A question we are often asked here at Social Bods is which is better for my business, social media or blogging? I’m afraid that there isn’t a right answer to the social media v blogging question. The only answer really is – it depends -which isn’t much good to you, I know.
It depends on what you do, who your audience is, and what you’re trying to achieve. It depends on what skills and resources you have as a business, and how much budget you have to throw at it. It depends on how confident you feel with social media or blogging.
In an ideal world you would do both. Under the broader umbrella of content marketing, social media marketing and blogging would reinforce and complement each other. For example, the blog content you write would be shared on social media as appropriate; giving you another excuse to get under your audience’s collective nose for the day. Using social media can help you learn your audience’s current pain points and what is interesting them right now, driving your blogging topics.
But we don’t all live in an ideal world with endless resources, so we have to make a decision which is right for our respective businesses.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to engage with your existing audience and to find new fans.
What is blogging?
A blog – short for web log – is like an online diary. But more like a magazine or just a stream of content such as written articles or vlogs (video blogs) or infographics.
Read: Blogging for Business
Here are the pros and cons of social media and blogging. Can you work out where best to spend your time?
Social Media for business:
- Short and sharp
- Connect with audiences in real time
- Easy to use (mostly!)
- Fantastic customer service tool
- Easy for customers and suppliers to engage with you
- Content can ‘go viral’ potentially exposing you to new fans
- Can be short-lived
- The platforms are not owned by you
- Platform algorithms can change at short notice
Blogging for business:
- Suits longer form, in-depth content
- Content is owned by you (depending on where the blog is hosted)
- Blogs on a website improve the SEO quality of that website
- Much longer-lasting
- Can be re-shared in the future – seasonal content can be massively successful
- Can solve customer queries and problems faster and easier reducing their need to take up your time and increasing customer satisfaction
- Content can potentially be found by people who know exactly what they are looking for right now
- Can take more time and effort than social media content
- Requires a knowledge of how to use blogging platforms (or how to update your website)
The main advantages of blogging over social media marketing are that it adds that little bit of extra searchability to your website, is longer lasting, and really allows you to explore a topic to greater depths.
The main advantages of social media marketing is it can be faster and easier to create the content, and you can potentially reach people who didn’t even know they needed your products or services. Saying that, a good blog post which is highly shareable will show your expertise, have a long life, and still get shared to new people.
Both methods allow you to show your expertise and to let your audience know you understand them and their needs. In either case, quality content will always be better than quantity for the sake of it.
What is better – blogging or vlogging?
Another question I have been asked recently is whether blogs are better in the traditional written format or as a ‘vlog’ (video blog). Again the only correct answer is ‘it depends’.
- Google (other search engines are available) can pick up written text within a post – it can’t pick up individual words within a video.
- Written posts can be edited, added to, and updated as information changes.
- Video posts require half-decent recording equipment, although a decent phone will do the job.
- Written posts need skills in spelling and grammar, video posts need good engaging speaking skills.
- Some people are happy to chat to camera, others prefer to ‘hide’ behind text – which are you?
- Video posts are very good at adding a human element to content and show personality
- Written posts are good for including imagery such as infographics.
A good tactic is to do a vlog, and then transcribe the audio into a blog post and then add in any infographics or photographs you want to share, embedding the video within the post. This gives you the advantage of a natural sounding written article, rich in keywords, which search engines are able to crawl and index. Those who like watching video will have the option to watch the video, but those happy to just read can do that.
A word on YouTube
YouTube has the second highest number of online searches (behind Google) and is purely a video hosting and viewing site. If anyone tries to tell you that video is dead, show them YouTube. Millions of videos are watched daily. It is highly searchable and if you’re going to do video, then you really should use YouTube, if only to host it.
In your video descriptions, add keywords and also a link to the corresponding blog post on your website. This will help direct your YouTube audience to your site allowing you to provide extra context. Saying that, there is nothing wrong with using YouTube and nothing else to blog/vlog.
Know your audience
Whether your audience prefers to consume social media, blog posts, or vlogs, only you know. Have your audience in mind when you create a content plan, and for every single piece of content that you produce. Whether someone prefers to read a blog article, watch a video, or find something entertaining on your social media feed is a very personal thing.
Understanding your own audience is an extremely powerful tool which will help in many aspects of your business. Check your stats and speak to your audience from time to time.
- Do you get more viewers on your videos than readers of your articles?
- Are people more likely to visit your website and buy from you after reading an article or watching a video? – the answer to this will lie in your website’s analytics
- How much does each minute spent on producing video add to your bottom line, compared to writing an article, or posting something fun on Facebook?
What’s the verdict – social media v blogging?
Here at Social Bods, we love social media. It’s what we do. But we understand that using social media alone isn’t going to attract the sort of audience that each and every business needs. In fact, we do our own blogging (almost) as much as we ‘do’ our own social media marketing. The difference for us is simple;- blogging takes longer so if we have a spare couple of hours we will create more in-depth content that will last longer. If we have a spare ten minutes, we will top up our Twitter feed or create a couple of nice things to share later on Instagram.
If you’re not convinced that you should give blogging a try in engaging with your existing followers or attracting new ones, then think about why you are here, on our latest blog post, right now. Social media may have brought you here, or Google may have; either way, you’re here and you’re reading and you’re thinking that maybe Social Bods could be the social media marketing agency for you.
What do you use to attract new people to your business?
Joanne Brady is chief bod at Social Bods. Her specialist topics are technology, business, travel, and transport. She is a busy mum and in her spare time she…just kidding, she doesn’t have spare time.
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