The Explosion of Twitter over the past year or so has seen many companies eager to get into the trend of blogging and in particular, micro blogging to facilitate their business processes. And it’s taking off alright! “Social networking will replace email as the primary vehicle for communications for one in five businesses across the world”, IT research major Gartner said on Tuesday. The research firm also said that nearly half of the companies globally will start using micro blogging streams like Twitter in two years. There are two main types of Corporate Blogs, external and internal, for formal and in-formal purposes. Although in-formal corporate blogging can be quite risky.
External Blogs are a great way to publish company news, a place to solicit, feedback from customers and prospects about a new product or service, a channel to build up the expertise and ‘thought leadership’ of the company, another place to publish bits and pieces of useful information that don’t make it to the e-newsletter or print publications, a new breed of marketing collateral, much like a downloadable white paper, which can be hooked into the sales process. There are two types of external blogging, formal and informal. A formal corporate blog, such as Google’s Blog which allows them to communicate with their users about official Google news, or an internal blogging
An External non-formal blog, where employees of a company may blog about the business. This is something to be wary of, not all press is good press. (Please refer to my blog, Enterprise 2.0, A Legal Risk? for a great example of non formal external blogging gone badly.)
Internal Blogs are behind a firewall, sometimes built through the company’s intranet and not accessible through a public URL. They are authored by employees or managers, sometimes even by the CEO or senior executives. Internal blogs can be used for project management, efficient communications and knowledge sharing. Internal Micro-blogging, is becoming the most popular type of blogging at the moment, companies use micro blogging to pass quick messages between staff.
Many companies are using Twitter for external blogging. Micro blogging can be used for;
- Product pushing.
Kodak, which has a chief blogger (@kodakCB), wrote about how her company’s product was being used rather than giving blatant product pitch:
“Spent the weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival. Saw some great movies shot on Kodak film!”
- Community Outreach
After Hurricane Gustav hit, Whole Foods (@wholefoods), the grocery store chain, kept people in the loop regarding their stores in the areas affected. One example:
“Louisiana update: Baton Rouge store open 10a-6p til further notice; we’re working on getting New Orleans stores open & will keep you posted.”
- How-To and Service Questions
Some companies such as Comcast (@comcastcares) have begun assigning an employee to take customer questions over Twitter. This level of communication allows for a level of intimacy absent from corporate websites that offer FAQ sections of their site.
- Humanizing the Head Honcho
CEOs are generally seen by the masses as big scary monsters who are not approachable, are out of touch and lousy bloggers because they don’t have the time. Micro blogging is changing this. In particular, micro blogging tool Twitter’s integration with mobile phones, allows executives to communicate with employees and customers, quickly and effectively. Jonathan Schwartz (@SunCEOBlog), and Tony Hsieh (@zappos) are two CEOs who are taking full advantage of micro blogging.
Twitter is just one example, which at the moment is the most relevant for external corporate blogging. Internally, obviously Twitter is not the solution as it can be seen and read by the public. This is where platforms such as SocialText come in. These platforms offer all the benefits of micro blogging, but behind the secure company firewall. Strictly for employees eyes only.
A cool little slide show, blatant product pushing but informative non the less. The Corporate Blogging Go-to-guide.