In the social media world, Blogging is a veteran platform that has existed in basic forms since the early days of the internet (originally as internet forums then newsgroups). Blogging’s evolution has reflected that of social media, transitioning from static web pages facilitating one-to-many conversations into an interactive form of communication crossing all interests, subjects and disciplines.
Blogging itself is a form of direct conversation via text based posts on the internet where users to communicate to the public. You are of course reading a blog post right now!
Blogging is an attractive prospect for businesses. It allows companies to communicate messages about their products, developments or other news at minimal cost whilst maintaining full control of the message. Before the democratization of the internet, businesses were reliant on traditional media outlets to communicate with the wider public. Business awareness with the public often would occur only in the event of a crisis. Blogging bypasses traditional gatekeepers of media and creates a direct outlet for public engagement.
When executed properly, blogging creates an engaging online presence. It entices consumers to keep up to date with an organisation, can establish a firm as a source of expert knowledge and ultimately should assist in increasing profitability by attracting additional leads (B2C companies that blog generate up to 88% more leads per month).
So what constitutes a blog ‘done well’? I am going to dissect the Coca Cola blog Unbottled to illustrate how the firm uses blogging to support its business.
Content should be the most obvious and important aspect to business blogging. If content isn’t interesting then why should anyone read it? All blog content should be both relevant to the interests of the user base and in line with organisational strategy. Coca-Cola demonstrate content management in Unbottled in 2 major ways:
- Offering a number of specific blogs targeted around a single theme
- Presenting a diverse range of company news
Coca-Cola have 7 specific company blogs all of which vary in their purpose and theme. They cover issues such as women’s equality based 5by20, fashion focused #cokestyle, water replenishment and a number of others. This strict segmentation of content allows Coca-Cola to build loyal communities within their brand and target specific demographics. Critically whilst the blogs each focus on their own theme and area, they work together as part of an overall brand strategy which links to the core company mission:
“To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.”
Coca-Cola also use Unbottled as a newshub for the organisation. Stories cover a wide range of internal news from the launch of Sprite Cucumber in Russia to firsthand accounts of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in Nepal. This diversity allows a wide range of users to find interest in Unbottled.
Interesting content will in turn create interesting conversations. A successful business blog cannot pursue a ‘set and forget’ approach where it fails to engage after sharing content. Coca-Cola’s blog posts often have in excess of 5,000 comments each and the brand is pro-active in reaching out to its customers to allow conversations to go beyond an initial blog post.
Image source: Is your name on a coke bottle
How a brand communicates via social media is a critical key to success. Successful business blogging usually requires a conversational tone and embraces existing internet communities. If a brand runs on the wrong side of community norms it is only a matter of hours before the entire internet is aware. Fresh in our memories and #askseaworld are a few examples where businesses failed to anticipate negative community response. Unbottled maintains a conversational and upbeat tone of communication and whilst Coke isn’t itself immune to social media failure the company is yet to raise the ire of the internet due to its communicative tone.
How not to respond to criticism on social media (image source: Amy’s Baking Company)
A poor social media presence can be more damaging to a business than having no presence at all as it makes organisational flaws evident to customers and puts consumers off guard. Coca-Cola consistently publish new content every 2-4 days across its platforms with a diverse range of messages.
Coca-Cola’s Unbottled demonstrates sophisticated use of the blogging platform. Any business can learn from Coca-Cola how to generate strong engaging content, to communicate with their user base and take inspiration for designing their own specific blogging channels.
What other business blogs demonstrate competent use of the platform? What businesses have surprisingly poor quality blog content?