Have you tried ‘traditional blogging’ and find that you struggle for the time to plan it properly, never mind write a post? Do you slave away creating a masterpiece, but struggle to make an impact? This article addresses this and explains how a simple status update can have a big impact for a small business.
You have this blog. You decided it was a good idea when you developed your website, so you added it. You’ve written a few posts and got a few comments, but not set the world alight with traffic and massive discussions. You sometimes wonder why you bother.
Don’t stress. You’re not the only one. In fact, I’ve been finding it a chore lately (yes, I am human too) which is partly why I’ve written this post.
Small fish in a big social pond
Since social platforms started and grew in popularity, the opportunity to communicate with a big audience has grown massively for someone working on their own with no money to spend. It’s cost me nothing but time to build up to over 1500 followers on Twitter, so I now have a captive audience to communicate to. Not that it’s a numbers game, of course.
So what is microblogging?
Microblogging essentially involves using a status update to communicate a message, give information or stimulate online conversations. It’s a chance to show expertise, personality and generosity in the form of a 140 character tweet, Facebook status update on your page or a LinkedIn status. It’s limited in the amount of space you have, but you can be creative about how you use this limited space.
Ideas for microblog content
Tips – every Monday I tweet 5 tips on a specific subject. For instance, last week it was creating a stand-out business card and this week it was about making the most of your Twitter bio. This doesn’t just happen as a normal status update, I add that little bit more by using a hashtag. A hashtag allows you to group tweets into a category. This means that throughout the day and for the next week, people can catch up on the tips they missed in their Twitter stream by typing #mymarketingmonday into the search bar. Every week I get responses, retweets and favourites on these tips – last week I had 16 retweets. I also post them on LinkedIn and get comments on there.
Links – here’s a great opportunity to post links to ‘bigger’ content, such as useful articles, videos or blog posts that might interest you audience. In addition, you can comment in your status, giving your take on the subject or inviting discussion. You can use newsfeeds to find content that will interest your followers and post the links – it doesn’t have to be your own content (but it helps).
Discussions – if you use a hashtag, you can invite people to ‘join’ you on it at a certain time for a discussion. This can be on a topic of your choice either as a simple discussion, or as a clinic. This can also be done on Facebook where it’s possible to go into more detail, as you have more characters to play with. Taking it slightly further, and perhaps slightly outside microblogging, you can also start a discussion on LinkedIn within a group you’re a member of. All of these uses are a great way to show expertise, appear helpful and get some useful feedback.
There are other ways to use your status update, such as the simple friendly ‘hello’, interacting and replying to people, asking a question or giving useful information on an event, for instance.
Some useful tools for microblogging
Seesmic.com – a great tool for posting your microblogging content across multiple social platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Tumblr. Be aware though of the character limit and think about how your content might appear to each audience. Is Facebook too chatty for LinkedIn, for example?
Storify – if you’ve done a tips series with a hashtag, this content expires after a week on Twitter. What Storify can do is pull together your tips into one story so that people can see a digest of those tips all together. This tool works across social platforms and you can pull in content from other users to develop a balanced view of a subject and then publish it to your followers.
Buffer – if you want to be efficient with your tweeting or Facebooking, Buffer works out when most of your followers and likers are online and will schedule your updates to post at the 4 key times of day, on specific days you select. The best thing about it is that you get really useful stats that show what types of post and times get the most clicks, mentions, retweets and favourites. The Buffer button that you can add to your browser makes posting and ‘buffering’ content really quick and easy too.
Hootsuite – if you specifically want to schedule Tweets, Hootsuite is the best one I’ve come across. It lets you set the time and date and post to different social media accounts.
Don’t abandon your blog!
Now I’m not saying to abandon your blog. Far from it. It’s a great way to keep your site’s content continually up to date and with the right keywords you can build overall traffic. What I’m saying is that using microblogging may suit you and your audience better. By all means, use it to link to your blog posts – that might be the best way to drive traffic to your site.
Look at the time you have. Look at the audience you have. If you only have time to blog once a month, that’s fine. In between you can be building credibility on social networks and engaging with the people you want to have conversations about your business. Now that’s the result you want to be aiming for.
Your call to action
So, why not give some of the tips and tools a go? Do you prefer microblogging? Do you have your own useful tools to add to my list? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below.
Until next time…