Bryan Collins wrote a fair and comprehensive piece today in the Sunday Business Post on the benefits to businesses of engaging with blogs and social networks. It featured comment from Damien, Eoin and myself (in the context of my work with No Nonsense and the IIA Social Media Working Group).

Wag the Tail, "The Long Tail" Autographed
Photo owned by shashiBellamkonda (cc)

Adrian Wreckler did an editorial overview piece which I take issue with. Adrian says he was wrong when he predicted last year that blogging would be the next big thing for business. He suggests that businesses should forget about blogs and focus their attention and resources on social networks.

It seems that he missed the substance of Bryan’s article. There are very real benefits of blogging (some are outlined here) but the point is that you get a different return from blogging than you do from a big campaign (e.g. Pat the Baker) on a social network.

He’s right when he says that Irish businesses might be disappointed with the return on investment in blogs. He’s wrong when he says that many Irish businesses have given up their blog activities. They simply weren’t doing it in the first place.

Krishna points out that only 6% of Irish SME’s have a blog as compared to 37% in the US. If Adrian is right then Irish SME’s are smarter than US SME’s in figuring out quicker that blogging is a waste of time. I think the real truth is that Irish businesses have not yet figured out what the benefits of engaging with blogging might be.

As far as “big things” go, certainly running a campaign on Bebo or Facebook will have a more immediate impact and presents a fabulous opportunity for deeper brand engagement. We should think of blogging as having a longer tail. I’ve only been blogging a wee while, relatively, but my most popular posts are those that were written quite a while ago and appeal to niche audiences. Do a Google search for “is screen scraping legal?” and there I am on the first page. Niche, but continues to bring the traffic.

The tip for businesses is figure out what goals you are trying to achieve and then decide what type of social media, if any, can help you achieve those goals.