There is an idea out there among some of us that we need to choose one avenue for a presence on the internet: social media, like Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace; blogging; or a website. Some will say it is overkill to have two or more. Others will talk about the time it takes to keep up with more than one. And still other people believe that the newer technologies are taking over, making a business website or blog obsolete. All of these perspectives are narrow ones.
Although a website is a large undertaking (or can be) when first put up, it really is the face of your business online. So, for convenience and argument’s sake, I am going to take it out of the equation and we will assume that your business has a great website and that it is bringing clients to you. So, you have clients coming in and your website is fantastic…do you need social media and blogging? Or has social media made blogging obsolete?
In his article “Blogging vs. Twitter: It Shouldn’t Be About the Format” Chris Crum argues (and I completely agree with him) that social media and blogging fill different, complementary niches. As Chris says, “Social networks drive traffic to blogs. Blogs drive followers to social profiles. If a reader is interested enough to read your blog on a regular basis, there is a good chance they are interested enough to follow you on Twitter, and likewise if they care enough to follow you on Twitter, they may be interested in what you have to say on your blog.”
And really, that about sums it up: social networking (be it Twitter, Facebook, or otherwise) can drive traffic to your blog. Where Twitter and Facebook allow you small, catchy bylines and quick conversations with people, a blog is a place to flesh out ideas and write out more complex thoughts. To me, it’s a little like the difference between the short answer tests and the essay question tests (if you are interested, yes, I was one of the students who was extremely good at the essay questions).
The best news is that we don’t have to choose one over the other. Social networking can take up time. Blogging takes up more time. And inspiration can be found for both forms, but then recycled into an interest in your presence on the other. For example, I can write a catchy phrase into Twitter about how I am contemplating blogging and it’s relationship to Tweeting. Then I link it to this blog post.
In the end, it’s good business to have all of your online efforts working together.