Online Social Marketing Series: August Topic-Blogging

Written By:
Debby Swoboda
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Blogging is a way to share your thoughts and spread your circle of influence out into the Internet. It’s like an online diary of sorts. Each entry is dated, titled and is searchable. These entries are called “posts.”

How many times have you wanted your local newspaper to write a story about something you were passionate about and nothing ever showed up in print? Good news! Times have changed…and for the good!

Retailers now have the opportunity to share content with current customers as well as be viewed by others searching for specific topics, local information or just looking to become part of a community of others with like interests.

Blog content should be interesting and worth talking about, not the place for making sales pitches. There is nothing wrong with putting links at the bottom of your blog post that connects your reader back to your Web site, Facebook page, Twitter page or other social sites where they can learn more about you and your services.

With a blog, a retailer has a place where they can share great information about what’s currently going on in his/her store…like mini news flashes.

Idea Example: I was in a Starbuck’s last weekend and overheard a conversation that a man was sharing with a lady. He said, “I love that store. Their prices are about half the price of Store W; it’s amazing. It’s clean, always has new items to learn about, plus, I get a hug every time I go in there. It’s just the best!”

I jumped on my iPhone and called the retailer to share the story. The retailer could write a Blog post about how much they care for each and every customer and how they are committed to making customers feel like part of their family… then include my story. It’s terrific. By sharing the story about the store’s mission and the customer’s comment… it would make the Blog post have a real voice from a real person, and that’s an example Blog power!

How do people find you? With keywords, meta-tags and, oh yes, search engine optimization (SEO), search engines like Google and Bing (to name just two) help people find what they’re looking for---that includes what’s written in blogs. A book that I recommend to retailers looking to get started is the social media marketing book by Dan Zarrella. The book is simple to read and gives you an easy-to-understand explanation of the basic tools available for social networking and marketing.

You can choose a free blog program (like Blogger) or select a fee-based service that offers tons of built-in tools. You can choose to have people share opinions about your content, or you can just share your information. Either way, people can find you and share your information with their circle of friends.

Next step: Start reading other blogs to get a feel of what “like” people (businesses) are saying. A great place to start is Technorati.com.

You can search for blogs by categories and ratings. There is so much to learn…but taking it step by step and keeping it simple is the best way to move into the new world of marketing!

 

Debby Swoboda, president of Debby Swoboda Marketing Solutions, has over 22 years experience in the Natural Products Industry developing and executing effective marketing and merchandising programs for independent retailers. Debby enjoys teaching retailers how to utilize partnerships and seize opportunities to maximize sales and profits. Her passionate support of independents led her to create “askDebby.com,” a destination resource providing education programs, free down-loadable shelf talkers and templates, label branding program, and a host of other items designed to support retailers.

Debby is noted as an "expert contributor" to industry publications, writes a featured Marketing Tips article and presents "live" TeleTrainings (webinars) as part of Tree of Life's Knowledge Center, is a guest "blogger" for The Natural Foods Merchandiser, and is a national presenter at national and regional shows. Debby is an active board member of the Southeast Natural Products Association and serves many clients including retailers, distributors, manufacturers offering proven business solutions.

For more information, visit www.askDebby.com, call Debby Swoboda Marketing Solutions, (772) 287-9559, or follow Debby at www.twitter.com/askDebby.

Published on WholeFoods Magazine Online, August 12, 2010.

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