Why Dropping Your Blog for Facebook is a Bad Idea
Last week I tweeted out a USA Today article with some statistics on why companies are quitting blogging in favor of social media. I’m glad to see companies embracing new technologies, but troubled by their reasons for abandoning blogging — and the possible ramifications of that abandonment.
Why they’re quitting
Companies are falling into the accidental trap created by well-meaning marketers. We say things like “Blogging is free!” and write articles like “Set Up Your Free Blog and Start Blogging in 15 Minutes,” but what doesn’t always come across right away is that blogging (when done right) takes time — lots of it.
Employees get all spun up about blogging, but when they realize that writing articles, moderating and responding to comments, and dealing with various legal issues/red tape takes over their calendar, they quit because it’s too much work.
Secondly, companies quit blogging because they don’t see results. The reasons for this are varied:
- Results aren’t instantaneous. When a company isn’t seeing results and are told that in order to they’ll need to—you guessed it—work more, they’re likely to quit in frustration.
- It’s the wrong content. Blogs should not exist solely to pitch a company’s products and press releases. Companies that blog that way are unsuccessful, and give up.
What they’re doing instead
According to the research cited in the USA Today article, companies like Bank of America have left their blogs to gather dust and moved onto platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
“Blogging requires more investment,” said profession Nora Ganim Barnes. “You need content regularly. And you need to think about the risk of blogging, accepting comments, liability issues, defamation.” Apparently the idea is that social media requires less effort than blogging, and is less risky.
Why this is dangerous
Dropping blogging in favor of social media because the latter is “easier” or “less risky” is the dumbest thing I’ve heard in the last year. If being on social media requires less investment, less content, and less risk, you’re doing it wrong.
What’s more, leaving your blog for social media can be detrimental to your search engine rankings, branding, and business. Moving to social media takes ownership from you and gives it to someone else.
I believe your website should be the hub of your business’ activity. Every radio ad, television spot, tweet, Stumble, and post should funnel visitors directly to your website, which in an ideal world contains even more valuable—and branded!—content that converts them into leads and sales.
If you outsource this activity to Facebook or Twitter, that central hub is gone. The content you post isn’t really yours — plus it has to cut through the noise and distractions every social platform presents. All your content is on a third-party website over which you have little control.
Also, if you aren’t creating your own content, what are you sharing on social media? If you want to do more than promote your products or services, it’s better to share valuable content you have created yourself than content created by someone else.
People may be sharing and re-tweeting your social media content, but if your website is static and dull, it’s unlikely that anyone is linking to it; and because linkbacks are critical to ranking in Google searches, not having any is going to affect your site’s position in search results.
Consistently sharing helpful content on your website is one of the most effective ways of getting backlinks and rising higher on search pages. Google does index individual social media interactions, but those posts do not always present the ideal image of your business. Wouldn’t you prefer that someone who searches for you finds your website homepage or FAQ, and not that Facebook post with the picture of the office cat’s birthday party?
Blogging is social media
Companies tend to split “blogging” and “social media” into two separate buckets, but the truth is that blogging is a cornerstone of social media. Blog posts are your content that brings links back to your website — blog posts should feed your social media activity, not be replaced by it.
As both the Digett blog manager (read: she-beast) and owner of a personal blog, I understand the time blogging takes and the stress it can cause. But the results are worth it, and sometimes you just have to suck it up and try harder.
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