My first exposure to blogging was when my friend kept a blog telling her family and friends about her trip to Spain. In this sense it was a type of diary. At the time, it didn’t occur to me that a blog could be used in business to build brand awareness and consumer loyalty. 

Maggie Fox, CEO of Social Media Group, came to talk to our class about the use of social media in business. Today, many organizations have their own blogs, but very few understand how to use them effectively.

As advertising becomes less and less effective, companies need to find new ways of getting their name out there. Web 2.0 gives companies opportunities to do this like never before, but it is important to know how to use social media effectively to get desired results.

As Maggie Fox said, corporate blogging is about creating a forum for discussion between the company and its consumers. The conversation does not have to be about the product or service the company provides, and it is usually more effective if it doesn’t.

Companies must learn to treat blogs like they treat relationships. Personally, I prefer to talk to people who actively listen to what I have to say and try to find a common bond, than people who talk only about themselves and how great they are.

The same goes for a corporate blog. If a company uses it’s blog as a form of advertisement, it will not be effective. A company must know the interests of its market and build a discussion forum based on that. A car company could create a discussion forum for car fanatics to gather and discuss cars in general. A hotel chain could build a discussion forum for people who like to travel.

When companies use blogs as a blatant act of self-promotion, consumers are not likely to want to build a relationship with them. Companies must first listen to what their consumers are talking about, and find a way to join in the conversation.