Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Small Organisation and the Social Media Part Three; Microblogging

Blogs are a fantastic means of engaging the community. Enabling the author to regularly convey messages to an audience of interested recipients, the blog has quickly become one of the tools most readily associated with the social media. As most bloggers will tell you, whilst the blog has the capacity to help you achieve significant levels of recognition in your chosen field, the time and effort required to generate attention is a significant obligation. In order to gain and retain the attention of the online community, the blog must become a living breathing entity that develops progressively. As we discussed earlier in the week, our worsening economy has ensured that the importance of efficient resource allocation is paramount. As resources are increasingly diverted towards ensuring the simple day to day survival of the business, can the creation and maintenance of a blog really be justified? Perhaps not in the traditional sense…

Interest in micro blogging has grown significantly since the development of Twitter in 2006. The premise is simple; users post microblogs of 140 characters in length in response to the question 'What are you doing?'. As interest in Twitter has grown, the community has taken the development thereof upon themselves, shifting the focus of the posts from 'What are you doing?' to 'What will benefit the Community?'. This subtle shift is most notably visible through the number of tweets highlighting external articles of interest for the perusal of the community.

Headlining the Social Media
Though seemingly less immersive at first glance, micro blog posts have proven their value time and again in the few years since the introduction of the format. Intelligent use of the 140 character limit has led to the service adopting a ‘headline’ type appearance, whereby users post a miniature URL alongside a post designed to draw the attention of users. Used in collaboration with more standardized 140 character ‘tweets’; the Twitter term for a post, headlines have facilitated the sharing of knowledge throughout the community. Through this format, micro blogging has quickly enabled the proactive organization to establish itself as an authority within a given field.

Micro Blogging for the Business
How can small businesses adopt these practices? Simple. Small businesses can use micro blogging to highlight areas of both organisational and industry level interest. The number of these tweets needn't be excessive, perhaps ten to twenty in volume per day, and can simply draw attention to both internal and external sources of information; whether these be blog posts, articles or industry reports. The beauty of the tweet is that the organisation needn't feel obliged to produce significant volumes of new content on a regular basis. Whilst the production of new content should always be encouraged, for those organisations with limited resources, micro blogging can represent a more viable means of regularly engaging the community. Alongside these headlines, the organisation can insert tweets relevant to the business, thereby enhancing business familiarity whilst firmly associating the organisation with a specific product category.

Whilst social bookmarking and microblogging have the capacity to enhance feelings of community surrounding the organisation, before any of this is possible attention must be drawn to the existence of the organisation, and that's the theme for tomorrow's post.

Thanks for reading.


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