Bringing Your Blog Back into the Marketing Fold
So you're a social media marketing rockstar. You manage your Facebook Page with style and grace. You have your fingers in all kinds of social media ad formats and you're really good at optimizing your Page Post Ads on Facebook. And, of course, you know how to measure every social media action out there -- from Tweets to Likes to Pins.
But what about your company blog? You know, that thing you used to update regularly before there were Facebook Pages. That section of your site that's been relegated to sporadic updates of company news.
Where does your blog figure into all of this? Because it should figure front-and-center in your social media strategy, and if it's doesn't, it's time to bring it back into the marketing fold and use it to generate both leads and customer engagement.
Anchoring Social Marketing with Your Blog
So if social marketing is all about engaging users where they already are (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), where is your blog supposed to fit into the picture? Well, the truth is that it should be anchoring it.
Think in terms of a hub & spoke social media marketing model. Your blog is your content hub and third-party social channels are spokes: you push content out from your blog our through the spokes and traffic and engagement funnel down those spokes to your blog and ultimately to your site.
Hub & Spoke Social Media Model
Credit: Business Casual Blog
Basically, no matter what kind of content you might produce, it should be represented on the blog somehow. Either it’s a blog post, or a blog post plugging some other kind of content — whether it be a video, a whitepaper, etc.
This way, your can actually “build equity” with you social content because you’re producing content that you’ll always have. So whereas that Facebook Post (or Survey) or Tweet gets buried in the timeline (and is long dead after a week), something published on your blog is something that will continue to (1) rank and (2) attract engagement such as Likes, Tweets, and Pins.
Reinvesting in Blogging
Of course, this all sounds good in theory, right? But how are you supposed to justify the costs of investing in producing content and updating your blog on a regular basis? Well, why don't you take a cue from other marketers?
According to Hubspot's State of Inbound Marketing 2012, not only are marketers investing more in blogging, but blogging has the potential to outperform many other channels. For starters, in the last three years, what marketers invest in blogging has nearly tripled.
Credit: Hubspot State of Inbound Marketing 2012
Granted, "nearly tripled" doesn't tell us very much. For all you know, that could just mean marketers have gone from updating their blog once a month to three times of month.
So how do you know what you're supposed to invest in your blog? Well, think about what you're investing in other channels (and how they're performing), and take it from there.
Credit: Hubspot State of Inbound Marketing 2012
Indeed, according to Hubspot, when it comes to lead generation, blogs actually (slightly) out-perform channels such as Facebook and Twitter. And this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. After all, when we go on social networks, we don't go on there to shop. We go on there to socialize.
So while a Page Post on Facebook (for example) might engage us along the lines of a Like or a Share or a comment, we remain within the Facebook ecosystem (withint the social network). A link to an engaging and/or entertaining blog post, however, might generate a click-through, which will take us outside the ecosystem and onto your site.
This is a big and important step in the conversion funnel because it takes us from mere brand awareness to actual engagement.
Add to this that your blog content is something that will continue to rank and attract traffic on medium-to-long-tail keywords, and you have a solid and reliable piece of the social media puzzle or pie or mosaic.
Don't Forget: Content is King
Be a king of your domain...
One quick and important caveat about using your blog to anchor your social media strategy: it can't suck.
Just like your Facebook Page and Page Post Ads and Tweets have to be fun and/or informative and/or engaging, so does your blog content. For example, if your Facebook Page's Edgerank is already high and you start posting links to content that's flat or (worse) salesy, you're just going to compromise all the equity and trust you've built up with you Facebook Fans.
So if you do take that last chart at face value, and start investing in your blog as much as you do in Facebook and Twitter, then spend that budget wisely. Go for quality over quantity.
Rather than hiring some copywriting monkeys to constantly update your blog with 250 word posts about your products and services, use that money to develop content that's actually going to engage the users you want to reach. Delve into the expertise of your team and mine your database to come up with content like infographics, how-to's and tutorials -- the stuff that users will actually find helpful and interesting, because that's the stuff that's really going to (1) go viral, but more importantly (2) reinforce your brand's trustworthiness and credibility.
There is no golden rule to how frequently your blog should be updated. There is only the rule that it should be updated, and when you do, it should be something that your customers or clients are actually going to be interested in -- otherwise, you're just spending money on talking about how much you like yourself.