Blah, Blah, Blog… What’s the Big Deal?

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There’s something I really like about writing a blog about blogging. We’re always told the best leaders lead by example, so it just seems fitting I should carve out a little time to write a blog about blogging.

My clients ask me all the time if I think they should start a blog for their business. Most of the time they rattle off a litany of reasons why they can’t, or haven’t yet. The number one reason most people don’t start a blog for their business is that they simply feel like they don’t have the time, and if there’s anything I really understand about running a business on top of everything else we do in the world, it’s definitely that feeling that there’s never enough time.

Just like everything else you do for your business and personal life, finding time to write a blog is all about sensible scheduling, reasonable expectations, and responsible deadlines. But why should you even consider doing it...?

Value & Insight
I like to think about blogging as both a way for me to focus my thoughts and insights, hone my skills, and reflect intentionally on the work I do; and a way I can provide real value to my clients and community.

Your business is constantly jockeying for attention from loyal customers, and working to build an engaged and active audience. The more value and insight you can provide for what is basically free, the more likely you are to build and retain an enthusiastic customer base.

Blogging is a way for you to differentiate your business from all the others. It’s where you can express your own personality, share valuable insights and information with a community that is interested in what you have to offer, and distinguish yourself as knowledgeable and experienced.

· Attract and Excite Your Audience
· Express Your Personality and Share Your Expertise
· Provide Real Insight and Value

Blogs aren’t limited to simply writing. The most dynamic blogs include photos, videos, links to specific pages on your website, or other social media platforms. The more you can do to keep your audience engaged, and provide access to insights and information they’re not finding elsewhere, the more they’ll come to rely on you and share your blog with a wider audience.

Social Media Content
Blogging for your business also provides you with ready-made content for other social media platforms. Writing a blog post once or twice a month should be a key part of your overall content marketing and social media strategy, and it’s a great way to drive traffic to and from all of your online venues.

New and relevant blog posts provide content and targeted destinations for email marketing campaigns, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts. All your social media postings should include links to your various other social media outlets, websites, and related blog posts. It’s like a shell game, except that under every shell there’s more interesting and illuminating information, and it keeps people and search engines interested and engaged in your business.

SEO & Google
Sometimes you just have to the feed the beast, and this beast loves valuable, relevant content. Google and other search engines are constantly scouring the internet and your website for new and dynamic content. Static, stand-alone websites that haven’t been updated in years, fall off a proverbial cliff when it comes to search engine ranking.

Blogging is an exceptional way to keep your website and other social media platforms active and attractive to search engines. Any new strategic content, text, videos, images, links you post, all work to attract search engines back to your website where they review your site and increase your ranking.

Make the Time
Make your blog a part of your business, or more importantly, a part of your business’ marketing strategy. Blogging shouldn’t be a chore, it should be more of an opportunity once or twice a month to sit down for an hour and focus your attention on something specific and interesting about the work you’re doing.

Don’t worry about length. Short blog posts with a couple of images and links are sometimes even better than longer posts that delve deeper into a particular topic. Use your blog to answer common questions you’re hearing from your clients and customers. Highlight new trends in your industry, or offer compelling solutions to your customers’ ‘pain points;’ they’re looking for answers, you just have to provide them, and blogging is a great way to do just that.

Blog social with 802Social, we’re spreading the word!

“Hustle” – Welcome to my word for 2018!

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hus·tle /ˈhəsəl/ (verb) 1. the courage, confidence, self-belief, and self-determination to go out there and work it out until you find the opportunities you want in life. (urbandictionary.com)

 The last two internet-fueled mega-decades of innovation and independence spawned what some people are calling the “side-hustle generation;” a near millennial obsession, if not an art of instinctual necessity. In this context, the “hustle” implies an almost deceptive stealth, as if the thousands stitching success together on Etsy while driving an Uber to tidy up their Airbnb were somehow pulling a fast one on everyone, but that’s not the way I see it.

A Different Kind of Year

2017 was a different kind of year for 802Social. I spent a lot more time working directly on my business, more so than ever before, slowly shifting the side-hustle to the main event, and I’ve been doing that through sheer dedication and tenacity. Even so, I've still only just started to scratch the surface of what I want to do, and what 802Social is poised to become.

·       Leaving a job after 16 years

·       Starting your own business

·       Being your own boss for the first time

·       Developing time management skills and the knowledge to successfully
run a business while raising a family

·       Pitching yourself to prospective clients

·       Closing the deals

·       Being successful with each client

Any of this sound familiar? All of it took serious hustle and determination. Not the “side-hustle” kind of hustle, the dogged, determined, confident courageous kind, the kind 2018 is made of.

The Cobbler Has No Shoes

At times, I feel very much like the cobbler in that old saying. I work so hard for my clients every day that I sometimes I forget one of the most important clients of all –  802Social!

A cobbler can’t “walk the walk” without shoes, that seems obvious enough. For 802Social to “walk the walk,” I’m starting off with committing to the conversation: 2018 will see at least one blog post per month, putting the social back in the 802.

I’m working on my list of ideas now, so if you have any questions or ideas you would like for me to explore regarding social media, send me a message.

Also, if you’re not seeing that one blog per month, feel free to call me out! :) Sometimes that hustle needs a little a kick in the pants.

I Want More!

The world of social media means surrounding yourself with inspirational people doing inspirational things all over the place, and sharing your inspiration with them. That’s a lot of inspiration! Courage, confidence, and self-determination got me where I am today, but today is not the destination.

Social media hangs its hat on the “call to action.” Laying yourself bare and putting your personal, financial, business and strategic goals out for the world to see can be downright terrifying, but it can also be the best way to rally your hustle and call yourself to action, so that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I want more, 2018! And, I’m coming to get it!

Hustle with 802Social, we’re going places!

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Creative Content – Going Viral

If you don’t cover your mouth when you sneeze, you won’t necessarily give everyone you come into contact with that nasty cold, but if you did, if every time you sneezed, or tweeted, or posted to Instagram or Facebook, someone shared that link with another person, and then that share led to three more shares and so on, your sneeze, or your post, will have gone viral.

Creating the most contagious, exponential social media content is unlike any viral epidemic in two important ways:

  • Viral social media content has a very short lifespan, so make it count.
  • While viruses have a life of their own, you need to create content that is compelling enough to go viral.

Viral Ecology
For you to be the most successful at consistently creating social media content that goes viral, and gets your name and brand out there in front of the most people possible, you need to understand what the social media landscape is looking for, and when.

Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of Business, Jonah Berger, who specializes in what makes content go viral, highlights three key points:

  1. Positive content is far more likely to go viral than negative content.
  2. Content that evokes authentic emotions like awe, surprise, anger, fear, lust or empathy is more likely to go viral than content devoid of emotional context.
  3. Practical content that is useful to people is much more likely to be shared.

Getting the pulse of the social media landscape is less about trying to absorb everything that is being posted and shared, and more about what is being shared the most, what is “trending,” and why.

Practical Insights
The day-to-day running of your business means that you’re likely to find yourself out of the loop way more often than you’re in it; so how are you supposed to get any insight into where the social media landscape is trending, and where you should focus your energy if you want your message to inspire people and spread like wildfire?

My experience tells me you should focus on two things to be most successful: practical content, and realistic action steps. Make it easy for your audience to quickly see the value in what you’re offering, and then offer them a painless way to put that into action in their own lives, get involved, or share more widely.

Online petitions are a great example of how this works really well, evoking authentic emotions at the same time. It doesn’t matter if the petition is political or not, right or left, but when you’re asking someone to assert their opinion on a certain topic, stand up and be counted, they are very likely to do so in part because you’ve inspired an emotional relationship to the action, and you’ve provided a very simple way for them to get involved.

Teach, Provoke, Inspire, Interact, and Engage!
Going viral is the brass ring of the social media circus, and for the billions of posts that go live every day, a very small percentage will achieve viral status.

What Jonah Berger calls the “Virality of Online Content,” is defined in part by those posts that provoke or inspire high-arousal emotions, provide practical tools and actions, surprise people with unexpected and useful information, and engage people beyond the few seconds it takes to scroll through the page.

Take a minute to really look at what’s trending and see what those things have in common with each other. Look for trends specific to your industry and see where people have been able to distinguish themselves from the masses. And lastly, take a good look at what it is that you do that arouses real emotion, engages people, and offers them something they may not be getting anywhere else.

With all that in mind, I’d still recommend covering your mouth when you sneeze, but sneeze as loud, as emotional, and as inspiring as you can when your posting to social media.