we are on is one of those massive Antarctic ones that is the size of Belgium and there are millions of penguins catching the same ride and all the shipping traffic are a few thousand miles to the north…. To continue the aquatic theme, we are figurative plankton in a very large ocean. Millions of people have exactly the same goal as us, and most have been doing it quite a lot longer.
Our social media strategy currently uses four channels, but there are huge social media sectors that we simply aren’t tapping. That isn’t because they have been overlooked; we just haven’t dedicated the time and effort to generating appropriate content. Video, audio, podcasts, images and geo-location are not yet on our portfolio simply because they aren’t quite right for us just yet.
LinkedIn is probably the best known of business specific social networking sites. Time and effort here is spent on a personal level with most of our management team active to some degree or other using the site for engaging with personal and business contacts; for asking and answering questions via the various groups and forums; and very recently for recruitment (more on that later this week). We have found LinkedIn to be the most prolific site for time-suckage internally, but we have acquired and fostered genuine business leads and relationships via this site. The idea of LinkedIn being just an online address book is very wide of the mark.
To be honest I am hopeless with Twitter. I am continuing to fail to make a success out of the micro-blogging site. I struggle with the requirement to condense my thoughts into 140 characters. Although my number of tweets is now into the 800s I struggle to acquire and more importantly retain followers. I suppose that’s not the ultimate aim, but it is the most significant key performance indicator. The stream of internal and external spam accompanied by the odd quip is at least broadcast to our 200+ followers. Having said this, Twitter is consistently our number one referring site to our website…. So it’s not all bad news.
We’ve deemed Facebook to be a lower priority with our social media strategy right now. That is largely because we are a business-to-business service provider and Facebook tends to be used by consumers and end users. However it is without question the world’s most significant social media channel right now. This year Facebook overtook Google as being the most visiting website on the planet. Facebook had a film made about it; it is branching into other areas such as email and geo-location; and has the big three of Google, Apple and Microsoft seriously quaking. The whole area of social searching is going to be the hot IT topic of 2011 if you ask me. Here’s the thing: if you want to buy a product or service you will probably currently go to Google for the options and reviews, but next year the go to place for opinion and consumer reviews will be social media. Facebook will be leading that revolution. So we are on Facebook, but with quite different content. We tend to use Facebook as an insight to what goes on behind the scenes at Conduce with photos and social news rather than opinion or business news.
Our Blog is without question our flagship social media portal. It consumes most of our efforts and with one hundred posts is the source of majority of original content. However, if you were to ask what is our return on investment I would have to confess that I haven’t the foggiest idea right now. However the blog has contributed to our business in two vital ways.
It has directly shaped and honed our ethos.
It has allowed us to communicate that ethos and engage with our clients, partners and peers.
It would be inaccurate to state that we have obtained new clients as a direct result of the blog, but it is fair to say that we wouldn’t have won individual contracts and clients without it. The blog has helped to reinforce our credentials, our opinions and cement our authority on a given subject. It allows us to engage with people around the world on all manner of subjects that interest us and importantly gets our name out to a wider world that we probably wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to speak to.
There has been more than the fair share of trial and error with blog posts and some of the more successful posts in terms of visits and comments are not what I would have predicted, but the focus has been sharper over the months, the ability to generate interesting subjects has become easier and the writing style has become more distinctive. We have gone from an organisation that posts content to the website to an organisation where blog posts are sometimes talked about.
In recent weeks we have been invited to talk and engage directly with potential customers and partners purely because of the blog; and in meetings our blog posts has been a talking point which has opened doors to opportunities which wouldn’t have been there without it. We have a saying internally that a good blog post should either “predict or provoke”. We don’t always manage to do that but sometimes we do both. I guess its luck of the draw with some subjects.
The effort put into the blog and other social media channels is only now starting to bear fruit, but the most important lesson to be learned from our first 100 posts is that it is vital to stick at it. Hopefully by our 200th post, that return on investment will be more tangible.
Here are some of the highlights of our first 100 blog posts.
iPhone vs Android App Fight – Most comments to date
Why isn’t MRO Software simpler? – Most talked about to date
Eyjafjallajokull is looking grumpy again – Most visits on a single day
10 Reasons why Fax Machines suck – Most visits to date
To those that have read and commented on our blog and various social media posts:
one hundred thank yous!!
Author: Paul Saunders