Blogchat : Blogs vs. Facebook for business – buy the right house for the right reasons

Last night’s blogchat, a Twitter-based chat hosted by the always-charming Southern gentleman Mack Collier and co-moderated by AdFreak’s David Griner , was about Blogs vs. Facebook for business. And, while there is no one “right” answer to the question at hand, the mere act of seriously considering the question forces a business to know why they are doing what they are doing, so it’s a win from the start.

Ultimately, the answer to Blogs vs. Facebook, or anything vs. anything, is going to be different for every business depending on goals, audiences, available resources and passions. A good portion of last night’s talk was around the resource issue – the fact that blogging requires a huge commitment. If a business isn’t set up for that kind of commitment, Facebook may be a better choice, according to Griner. (Not that Facebook isn’t also a significant commitment. It is, but it can be quicker than blogging.) I agree with this post from Allison Boyer on how blogging is hard and not every business needs a blog. Likewise, IMHO not every business needs a Facebook page. More on that later.

At some point, I shared something in the discussion about how, since 60-80% of visitors to a “typical” corporate blog are first-time visitors, blogging may, for some companies, belong as part of SEO strategy. And, while I do believe that to sometimes be valid, a comment about blogging-as-SEO later in the discussion smacked me upside the head: “Blogging for SEO is like buying a house for the storage.” Ding ding ding. Does blogging positively impact SEO? Hell yes. Should businesses be aware that, depending on what type of business they are, it may or may not be realistic to expect a ton of comments? Hell yes. But blogging for the less functional, higher-level, more participation-driven reasons is going to be inherently more successful. Mind you, I do know this, and I do actively preach this; personally, I blog for fun and comments with total reckless disregard for SEO ; )  But David’s thought crystallized it just beautifully; thanks, David. I promise to credit you every time I steal your line.

Regarding Facebook for business, this is an area where, at least from my vantage point, so many businesses struggle to get engagement going. Does every oil change shop on the planet really need a Facebook page? Every dentist? Does anyone care? How many businesses built fan pages just because everyone else was doing it, with absolutely zero understanding of why they were doing it or how they would interact with their audience once it was built? Gazillions, that’s how many (scientific fact).

Before you start stressing because not enough people are engaging with you on Facebook, and begging or bribing people to be your friends, consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, people just don’t WANT to engage with your type of business on Facebook. No one wants to hear that, but, a lot of companies need to hear it. Sure, sure, If you’re a passion brand – a Harley-Davidson, a Ben & Jerry’s, a local favorite restaurant – be on Facebook. If you’re not, you’re going to have a much tougher time. That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t try, it just means you should be realistic about what to expect from it, and, always, ALWAYS, have a strategy for how you think you’re going to do something that people will care about, interact with, and share. And how you’re going to sustain that over time. Let’s face it. The more irrelevant BS that businesses pump out onto Facebook, the more apathetic users become. So, stop it. And if you do try, try again to engage people on Facebook and still no one cares…well, consider that you may need a different house. With more storage.

The bottom line: For many businesses, a blog is the perfect home. Many businesses live and thrive on Facebook. For many businesses, the two go together like…chocolate and peanut butter. (OK, different, random metaphor, but work with me here. I like chocolate and peanut butter.) Just know what you’re trying to build and how you’re going to do it. If you don’t know how to figure that out, let’s talk.

If you’ve never checked out blogchat (Sunday nights, 8PM Central Time) I can’t recommend it highly enough. So many people participate now that sometimes it’s hard to follow threads. Don’t even bother trying to keep up with every tweet; just pick up what you can. (As a side note, I do wish that people participating would be a little more polite and listen to the moderators before we all jump on with myriad points of view, and sometimes, random tangents that are completely off topic). But, in spite of that, it remains a great group of people to chat with and a great place to mine nuggets of wisdom that might inspire you or give you the perspective of someone else’s very different experience. Which is (almost) always a good thing.

What’s your take on this question? Bring it.

  • Mack Collier

    Hey Sue, I was so happy to see you at #Blogchat last night ;) I’m glad you ‘got’ that we were trying to spell out the advantages and disadvantages of a blog and a Facebook page, to help companies decide which is best for them based on their unique goals and needs.

    The problem for many companies is, and you allude to this in your post, that they let hype drive their decision to be on Facebook more than smart business sense. They believe that since everyone is talking about it, and their competitors are there, that they do too. 2-3 years ago, they were jumping into blogging for the same reasons, and many still do.

    Companies still need to figure out what their goals for Social Media are, as well as who they are trying to reach. It makes little sense to be on any social site if your customers/clients aren’t there today, or won’t be tomorrow. We need more social media adoption by businesses being driven by a sound strategy, rather than hype and buzz.

    Thanks again for joining Sue, hope to see you again next week for OPEN MIC!

    • Sue Spaight

      Hi, Mack : ) Thank you for commenting and the kind words. Blogchat never disappoints, truly. I always meet wonderful smarties and leave with some new wisdom. Hoping I can work it back into my schedule on a regular basis. And hear hear! to everything you said – more sound strategy, fewer shiny objects without a clear purpose.


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