It's almost a given now that if you have a website, you also have a blog. The question for small-business owners is: Is blogging, twittering, etc., really worth your time?
A lot of bigger companies have decided it is. Just check out this list of 50 companies and how they are using social media. In these examples, I think you can find what TO do and what NOT to do when it comes to promoting your business with social media.
Check out British Airways' Twitter account. It looks like the subject lines of items in your junk mail folder. Why would anyone follow you to see that? Those who would are more likely to be annoyed than intrigued. What's worse, there's no touch of any kind of human voice to these entries. A machine is cranking these out, for all we know.
That's fine for a big company like British Airways, but a small-business owner does not have the time to write and post things that nobody reads. If you treat your blog as an advertisement, no one will read it, because people don't seek out advertising. They seek out interesting and thoughtful content. That comes from having a personal touch and displaying your expertise on your subject matter.
Here's the blog of Marriott Hotels CEO Bill Marriott.
Notice how it's written in first person, like an actual blog that someone would seek out. Notice the use of pictures—again, content that people would seek out. Most importantly, it's about subjects that are interesting and beyond the scope of the company, like John McCain and the Beijing Olympics. OK, so the post from September 8 resembles the adspeak that you do NOT want to do, but looking at the blog as a whole, I think it's pretty good.
Instead of outright promoting your company on your blog, if you write about interesting subjects in your own voice, it will actually get read—and that's what actually promotes your company and makes social media worth your time.