“No one responds to my Facebook posts. I don’t have enough Instagram followers. Should I rebrand?!?!” (Answer: You can, but it may not help.)
A lot of business owners start their online presence on social media platforms, usually Facebook or Instagram. I get it. Those platforms are popular, simple(ish) to use, and (kinda) easy to build a following on. But there’s a few problems with social media.
- Followers aren’t the same as prospects, and they’re definitely not the same as paying clients.
- Because they’re popular and simple, a lot of people use them so it can be harder to build a following amid all the noise.
- You are at the complete mercy of ranking and search algorithms created by people who aren’t you.
It’s certainly not impossible to build a following and nurture prospects from and through social media, so I’m not saying that points 1 and 2 make these platforms totally useless. But let’s talk particularly about point #3, which I see as the biggest disadvantage of social media.
In social media, platform manages you.
I’ve been doing business online since about 2011, mostly using Facebook Business Pages. I distinctly remember several instances where Facebook changed how posts from business pages are shown and shared. And each time, every photographer, crafter, wedding planner, and direct sales consultant under the sun lost their flipping minds.
Almost every page I followed immediately threw up desperate pleas for their fans to enable notifications, comment on posts to keep them active, or join new VIP groups so as not to miss out on all the latest
group name changes important news. I did the same things, and I watched my engagement plummet anyway. (Eventually I dumped social media for business entirely, but that’s a story for another day.)
I never seriously used Instagram for business, but there was a similar fracas when the platform changed the order of posts in the feed from chronological to…whatever annoying way it is now. On both Facebook and Instagram, people needed to reach their audiences so they had to cough up for sponsored posts and custom page apps to stand out from the crowd. And suddenly the free and easy platforms weren’t so free and easy.
Your blog is your home base.
Your blog, on the other hand, belongs to you. (It’s yoursssss, your own, your preciousssssss. And now you have to read the rest of this post in Gollum’s voice. You’re welcome.) Even if you get a free hosted blog on WordPress.com, that space is yours to do with what you will. You can post every day, you can post once a year. You can write whatever you want, and it won’t go away unless you delete it. No formula or algorithm can change the availability of your content to your audience. Your blog is the home base for your business. The town center. The mothership. The headquarters. Think of social media as outposts or scouts that share things from your blog but ultimately point back to home base.
The content you post on your blog stays there until you take it down. That means you can keep sharing relevant blog posts long after you write them. More importantly, readers can find you through your posts months and even years later. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! This is part of the reason blogging is so good for helping you rank higher in search results.
True Facts About Blogging and SEO
True story #1: I once got an email from a representative of Furniture.com who found a three-year-old blog post I wrote about lentils–I was trying to be a lifestyle blogger, okay?!–and wanted me to mention their site in any relevant posts. (Considering, I was offered no compensation, this is pretty much all they’re gonna get.)
True, more relevant story #2: When we relocated a few months ago, I wanted to find a nice place to take pictures of our new fall apparel with my fellow Sseko Fellows. The first search result that came up for photo locations in our town led me to a fantastic blog post by a local photographer. I read the entire post, looked at all her pretty photos, and clicked around some more on her website. Before I knew it, she was top of my mind when I think about getting family photos done here. (And she did it all without awkwardly stuffing her post with the phrase COLLEGE TOWN WEDDING NEWBORN AND DOG PHOTOGRAPHER over and over again. I’m not judging. I did it myself back in the day. But no one wants to read that shiz.)
Search is only half the battle.
Okay, let’s review. 1) Your business blog is a great forever home for all your knowledge, experience, and expertise. No one can take that away from you or make you pay to reach your customers. 2) Having a consistently updated blog with relevant content can make you more findable. Woohoo! Everything is awesome.
But here’s the rub. Finding your website is only half of what you need potential customers to do. (Maybe less than half.) Staying on your website is the other half. You want people to stick around long enough to learn about your services, get comfortable with your process and personality, and ultimately hire you.
The good news is that blogging can help with all of that too! In the next few months, I’ll talk about how blogging can help you not only attract interested eyeballs but retain people’s interest and build authentic connections in a fast-paced world. Subscribe to my newsletter below so you don’t miss a thing.