I've had the opportunity to sit through my fair share of presentations on social media and how it could/should be integrated into companies' communications mix. Over the last year I've heard a disturbing number of people say they've nixed their blogs, and sometimes whole websites, and concentrated solely on their Facebook presence. What's the disturbing number? At least one and that's one too many.
If I were to delve into all the reasons why this is a bad idea I'd be writing a 10,000 word treatise, so let me just point to one reason I think blogs still have a place in every company's communication toolbox. It's a case study from right here in the Piedmont Triad as related by Matt Evans at the Triad Business Journal:
Kestler recently took a trip to visit some of those suppliers, and posted a photo of his trip on the company's Facebook page.
Then came the invective – the company’s page was inundated with ugly and obscene comments that questioned Kestler's patriotism. The photo had to be removed from the Facebook page.
But Kestler didn’t want to leave it at that, and composed a blog post responding to the comments. In it, he traces his family roots back to the Revolutionary War and talks about his company’s history of paying above-average wages and providing good benefits to workers.
To me this case highlights the best that blogs have to offer – they're a great way to have a "conversation" with customers that's more than one or two sentences (or 140 characters) in the comments field of an almost ethereal digital environment (Facebook). With a blog you can provide the kind of context that doesn't work well on Facebook, and more importantly you own it so you can make sure that what you write appears as you want it to. Even better you can invite comments from your customers and retain the ability to review them before they go live on your site – this helps you keep the invective down and prevent the conversation from spiraling out of control. Does this mean you prevent all negative comments from appearing? Absolutely not! Rather, you simply prevent name calling or pointless diatribes from hijacking the conversation. Good luck pulling that off on Facebook.
Sure Facebook's an important place to be these days, but it's far from the only game in town, or from being the most important for your business.