Last Sunday Brian Solis joined us and led a fabulous discussion on using blogs as tools to build influence. His #Blogchat was extremely popular, and based on impressions, was the biggest #Blogchat ever at over 30 Million impressions generated last Sunday night alone.
One of the points Brian made during the conversation was that blogs were better tools to build influence than Twitter was. The basis of his reasoning was simple: Blogs give you a place to catalog your thoughts and opinions that will remain, whereas the lifespan of your tweets is usually a few seconds at best.
At first I totally agreed with Brian. I mean, if you want to google my thoughts on how companies should use Twitter, you’re going to find the blog posts I have written on the topic, not my tweets.
But, I think there is something to be said for how Twitter allows us to build influence and awareness on an individual level. 5 years ago, I discovered smart people via the blogosphere, but today I find them via Twitter. I think it also depends on how we best convey our ideas. Do we need 500 words in a blog post to give our thoughts justice, or can we break them up into 140 chars on Twitter?
I am on the fence when it comes to deciding which tool is better for building awareness. I think there are a few factors at play:
1 – How do we best communicate? Do we prefer ‘real-time’ interactions with multiple people, or do we prefer to have time to think about our thoughts and put them down all at once in long-form?
2 – Do we let input from others shape our ideas, or do we prefer to share our ideas with others? For example, I think this is why Seth doesn’t use Twitter. Because he doesn’t want to have to ‘explain’ his ideas and debate them with dozens of people at once. He would rather put his ideas out there, then the rest of us can have a conversation about them. Or not. Personally, I find that interacting with others usually helps me bring clarity and strength to my ideas. But not always.
3 – Are we talking about an individual trying to build awareness and draw attention to themselves, or a company? I think Twitter can be a better tool for individuals to build attention for their ideas. But if it’s a group, I think a blog can be more effective.
What do YOU think? If you could only pick one tool to use to build awareness for yourself and/or your company, would it be blogs or Twitter? What are the advantages and disadvantages to choosing one over the other?
That’s what I’d like to discuss with y’all tomorrow night during #Blogchat! We’ll start at 8pm Central as we always do! And as you are getting ready, please feel free to share your personal experiences and which tool you think works better for you!
Lee Crumbaugh says
Mack, why is it one or the other? Long form expression of thoughts in your blog, then tweet short teasers to get people engaged. Isn’t that the way to do it?
Mack Collier says
Lee I positioned the topic this way because I don’t want everyone just saying ‘Well I use and like both!’. I want us to talk about WHICH one we like better, and WHY. Because when we start doing that, then we’ll be sharing tips and ideas for how to better use BOTH tools.
And everyone wins by getting good information on using both Twitter and their blog to build awareness. At least that’s the plan 🙂
I’m afraid I still feel a little in the dark about this whole “influence” argument. If I understand it correctly, influence is what actually gets actions accomplished.
When it comes to tweet vs. blog, as a consumer, I’m NEVER going to give a donation because someone tweets about it; I MIGHT give a donation after I read a post describing WHY I should consider donating and what that money’s going for.
Likewise, I’m unlikely to try a business because of a tweet, but if the tweet leads me to a review that goes into detail about why this business is so extraordinary, I might give it a try.
I’ll never sign an online petition because someone tweets about it. I’ll want to read a blog post about it and get that “full story” before I sign up to be part of it.
So for me, Twitter is a critical promotional tool that gets people TO your Call to Action. The blog is the place where a CTA is most likely to be presented well enough and clearly enough to actually get results.
Given a choice between the two, I’d take the blog as most important. I just think there almost has to be some form of secondary promotion to get people there to begin with.
Flavio Martins says
If I have to pick which I like better, I’d say the blog because I have a chance to work out an argument and present my entire view on the topic.
BUT…I see Twitter as the gateway to developing the audience for the blog content, which hopefully results in actions by the reader.
Twitter is like the elevator sales pitch. Your blog is the actual sales meeting that takes place, if your pitch was good enough.
Getting people to listen online is like sales:
Twitter: easy to get an audience. People will at least look at your tweet, most of the time (in the right #hashtag discussion).
Blog: more difficult to get people to meet with you there. Like the sales meeting in person, your pitch has to be good enough that they’ll give you a click and a slice of their time.
Return Visitors (or Sale of Product): The most difficult. As a fellow blogger, I see the rates of new vs. return visitors and like sales, it’s one thing to go to sales meetings, another to close the deal.
Once you get visitors, can you close the deal and get them to return, subscribe, buy, or whatever action you want your users to take.
tracey viars says
Agreed that twitter gives you access to real-time responses, etc… but that seems to require that you sit on Twitter all day..who has time? – I do think Twitter works best for those who might be catorgized on FB as “public figure” better than it seems to work for many companies that I do social media for – though the extra exposure never hurts the SEO factor. Honestly, if you can manage, I think doing both is valuable. Twitter helps establish a persona while blog posts helps to establish expertise.
Jeffrey White says
I use both tools, and if I had to choose I’d say I like blogging best.
Writing articles can be tedious and time-consuming but is gratifying when an article is finished, along with adding useful content to my website.
I tweet for both business and fun. But I often wonder whether most tweets get lost in the blizzard of tweets streaming onto everyone’s screens.
Flavio Martins says
Tracey & Jeff,
You both elude to points about time and being able to manage Twitter. One thing that you quickly learn as you develop connection with influencers on Twitter is that you actually DON’T spend all day on it.
You can use 3rd party tools like Tweetdeck (I use it on Chrome), Hootsuite (also is popular) or another Twitter client to manage Twitter.
I, along with most others I interact with, just follow Twitter hashtags or conversations about a specific topic, like #custserv or #custexp for customer service and customer experience conversations.
This way, when I check on Twitter, I see relevant messages about the topic and within a few minutes, can catch up on what people have been saying, sharing, etc. in my niche. I never view my general timeline on Twitter because at the moment I have thousands of followers and follow thousands of people (it’s the kind thing to do). Most of them are not discussing things that are relevant to what I’m doing at the moment, so I don’t need to be checking on the general timeline to see what they’re saying.
Harsh, but it’s the reality of Twitter.
It depends on who we are talking about. If you want my opinion on the teacher that doesn’t seek out new technology but uses it as a tool and uses technology but is a little afraid then
I say neither. I have seen many good teachers not look at either but will search for ideas all day on pinterest. My wife is one of them. She knows I blog and tweet but asked me the other day “does everyone blog now” she only learned the value of blogs through Pinterest.