“A single individual can impact a multi-million dollar
corporation,” says Lionel Menchaca, Dell’s Computer Media Manager and Chief Blogger. One of the
ways an individual can do that is through the two-way communication that a
corporate blog offers.
Lionel was one of four panelists discussing the future of
corporate blogs at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival.
He went on to mention that blogs are not for every company.
But if you think your company is ready for one Mario Sandar of LinkedIn.
suggested you answer several questions:
- Are you ready for it?
- Is it worthwhile?
- Do we allow comments are not?
Kami Huyse of My Pro PR pointed out that you can use metrics
to measure your blog’s success.
First of all, define what you consider a success. Look at your competition. Benchmark yourself against your
competition. How many mentions did you have versus your competition. How many
mentions were positive versus negative. You can measure analytics,
subscriptions, comments, tonality of comments, sales, conversion tracking,
Lionel points out that you should use blogs to meet or
exceed customers’ expectations. He recommends three steps:
- Take action
As a result of Dell’s active participation in the
blogosphere, negative comments have dropped from 48% to 20%. (Lionel also
shares the credit with other changes Dell has made.)
Dell has introduced IdeaStorm, which he describes as
combining elements of a message board with Digg. Customers can propose ideas
and those ideas are voted up or down by the community. One of the first ideas
was to use Linux as an operating system. That idea, since adopted by Dell, has
generated more than 600,000 comments.
Mario, who operates LinkedIn’s blog says that his
company wanted to establish a “playground of ideas.” His company has three
goals for their corporate blog.
- To educate their users by providing product demos and other
- Customer support
- Breaking news
Their’s is one of the newer corporate blog having only been
published for nine months.
Kami pointed out that in today’s
digital age, the speed of feedback is increasing. Blogs allow you to rapidly
receive feedback, then get your message out to your customers and other
communities. She related a story about
one of her clients, “a large marine mammal park” that banned juice boxes with
straws because the straws could choke the dolphins. Those parents with juvenile
diabetes rebelled and posted about it in a JD forum. (Children with JD need the
sugar in the juice in case their diabetes flares up.)
The marine park found the post and after an initial misstep
involving “corporate speak,” had juice boxes with flip tops ready at the
entrances within a week. During the decision making process the company
participated in the discussion by updating people in the forum.
LinkedIn responded to a similar customer issue on their blog
and was able to resolve it within one day.
Yes, there is a future for corporate blogs and for those run
by small businesses. These blogs are a great way to rapidly get feedback from
your customers and to get out in front with your breaking news.