For me, a big part of the day entails speaking with business owners of the commercial value of a small business blog and of social media. When small business owners consider how much time and energy to put into blogging, Twitter, Facebook and others, many want a simple magic formula to determine their return on investment. Is there some equation like x number of blogs per month = y% in business growth.
Alas, if only it were that easy. The truth is that many factors contribute to the success of an online marketing campaign. As Mike Volpe, the Chief Marketing Officer at HubSpot noted, the return on investment will be greater, the more time and energy a business owner spends on an inbound marketing campaign.
Yet to give some sense of what is possible for a small business to achieve, I am sharing a short list of just some of the tangible benefits (read commercial benefits) that I have achieved through blogging and other social media. I’ve been blogging since March 2007 and on Twitter since April 2008. I was on Facebook before I started this blog but as I don’t maintain a professional presence there, I’ll leave it out of this blog.
- Discount on training (Twitter): On at least one occasion, I was able to take advantage of a last minute offer on a training course relating to CSS. It was a 1/3 discount off the total course fee and was only offered on Twitter.
- Promotional opportunities (Twitter + Blog): On a number of instances, I have used a combination of blog posts to encourage large, publicly-traded companies with global reach to promote my business on their avenues of communication with their own customers. Those avenues include their respective websites, Twitter feeds and even their customer-facing and focused print magazine.
- Discount on business software (Twitter + Blog): On at least one occasion, I have received a discount from a major business software company by communicatin directly with the company on Twitter and email. More specifically, I noted an error in their shopping cart functionality and flagged it that up to them discretely via email. The company then gave me early access (pre-public launch) to a Twitter sale on their software.
- Introductions to valuable business contacts (Twitter + Blog): Through a number of blogs that I run and others that I visit, I have made real-life contacts with business professionals who have helped open doors, share insight and provide business value to my company. To date, I have met three such contacts that I would not have otherwise met — all through blogs and Twitter.
- Learned time-saving techniques and practices (Twitter): Twitter is a great tool for sharing links to ‘how to’ articles. Over the years, I have picked up countless tips and techniques that have enabled me to work smarter, faster and more efficiently.
In sharing this list, I hope to inspire a few of those reluctant business people to start a company blog, open a company Twitter account and get active on LinkedIn or other social media websites.