The blog: the often-forgotten but awfully useful first step toward becoming social

By Chris Bucholtz

We talk a lot about Social CRM (SCRM) and the potentially complex ways of using it. Sure, there’s value in collecting customer data from social, and from listening to sentiment. It’s very helpful to discover the right conversations and engage with your customers (or customers of competitors). It’s the right thing to do to spot service issues and funnel customers with problems to solutions insider your organization. Really, the list is as long as you imagination.

“But where do I start?” I hear business leaders ask all the time. Actually, many of them whine this. It’s sad, really.

The problem here is that people tend to see SCRM as a collection of new things. It’s not – it’s a collection of things that is growing, but there’s a foundation of aspects that are the same. It did not spring fully formed from Zeus’ head – it’s more like a snowball, rolling down hill and picking up stuff as it goes.

One of the first things it picked up was the blog. The lowly blog – it’s been with us for a while, and it’s often forgotten. Even significant companies have blogs that languish, uncared for and forgotten. I half-expect to see a commercial featuring Sarah McLachlan imploring us to take action to rescue the lost and forgotten blogs. (And yes, that commercial will make you cry.)

But the blog ought not be forgotten. It has a lot of utility – and it’s a great first place to start your social CRM endeavors.

Today, I presented a webinar on topics relating to social media and sales. I used some examples of businesses using social media tools for sales; one of them was the company run by a friend of mine who we’ll call “Roy.” He makes parts for scale model aircraft (which have gone a bit upscale as the buyers have aged, much like model railroading). He’s got the necessities to run a one-man company and to make a living off such a very niche market (website, ecommerce, etc.), but even he’s seen how social media – even social media with training wheels – can pay off.

He publishes to his blog regularly – about products, aviation history, and anything he thinks his customers will be interested in. It helps that he’s as passionate about the subject as his customers (which is probably the secret sauce in all social media efforts for business). He also promotes these new posts on Twitter, Facebook and on subject matter-focused social media channels to help drive traffic to the blog. He also makes sure he responds to comments and encourages conversation.

Because Roy’s business is pretty simple, it’s easy to gauge the effect of these efforts. Here’s a revealing statistic: on days when he posts to his blog, sales are 21% higher than on days when he doesn’t post.

Of course, that doesn’t mean he posts every day – that would be abusing the audience. He posts when he has something to say or is excited about something – and that rubs off on his customers.

So, if you’re struggling to figure out where to start, don’t forget the blog. It may seem old-fashioned (relatively speaking) and it may require a bit of thought to maintain, but if promoted correctly and filled with the right content, it can spur customer conversations, attract prospects and boost sales.

The webinar, by the way, can be viewed here. Take a look!

 

3 thoughts on “The blog: the often-forgotten but awfully useful first step toward becoming social

  1. i read another blog post recently – that made me laugh – I wish I had saved the link now.

    Essentially it said, people who go with no email policy on their web… are just asking for trouble.

    Its the opposite to your post.

    —-
    chris: this is a lesson for sugar.
    the community forum (developer forum) has a problem with access. there is a bug. I cannot log in all the time. its intermittent. so your blog gets the voicing…..

    and if you dont post them..your not being very transparent…
    so your in a catch 22.

    its wednesday, now 5 days, and I still cannot
    – dl the faststack community edition.
    – access the developer forum. Mikhail said he is working on it, but not received any reply > 24hr
    – not received any answers to my questions you flicked to the community manager, John Mertic.

    please help these guys to get focused and get it sorted. or at least update me.

  2. can you please post webinar on youtube so I may dl.
    its old fashion not to be able to DL.

    webinar you link to is:
    Know What Your Prospect Tweeted Before You Meet Them

  3. i think blogs are the no1.
    why?
    they respect each individual’s timing. so respect. so trust builds.

    elaboration:
    the author can post and return comments to their schedule (respectful to author)
    intereasted party can comment to their liking. small snippet or more elaborate if they want more dialogue (sorta like a public email)

    twitter, you cannot do this. its more real-time. for me each of the social media tools suite a different depth of conversation/timing of conversation.

    twitter, great for customer service, help me please now!

    blog, great for insight generation, advancement of undersstanding, key factors.. moving towards strategic sale (strategic sale requirements per Tony Hughes great presentation by Sugar – Evolution of professional Selling or his book Joshua Principle. — fabulous)

    user / expert communities, for grabbing quick sense of what is key issue, what to look out for, what to ask

    rating communities, for seeing the low-dow on quality… of product but more importantly how you will be treated

    vertical communities, for like-minded souls, who really want a juicy dialogue, brainstorm together, create games together — my favourite is gamesforchange. an awesome example of how to enable the individuals to create together than solve BIG PROBLEMS. big problems are like poverty in africa.

    etc…

    —-
    Chris: if you source any reference or info-graphic on using all the various channels and whats best. would love love to see that.

    or perhaps add to your blog: area for info-graphics. that is way cool.
    or perhaps add stumble on to your blog.

    —-
    tonight:
    stumbled on this great info-graphic — Social Customer Service.
    http://www.siliconrepublic.com/new-media/item/28157-customer-service-in-the/

    check-it-out, if your into eService.

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