In addition to writing this blog, I also have a large social media presence on Twitter and Google Buzz. Through a survey that I did awhile back, and through simple observation, I can say that my social media presence is responsible for driving a very large portion of my blog readership. (As a new blogger, and as a blogger who lacked a pre-existing subscriber base, social media platforms have been invaluable to me for finding readers and subscribers.)
The fact that social media is so great leads many people to ask: why do you need a blog at all? Aren’t blogs just relics of the 1990s?
The answer is definitely ‘No,’ blogs are not at all displaced by social media tools. Here is how you should think about it:
Your blog is your house. Your social media platforms are the doors and pathways you use to lead people into your house. You can replace “blog” with website if you want, but in that case your website needs to be substantial and compelling enough to draw people in and keep them interested, otherwise you should get a blog to accomplish that.
The bottom line is this: my blog has gotten me a handful of speaking engagements, a handful of new business opportunities, and introductions to many, many interesting people. My social media platforms, on the other hand, have gotten me: blog subscribers. (Hint: I love it when people subscribe to my blog by email; click here to subscribe!)
I am exaggerating slightly to say that my social media platforms only introduce people to my blog, and that from there I interact with new people. I do interact with lots of people on social media platforms. And on some occasions I have made very interesting acquaintanceships only through a social media platform. But for the most part, none of the platforms allow you to engage with someone in a way that is as deep as it is on a blog. Why is that? Because blogging takes effort. Way more effort than creating a Twitter, Google Buzz, LinkedIn or Facebook account. And people respect effort. If you invest the time to create and customize and update a blog, that is a big statement about who you are, and what your priorities are. When people who share your values and priorities find your blog, it is a great opportunity to meet them.
This is why a blog, or another equally substantial online property, is the cornerstone of most successful social media marketing campaigns.
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Will Marlow is a digital strategist/online marketing consultant. He’s the co-creator of AlumniFidelity, which is a Web 2.0 fundraising platform for colleges, nonprofits and secondary schools. He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, and Bowling Green State University and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge. He would love to help you market your business on the Internet, boost the fundraising numbers for your school or nonprofit, or sellout your next big event. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.