Blogging

Here we have a blog post about blogging. Seems a bit repetitive, doesn’t it?

However, what many don’t realize is that blogging can serve a variety of purposes ranging from updating the family to making business connections.

The social impact theory states that people are generally more influenced by groups of people who they spend more time with. This same theory can be applicable in a business setting. If an individual invests a lot of time and money towards one company, they are much more likely to respond. A company’s general stature or development also has a lot to do with their credibility-even when it comes to social media.

A main factor behind the business angle of blogs is operant conditioning. A blog becomes a means of direct, personal communication with the intended audience-be it customers, competitors or employees. If an individual feels engaged in a personal way while visiting a blog, they are more likely to have a positive attitude towards the company, and re-visit the blog.

HubSpot conducted a study in which they found that the average company that blogs has:

  • 55% more visitors
  • 97% more inbound links
  • 434% more indexed pages

(Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/5014/Study-Shows-Business-Blogging-Leads-to-55-More-Website-Visitors.aspx#ixzz2IxHQTUNk)

Posting regularly and creating conversation with customers is linking a business blog to another form of social media. Some of the most popular are facebook, twitter, the new myspace, digg, stumbleupon and linked in can help drive traffic to the blog as well as the company’s search engine optimization, or SEO. The more a brand is seen, the more it will be recognized, and trusted.

Reader loyalty can’t be bought-so it’s best to make sure they are comfortable with all aspects of the company, including social media. Encouraging readers to share the blog content can spread loyalty, as the content becomes more credible when delivered by a personal contact. Incentives such as coupons and follow backs can be given to readers to encourage them to share the content with their friends.

Businesses of any size can profit from having a blog. Blogs serve multiple functions including initiating contact with various audiences and building relationships to driving traffic to corporate websites. Blogs are a key component in social media, tying all other mediums together in one place.

Additional sources:

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/5014/Study-Shows-Business-Blogging-Leads-to-55-More-Website-Visitors.aspx

http://blog.iacquire.com/2012/08/09/5-psychological-principles-behind-effective-social-media-content/

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Qualitative & Quantitative Research

In conducting research, there is a variety of ways to do it. However, research, especially social research can be split into two categories:

QUALITATIVE research is usually more dependent on words, and is based more on answering questions than asking them. In-depth interviews, content analysis, and focus groups are a few examples of ways qualitative research is conducted.

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QUANTITATIVE research has a more numerical base, and asks questions that can be answered with numbers.

Qualitative research has many advantages, a few of which are that it produces more in-depth information, and uses the participant’s observations to describe the background, or setting of the data when it was collected.

However, qualitative research also has many disadvantages, especially when it comes to eliminating researcher bias. When gathering the information, it has to be done through in-depth processes, which makes the content gathered very subjective.

Quantitative research is much easier to gather large quantities of data with, and is easier to generalize. Quantitative research is also easier to duplicate, giving more credibility to the work, and provides options for expansion.

Some of the disadvantages for quantitative research are that the research can be too abstract, and the context of the study can be ignored.

Something important to remember is that all qualitative research can be turned into quantitative data during the coding process, and assigning qualitative variables a value.

Both qualitative and quantitative research can be used while gathering data in regards to social media. Qualitative research can be especially helpful when deciding what types of content to put on various social media outlets. Quantitative research would be very useful when trying to figure out the impact social media efforts are making on the target audiences.

Social media can also be used to conduct research for qualitative research. Social media outlets such as facebook conduct surveys to gather research all the time. Many times they utilize the information gathered by cookies to personalize the data to the individual.

Sources:

http://www.qsrinternational.com/what-is-qualitative-research.aspx

http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/qualdeb.php

SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis has recently become a mainstay in my life. I’ve been in various classes with group projects where we are required to put together a SWOT analysis before progressing into the project.

So what is a SWOT Analysis?

By basic definition a SWOT analysis via the Business Dictionary is “an evaluation of Situation analysis in which internal strengths and weaknesses of an organization, and external opportunities and threats faced by it are closely examined to chart a strategy. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.”

In doing a SWOT analysis, an overview of the company quickly becomes apparent.

Strengths show the aspects of the company that are particularly good. Generally one company’s strength is another company’s weakness within the same industry.

Weaknesses are areas where there is room for improvement. All companies have weaknesses in one form or another, even if it is that they are too good at what they do and are a one-stop shop for their consumers.

Opportunities are the circumstances unique to the company or industry that provide room for expansion. Opportunities can arise from within the company, competitors, resources, and a variety of other factors.

Threats are factors or competitors that could be potentially harmful to the company. Threats can come from a variety of sources, but are generally monitored closely to prevent any damage to the company.

SWOT Analyses generally include stakeholder analysis, or the view that individuals will have on the company’s proposed or current actions. An overall industry analysis can also be very helpful, to know what the rest of the industry is facing.

I see SWOT Analysis as a great starting point whenever companies are needing an evaluation, or wanting to make adjustments. SWOT Analysis provides a great general overview, and is a timeless business tool.

 

Sources:

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/SWOT-analysis.html

http://seowizardry.ca/social-media-swot-analysis