Business blogging: Know your foes

In the world of social media, we hear a lot about “friends.”  In fact, this term has risen to the highest form of prevalence: assuming multiple grammatical forms.  In the noun sense, we refer to the number of friends we are connected to in our online networks.  When we receive a new request, we use the verb form, saying that someone has “friended” us.  Yes, this term has really occupied the fast lane into our lexicon.

When it comes to companies and blogs, it is also important to consider a word we don’t often hear in the social media context: foe.

So, who are your foes?

Foe #1: For one, your foes are your competitors.  It’s time to heed the advice of Green Day and truly know them – particularly what they are doing on social media channels.  If your competitors are effectively executing on their own integrated marketing strategies, they may very well be managing company blogs.

Consider these company blogs publicly available intel.  Read them religiously.  Understand how your competitors are using this media to generate ROI.  Are they offering free trial of their products?  Are they flexing their customer support muscles?  Are they boosting their email subscriber lists?  Learn their tactics and use your own blog to compete.

Foe #2: In addition to companies publishing official blogs, beware of unofficial bloggers.  These seemingly harmless unpaid Internet journalists are foes for a couple of reasons.  For one, they may be writing about you – without you reading, revising, or approving their content.  There are a number of individuals who solely devote their blog content to everyone from large corporations to private universities.  And, these individuals have no official ties to their subjects.

Unofficial bloggers are also foes because they can beat you on the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) battlefield.  Depending on the search terms people use to locate information about your company, they may first see information from an unaffiliated search.  The unofficial blog may rank higher than your official one.  Or, it may rank higher than your company website.  It’s worth a quick Google Search.

The scariest thing about unofficial bloggers is that they can assume the identity of both friend and foe.  In one post, they may give a gleaming review of one of your products.  On the next, they may criticize your acquisition strategy or highlight recent negative publicity.  The minute you trust them, they will turn on you.

The cliché “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” has never been truer, as the digital age has brought us all closer together – friend and foe alike.

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3 responses to “Business blogging: Know your foes

  1. Your comment regarding public corporate intelligence really struck a chord with me. Everyday, I seem to be confronted with that from corporate clients. They are afraid to put other things out there in fear that their competitors will now know what they are doing, or they will unearth the secret to their success. I think it is important to highlight the fact that social media is a valuable tool, and that a blog can be constructed in such a way to provide industry prospective and thoughts on trends. It is not just about company news.

  2. Paying attention to the competition helps maintain a strong perspective for purposes of value and differentiation. One such method is to use Google Reader to keep tabs on the blogs of your key competitors or players in your industry.

    Would you ever comment on a competitor’s post?

    • Jose,
      I would avoid commenting on a competitor’s post for fear of creating the appearance that I was trying to swindel business. While measures like this can succeed, I don’t think the tradeoff is a good one.

      Thanks for the reply!

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