A small business may look at recent media like Facebook and Twitter, and wonder whether there is a use for small business blogs any longer. Previous experience has shown that there is still a place for such a tool. In the past, many companies recognized that their websites were not terribly friendly to customers, as they looked more like pages from their Annual Reports than anything else. When they changed their sites, often including a blog, customers began to respond enthusiastically, and a new interaction was born.
Dell computers has always been seen as the leader in the blogging community, being one of the first companies to make such a change. Even for successful businesses such as Dell, a barrier still existed between the company and its consumers, many of whom had quite frustrating complaints that were not being attended to. When Dell set up to receive blog entries, the transition with customers was remarkable. General Motors, too, had a comparable experience.
Blogs can even work in tandem with email newsletters. Many customers of a business will check the website regularly for the latest business info, and appreciate not having their inbox back logged with email. Others might still prefer the emails, so the company will need to use all the different ways of reaching out that are available. The material on a small business blog will be less ephemeral than short Twitter updates that quickly vanish from a webpage, and customer replies will remain equally visible.
Businesses do need to be cautious about raising customers’ expectations. Even if an almost one-on-one relationship might be possible between a small business and its consumers, bigger companies may not be have the ability to respond to all queries or issues, and this could damage its solid reputation if the company is not careful.
Another use for blogging and one that businesses might not even take into account at first, is for internal communication. Even though employees can keep in touch by means of email, meetings or conference calls, an internal blog can center on one department or a single project, providing a core place for a group to receive frequent updates or make an informal entry of their progress. This will keep these employees up to date without their own email inbox piling up to an unmanageable level.
Blogs, including small business blogs, are the elder sibling in the social networking world, and are still better at providing information and feedback in a more permanent form. Once blogging software such as WordPress made it possible for a business and its customers to interact in this way, the lines of communication opened widely. The company can provide up-to-date information about products and services, and customers can respond, thus both sides of the relationship benefit.