Blogs are considered social media. I’ve already written a post on Social Media, so you know the rules:
Keep it social, fun and helpful. You’re building relationships and reinforcing helpful insights and concepts. You’re not selling products, services or causes.
Again, read Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen to get the complete lowdown on social media protocol.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t inform and educate your subscribers; you just shouldn’t be hammering them with sales pitches about your own business every few times they log on. (They won’t log on for long if you do. It’ll be sayonara, baby!)
The information you give should help them make good decisions–even if those decisions include going elsewhere for the same products or services you offer. The information you share should be universal, not merely a sales funnel that leads back to you and only you.
And remember this when you blog: you don’t have to stay on topic every time. Building relationships is a broad-based endeavor. Let people know of your other passions. If you’re into sports, outdoor activities, reading, sports, fashion, or anything else that others enjoy, let your followers know about it.
People establish fond bonds for lots of different reasons, so go ahead and create deeper bonds by getting real with your followers. What do you love to do when you aren’t at work? (I love to write when I’m not at work; can you tell? Here I am on the weekend, still writing! But I also love movies (in fits and starts, not all the time), live theater, goats, cats, dogs and most other critters, and I love bicycle riding, walking, networking, and having fun with my friends.)
Lots of people recommend that you don’t discuss politics or religion during social interactions (including online). This is generally wise counsel, but it can also be a double-edged sworn.
Politics and religion are important aspects of many peoples’ lives (including my own). Going out of your way to hide your passion for these topics can be a real drain on your spirit if you’re as passionate about them as others are about sports teams, their children, animals, or other activities and pursuits.
So instead of avoiding the topics that are so much on your mind, simply remain sensitive to the reality that your opinion is just an opinion, not gospel, no more or less true than the opinions of folks within your spheres of influence who may disagree with you.
Differences of opinion are fine as long as you remember to respect others’ passionate beliefs in their own perspectives.
Just about the only thing I’m intolerant of is intolerance. Just about the only thing I’m prejudiced against is prejudice.
It isn’t always easy to keep your knickers out of a knot when you engage online, but it’s a good discipline to acquire.
It’s okay to create well-represented discussions but creating enmity or denigrating others isn’t okay.
If you want to LIKE a religious or political post, go ahead and LIKE it. But before you hit SHARE on a controversial or cranky/insulting post or meme, ask yourself: “Is it true? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and fond bonds? Will it benefit everyone who sees it?” If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, SHARE away!
But if it comes from a page that denigrates a defined group of people by assuming they’re “all the same” (e.g. Democrats, Republicans, women, men, children, atheists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc.) or if it’s going to come across as crass or cranky in any other way and you know it has the potential to create enmity (no matter how wicked funny or accurate you think it is), don’t share it. Shooting yourself in the foot isn’t what you want happening on social media–or anywhere else, for that matter. (I have violated this recommendation far too many times myself. I’m doing better, but it isn’t always easy especially in the contentious environment we’re forced into just about every time we access the “crass media” airwaves.)
Your blog should educate, inform and enlighten. It should elevate your followers in some way–their spirits, their knowledge in various areas (skills or topics), and their sense of can-do, wonder, and hope.
It also never hurts to tickle their funny bones or touch their hearts. Tell stories. Find knee-slapping written, animated or live action humor and share it.
So when it comes to business blogging, share what you love and things will be better all the way around.
Look for something that makes your subscribers glad they spent some of their rare, spare time with you and they’ll be back.