Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Can blogs be used for business?

Blogs are very much a part of social
media. They are being used today as
one of the most effective tools
within the social media category for
advertising and marketing activities
of products and brands. The
incorporation of blogs into
advertising has helped marketers in
obtaining valuable consumer
insights and feedback.

Basic definition
The earlier definition of a blog in
layman terms was that it was like a
diary or journal except that it was
digital and online. It was a medium
for individuals to share their
opinions and feelings with the rest
of the world. It was a mode of self-
expression and what you stand for.
People used to express their beliefs,
experiences, concerns and much
more through their blogs and it also
allowed for interactions. Other
people could read your blog if you
allowed for it and they could even
comment on posts and share their
own beliefs and opinions through
this medium.Advertising integration
Lately, however, blogs have
penetrated the advertising world
and their definition of self-
expression has changed. Now blogs
are a tool for marketers to advertise
their products and brands on. Also
the posts that go onto the blogs that
are written by individuals and even
independent bloggers themselves is
a great source of information and
insights that can be made good use
The popularity and growth that was
seen by marketers in the blogging
world had surprised them. Blogs
were also a form of user-generated
content where bloggers would write
about their experiences and opinions
with a certain brand or product. It
was obvious that positive content
was helping the brands in terms of
sales and customer retention etc.
However, it was the negative
content that was bothering them.
Hence, it was not long before the
advertising industry realized that it
was an open opportunity for them to
capitalize on. Even the negative
content that got posted on blogs
could be used to identify issues and
problems that existed with the
brand. These opinions could be
valuable in rectifying errors and
mistakes and can be avoided in the
Professional blogging
Brands even started hiring
professional bloggers to write about
their products and services. This was
paid content and an advertising tool
that could help in building and
transforming opinions through the
content. Brands started building
portfolios of bloggers who would
bombard social media with news and
information regarding the brand. It
was a sales and marketing tactic
that was being employed and was
quite effective at influencing
opinions and helpful in building high
levels of brand recall.
Using blogs as a tool for advertising
was initially criticized. It was blamed
for being a tool of deceptive
marketing techniques and was
looked at as an unethical way of
influencing opinions and beliefs of
customers. It was said by critics that
the actual purpose of self-
expression had been lost. Blogs
becoming commercial, in their
opinion was wrong and critics
believed that these tools should be
kept out of advertising strategies.
The advantages
They failed to see, however, the
positive impact that this transition
was having. It was a chance for
brands and consumers to express
their own opinions and communicate
their opinions to each other.
Consumers could use their right of
self-expression any time they
wanted. Critics had failed to realize
the opportunities that the
interaction between the consumers
and brands had created.
Giving brands the ability to
acknowledge and take note of what
their consumers had to say about
them was something that had never
been done before. Consumers were
always allowed to express
themselves and there was no way in
which they were being held back
from exercising their rights. Neither
were marketers trying to breech
these rights.
In essence, what this integration had
done was bring both parties to the
same platform where they could
both make themselves heard and
completely changed the way
advertising and marketing was done
in the past, where there was one
way communication.
It made the jobs of advertisers and
marketers even more challenging,
as now they had to cater to each
individual separately. In the past a
brand’s communication would target
a mass audience, whereas through
blogs and social media they had to
communicate with consumers on
individual and personal basis. It had
taken self-expression to a whole
new level, which was realized by
both consumers and brands.

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