Back in June 2006, when I started blogging, there was no competition from other social media channels.
Today, the world's a different place. Competing for attention online is tough. What's a business to do? With limited time and resources, how do you make the most of your communications resources?
Is it enough to post updates to Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+ or do you need a virtual home office aka a company blog?
The Nielsen image that accompanies this post shows the dramatic increase in the number of blogs. According to Nielsen, "blogs are sometimes overlooked as a significant source of online buzz in comparison to social networking sites, yet consumer interest in blogs keeps growing. By the end of 2011, NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company, tracked over 181 million blogs around the world, up from 36 million only five years earlier in 2006."
The blogging community is racially diverse. African Americans are more likely to blog than their white and Hispanic counterparts, according to research from the University of California, Berkeley. On average, about 10 percent of blacks are likely to blog, compared to 6 percent of whites, according to surveys taken during a seven-year period. And that figure steadily rose, with 17 percent of blacks likely to blog in 2008, compared to 9 percent of whites.
So, how do top-ranked small businesses incorporate blogging and social media into their business? Here's a new study that gives insights.
Conducted by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the in-depth and statistically valid study focuses on social media usage in fast-growing corporations. According to the press release, " The fact that blogging had leveled off among the world’s largest and most profitable companies raised questions about the use of this mature tool. This study indicates that there is now support for the proposition that the use of blogging may have peaked as a primary social media tool in the US business world. The new data shows adoption of blogging is declining for the first time since 2007 among the Inc. 500 companies."
Business Blog Study Highlights
- Blogging dropped from 50% in 2010 to 37% in 2011. Yet, 92% of respondents who blog say blogging is a successful tool for them. If you blog, it works.
- Facebook is the most utilized platform of the 2011 Inc. 500 (74%), followed by LinkedIn (73%), Twitter (64%) and YouTube (45%). No surprises here. Where is Google+ though?
- Social media tools support company goals: 90% brand awareness; 88% web traffic; 81% lead generation; 73% customer support programs. How about recruiting?
- More than 80% of companies rated tools as successful with the exception of Foursquare (68%) and MySpace (0%). Wonder how instagram and Pinterest will skew results next year.
- Social media tools rated most successful are message boards/bulletin boards. Isn't this one interesting?
- Overall, 91% of the Inc. 500 use social media to market their brands. Everybody's on the bandwagon now.
In the fall, Technorati will release their 2012 state of the blogosphere report. Here are a few 2011 highlights.
Corporate bloggers make up 8% of the blogosphere. 70% blog to share expertise, 61% to gain professional recognition, and 52% to attract new clients. They have found that blogging has given them greater visibility in their industry (64%) and company (63%). 63% of corporate bloggers use their number of unique visitors to measure success.
13% of the blogosphere is characterized as entrepreneurs, or individuals blogging for a company or organization they own. 84% blog primarily about the industry they work in, with 46% blogging about business and 40% about technology. 76% blog to share expertise; 70% blog to gain professional recognition; and 68% to attract new clients for their business.
For an in-depth reporting of the Technorati 2011 State of the Blogosphere report, listen to a presentation by Technorati CEO Shani Higgins at the PR Summit in San Francisco. Produced by Eric Schwartzman of On the Record Online for Social Media Today, you can download it here.
Most Blogger Outreach Programs Need a PR Makeover
If you're a blogger, or a PR agency, you'll find interesting insights on how to improve your relationship and results. At one point Shani suggests paying bloggers and then asks for a show of hands from agencies who compensate bloggers. "Looks like it's mostly earned media," she says. If you're looking for ways to reach bloggers and influencers more effectively, contact us. Only 36% of bloggers are happy with influencer outreach. We can raise that number for you.
How do blogging and social media impact your business?