Using blogs as a starting point for Social Media efforts

Lois Kelly talks about 10 ways to overcome the boss’ objections to social marketing. Most of the items are a good starting point if one of your 2008 goals is to engage with your customers by leveraging social media. There’s one point that I disagree with though:

“Hint: a company blog is usually a bad first foray into social marketing.”

As part of my previous role I was VP of Marketing for Inovis, where the blog was our first foray into social marketing. Why?

1. Easiest way to share relevant and useful industry information in a single place without flooding them with email daily. Since we could get many people within the company engaged with the blog you have multiple perspectives and opinions, which adds to the mix and makes the conversation diverse, yet relevant.

2. Customers appreciated the ability to comment and add to the conversation on specific topics that were of interest to them. Nothing drives more customers away than seeing a discussion board or forum without many people there already. Couple of customers mentioned they felt more connected to the company after we started blogging.

3. Quickest way to join the discussion. There are several other bloggers already talking about topics that are of interest to your company, customers and partners – the blog is usually the easiest way to be heard and the starting point of least friction.

Are there downsides? Yes. We did get some feedback from customers when the “blog agenda” was starting to border on self promotion than (industry) information dissemination and that was the best lesson we learned.