Study: “Social Media Can’t Beat A Good Blog”

gtldsThe Long Island Business News did a piece written by Steve Baldwin that is the editor of digital content at Didit, a full-service digital and traditional marketing firm in Mineola. He argued that social media like Twitter, Linked In and Facebook can’t beat a blog operating on its own domain name. Here is what Steve Baldwin had to say:

“Because of the emergence of popular social media and micro-blogging platforms, blogs seem to some to be playing second fiddle to establishing a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.”

“A recent study of professional social media experts conducted by Didit illustrates the opinion shift. While 87 percent of these people, who know a thing or two about online marketing, maintained blogs on their own domains, only 34 percent of them produced up-to-date content for them (“up-to-date” being defined as blog content less than seven days old). A full 29 percent hosted content older than seven days, and 20 percent had content on their blogs that wasn’t dated at all – making it impossible to say whether the content was fresh or written sometime in the late 20th century.”

“It’s natural that these social media influencers – whose job it is to promote their mastery of social media – might regard their blog presences as secondary. What’s dangerous, however, is the idea that a social media presence, even the most robust kind of presence, can substitute for an active, content-rich blog. Here’s why:

1. Link juice. Domains and blog pages can accumulate Page Rank, which improves rankings on search engines. Social media URLs accumulate Page Rank, too, but the benefits accrue to the platform, not to the brand. Why send vital link juice to a company other than your own?

2. Control reach. Many brands were caught flatfooted when Facebook arbitrarily decided to force brands to pay for reach that had once been thought to have been “earned.” This can’t happen when you control your own blog/domain.

3. Branding. Social media platforms force you to adapt the unique look and feel of your brand into the format that best serves them, not you. But there’s no digital straitjacket on your blog/domain, where you have more freedom to tell your brand story in a way that such a story demands.

4. Transparency. The analytics provided by social media platforms give you the data their engineers think you want, not the data you might actually need to grow your business online. For full transparency, you need a full-featured web-analytics package.

5. Social platforms come and go, but domains and blogs can go on and on. One cursory glance at the history of social media platforms will show you that these “hot” platforms rise and fall quite rapidly. Remember MySpace? Friendster? Geocities? TheGlobe? Nobody else does, either.”

“Make no mistake: Social media and micro-blogging have their place in the web-marketing mix. Social media offers a great way to acquire customers, participate in relevant business conversations, gain followers and likes and extend the reach of your online publishing efforts.

Don’t, however, make the mistake of building your web-marketing castle on somebody else’s land (there’s actually a nasty term for this; it’s called “digital sharecropping”). Instead, take control of your online publishing destiny and build a permanent home for your content that’s strong, enduring and firmly under your control.”

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About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

4 comments

  1. I had never heard the term “Digital Sharecropping” before this post. That paints a powerful picture when discussing the importance of providing content under your own domain.

  2. There is a “liberating” dynamic to be experienced when building your own castle and not that for a King…….Social media should be a an extension and not a mainframe….It is mind boggling at the number of people who embrace “digital sharecropping”……… Video did not kill the radio star, and social media will not kill domains……..

    • There are many people that have regretted not building on their own domain name but still people are doing it.
      Primarily because they are lazy and because they will not try and learn from other people’s mistakes.

    • I couldn’t agree more. In my experience, everyone that I knew who tried to build a following by building Facebook & Twitter followers is getting so few of those followers to actually listen, it’s pitiful.

      The key is control. If a typical small business with a Facebook Page with 1000 followers posts something, they are lucky to have 15 or 20 people of that 1000 actually SEE it, with even less taking the time to read it. Meanwhile, you still see restaurants putting Facebook logos on their menus, thinking their customers will flock to their Facebook Page and be seeing all their promotional posts. Not quite.

      They wrongfully assume that having 1000 followers means all 1000 see their posts in their news feed. That actually was the case a long time ago, but that’s what happens when you build your castle on the King’s land. He can decide who can visit you.

      That’s not to say Social Media doesn’t work. You just have to use it as a traffic builder for a real site, on YOUR domain.

      I’ve done some experiments where I took a brand new domain, with zero traffic, and brand new Twitter & Facebook accounts that had ZERO followers, and within 2 weeks, got 200 or so visitors per day to visit my otherwise invisible web site. At the end of the 2 weeks, the Facebook and Twitter accounts still had only 2 followers (me and somebody I don’t know), but whenever I post something new on the site, I fire off a tweet and Facebook post with relevant hashtags and within 5 minutes, I can see 30 or so visitors.

      If I tried to build my castle with the goal of putting content on Facebook or Twitter just to get followers, the whole thing would’ve been worthless… I gained only 1 follower, so Social Media is still a great traffic building tool, but never as a substitute for the real thing.

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