Social media consultant Jason Falls is a self-proclaimed purist-turned-realist when it comes to blogging for business.
Falls admits he may be falling from social media "grace" (which consists of engaging readers in "conversation", but never outright asking for the order), because, when he’s discussing with business owners why they want to use social media, the answers come down to one thing – selling more stuff. "I’ve got news for you", says the born-again realist Falls: "Conversations do not ring the cash register."
So now what? "Make your company blog drive search results to the keywords you want to win," says Falls. "Present calls to action for purchase."
Purchase? Selling with blogs? Not so long ago, wryly remarks internet marketing consultant Chris Garrett, he might have gotten himself lynched for merely suggesting such a thing. "Slowly, though, the blogosphere is coming around to the idea that commerce is not necessarily evil, that in fact businesses need to make money and they do that by selling stuff."
So where does Rhoda Israelov of Say It For You stand on the issue? No social media purist I, when I’m meeting with business owners to discuss their corporate blogging strategy, the conversation’s all about their "getting found online" and ringing the dickens out of their cash register!
In fact, some business owners (professional practitioners are particularly prone to voice this concern) are so revenue-conscious, they express fear that, if they share too much information about their field in the blog posts, clients won’t pay them to provide expertise. At the other extreme, I find business owners who express to me that they don’t want to come off boastful and self-serving in their blog.
There are, I think, no wrong answers here, but Steve Wamsley’s sales training book, Stop Selling and Do Something Valuable, which was reviewed on the Financial Planning Association website, has something to say that should resonate with reluctant social media realists.
"We have to sell ourselves to potential clients so that they choose to work with us rather than the competition… Wamsley’s next words are directed to financial planners, but this is the part I think is so germane to the social media debate: "In our role as advocates, we need to persuade people to act."
As a professional ghost blogger, being an advocate for my client’s business sounds like exactly the role I want to play!