Sage Social media and blogging advice for SMEs from the Experts

Mashable’s Jenny van Grove has written this piece, published on OPEN Forum, with advice and tips garnered from the experts at the BlogWorld Expo conference weekend.   Hopefully they will help you to keep your blogging focussed on the ultimate goal of business blogging: increased public awareness and sales.  Click here to read the article in context, or scroll down.


Every year industry thought leaders and well-respected bloggers converge at  BlogWorld Expo for a weekend of insightful discussions and panels around social media and blogging best practices.

Given that there’s a track dedicated to SMEs, and experts constantly roaming the halls, I thought it wise to seek out some of today’s top thinkers and get them to share specific tips and advice for small businesses.

Here is what they had to say:

1. Create a bridge to transactions

Brian Solis
has made a name for himself, in part due to his own social media savvy, but also as a result of his successful PR and new media agency, FutureWorks. Albeit a small business in its own right, Solis’ name and agency have become big on the web, synonymous with great branding, strategy, networking, and even industry events.

As such, Solis knows a thing or two about the secrets to effectively using social media, and his biggest piece of advice for you is to build a bridge between the real-world and the web-world for transactions you can take to the bank. He says, “Online activity has to balance real-world activity. No amount of tweets will create real-world goodwill unless you’re generating it offline. Find creative opportunities to build bridges between the real-world and the web.”

In our conversation he pointed to opportunities made available through applications like Foursquare, and the advantage retailers have in using mobile apps and consumers’ locations to drive new sales. Solis recommends creating actionable activities, like the in-app delivered mobile coupons, that can be distributed via social media and measured.

2. Win in search results

Jason Falls provides public relations and communications consulting to brands big and small, and he shares his knowledge from his years of experience on his business blog, Social Media Explorer. His best advice for small business is to use blogging to win search results and drive more business opportunities online.

Falls believes that small businesses have bigger opportunities than their larger competitors because, “in most cases for small business, they can win search results for targeted keywords with very little effort because their competition isn’t doing it … there’s just not enough people out there doing it right now, which makes it rather easy for you to win search results.”

For those small businesses already blogging, Falls advises that, “as you get more comfortable and experienced, start thinking of customized landing pages for the products and product lines that you sell. You can probably find WordPress plugins that will allow you to do that easily.”

3. Tap into shared mutual gain

As Senior Vice President and Director for Insights of the Digital division at power-house PR firm, Edelman, Steve Rubel’s day to day life involves finding ways to leverage new technologies for marketing communications programs. He’s constantly advising clients to tap into shared mutual gain, which means doing something that isn’t just good for you, but good for your customers. Rubel says to find the shared mutual gain, you must “figure out what customers want online.”

Rubel cites Brita, an Edelman client, and their site, FilterForGood, as a prime example. The basic idea is that Brita launched the side project as a place where consumers could pledge to reduce bottled water waste, but built the site in such a way that it’s not entirely self-serving. In fact, the mission is the focus, with Brita branding nowhere in sight.

If you’re not ready to try that approach, Rubel is also a fan of the hub and spokes methodology. Since it’s getting harder to get people to visit your website, he recommends that you “view your website as a hub, then find all the spokes where stakeholders are spending time and build a relevant presence.”


What do you think? Are you a seasoned blogger? Do you have other tricks to share with businesses that are just getting started? Share your thoughts here!

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