A few years ago, a friend gave me a satirical poster that said, “Blogging: Never have so many… said so much… to so few.”
In fact, companies that blog get an average of 55% more web traffic than those that don’t. Here’s why.
Most people use Google as their search engine. In 2011, Google shifted its algorithms to favor newer content over older. Since half of all Internet traffic starts with a search, and a blog is continuously updated, it’s easy to see how blogging can generate more inbound traffic.
If you have a relatively static website, you’re likely falling in the search rankings. If you’re blogging regularly, perhaps just a few times per month, you’re likely rising. People searching for what you do are discovering your business through your blog.
However, it turns out that the joke about blogging may actually be applicable to Facebook and Twitter.
In the beginning, Facebook showed users virtually everything posted by those they followed. This included their friends’ activities and Liked companies’ activities. These days, with so many people and so many companies posting on Facebook, a typical member would receive an estimated 1,500 updates per day. That makes your email inbox look positively peaceful.
So Facebook is now optimizing the content that they present to members. As I understand it, their algorithms now omit display of roughly 80% of potential posts. Facebook is being particularly hard on company posts, unless of course you pay for exposure. According to reliable sources (Time Magazine Online to name one), as of October 2013, just 12% of company posts reached their followers. In February 2014, the rate had fallen to just 6%. By this point in 2014 it’s almost certainly lower… and likely heading for a floor around 1%.
Given that’s on target, let’s say your business has worked really hard to attract 10,000 followers. Each of your posts will soon be seen by just 100 of them. That doesn’t mean that those 100 people are actually paying attention to you. They’ve got 300 other updates to review and they’re not dedicating as much time as before. Yes, my Gen Y son reports that his peers are spending a lot less time on Facebook. In fact, he says that some of his friends consider Facebook to be a tool for “connecting with old people.”
Never have so many companies… said so much… to so few.
Twitter may be even worse. To me, consuming tweets is a lot like listening to live radio. With radio, you turn it on and you’re live in the moment. You don’t care what happened the minute before you tuned in. Nor do you care what’s happening (on the air) after you tune out. It’s a “live time” medium. So (mostly) is Twitter.
Let’s say that the average person spends 15 minutes a day reading or writing on Twitter. That’s probably a high estimate but let’s go with it. 15 minutes represents 1% of their day. Following my live time theory, they’d have just 1% chance of seeing your tweets. Others have estimated that it’s even lower.
So you’ve worked hard to attract 1,000 Twitter followers. You’re actually tweeting to just 10 of them… unless of course you pay.
If you’re measuring your Facebook and Twitter ROI (return on investment) and the services are bringing you boatloads of business, no problem, keep posting and tweeting. If you’re not seeing a return (and a surprising percentage of companies are not), maybe it’s time to focus more on blogging. Given Google’s algorithms and people’s search behavior, it’s a more consistent winner.
I’ve been involved in social media programs with maybe one hundred different companies over the past five years (mostly B2B – business to business). In addition to blogging, I see three other tools that work surprisingly well.
I’m constantly amazed at the impact of YouTube videos, and more recently at the impact of Google+ (Google’s fourth try at social networking). Is it just coincidence that these two Google-owned services generate more inbound search traffic for most companies?
And don’t forget about LinkedIn, a search engine for finding people who would be your employees, your business partners, and your customers. Building a comprehensive LinkedIn Profile (with a current photo please), a strong network of connections, and a great LinkedIn Company Page, works time and again. It’s a consistent social winner for most organizations I’ve seen.
Facebook plus Twitter… or Blogging plus YouTube plus Google+ plus LinkedIn. Now – just maybe – you’re talking to the 99%.