There are two main benefits to external blogs; marketing and customer/community engagement to promote your product but it is important to learn how to use this technology wisely or it could have major pitfalls. Here are some examples of companies using blogging technologies:
St Ali www.stali.com.au
This is a small coffee shop in Melbourne that has embraced micro blogging technologies to enhance it’s relationship with customers. Spending a few minutes searching through their twitter feed (http://twitter.com/St_ALi) it is easy to see how they are benefitting from this form of technology in marketing and customer/community engagement.
St Ali has increased it’s customer community by offering subscribers special offers and information. This offers an alternative aspect to regular marketing strategies used by other coffee shops, such as loyalty cards, because they make the customer feel that they are involved within a companies community. St Ali also offer substitutes to existing services, such as booking tables, to it’s followers.
sthmelb I wonder if I can book at table @ST_ALi via twitter? Lets try: *Table for 7 at 11am today please. Under Russell. Ta.*
Another substitute service is how they handle complaints made by their customer base.
By allowing this type of medium St Ali have increased their customer to customer message propagation with followers/fans posting positive feedback for other potential customers to view. St Ali have managed to embrace external blogging technologies to effectively improve their marketing and customer satisfaction.
Habitata is a retailer of household furniture in the UK which allows us to view the pitfalls of not recognising new strategies involved with marketing, using blogging. In 2009, the company had been accused of taking advantage of twitters hash trends to promote specials and product give-aways.
They used hashtags that had absolutely nothing to do with furniture, decorating, or shopping. Instead they used the obvious top hashtags for Thursday evening AEST such as #iPhone #mms #Apple and even Australia’s Masterchef contestant who was voted off #Poh
Habitata went into damage control and started to delete the offending tweets and make apologies to the twitter user base, demonstrating that it can be easy to have a huge target audience take offence and voice their opinions, whether they be positive or negative, on the internet.
These blogs are used by companies to help internal processes and knowledge management. There are a number of ways a company can setup an internal blog, whether it is to be used by all employees or just higher level managers, but the basic function of the blog still remains with the aim to increase employee communication and collaboration. There are many reasons to host internal blogs in an enterprise environment, some of the most common reasons are Executive communication, Project Management, competitive intelligence, expertise sharing and internal communication. There is a list of some benefits here.
It should be noted that we often see that internal blogging occurs favourably with the low level employees, as opposed to management, as they find this type of communication to be more beneficial to their positions. The following are some examples of how enterprises have implemented blogging into their internal environments.
Suncorp offers Financial Services, was founded in 1916 and has over 16,000 employees. Suncorp has benefited from incorporating and integrating Yammer as part of its social media suite. It has helped geographically separated employees and teams to integrate and has helped project collaboration as one of the leading cultures within the organisation.
Go Big Always use an interesting approach to blogging with new employees introducing themselves over a blog rather then walking around meeting face to face. After employing people I find that the introduction phase can seem to go on for a couple of days so if there is this kind of internal medium for employees to find out what is going on, I love this idea. GBA also use their blogs for the following
- meeting notes
- competitive insights
- status reports
- project updates
- how to
Both these examples show how beneficial internal blogging can be for employees to communicate and manage company knowledge.