Michael Hyatt tells a story of meeting with another publishing CEO regarding blogging:
He asked, “How do I get started blogging?” My heart lept (sic). I knew he would have an instant audience. I, for one, would love to read what he had to say. I imagined all kinds of things I could learn from him.
Then he dashed my hopes. “Who do you use to ghost write your blog?” he asked.“Excuse me?” I choked.
“I mean, who do you use to write your blog? Could I possibly hire him or could you recommend someone that is really good?”
Honestly, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The guy obviously did not get it. I blurted out, “I don’t use a ghost writer. I write every word myself.”
He then said, “Oh, I couldn’t possibly do that. I don’t have the time.”
Without thinking, I said, “Then you shouldn’t do it at all.”
The worst thing you can do with blogging or Twitter or social networking of any kind is to set it up and then make someone else do all the work for you (the second-worst is to begin something and then let it lay fallow). Engaging with people on the Internet and within social media spheres is about making personal connections, not about being a company mouthpiece. Read through Mike’s quote up above: he recounts his anticipation of another CEO from a large publisher actively blogging about what he finds interesting and what he can share about the industry and his unique position.
He’s then very disappointed at the impersonality of his peer’s request. Why? Because he was looking to make a connection. To learn and grow within the industry by reading what someone else has to say—and to engage in conversation.
The other person’s reasoning is that he doesn’t “have the time.” This is an excuse; blogging takes hardly any time at all when done properly. I blog about things that I find interesting, and it takes so short a time to write it out that I can even easily throw up a post or two during my breaks in a work day. I find that writing about things related to my work while I am researching them actively increases my understanding of the subjects and brings my thoughts into greater clarity. In addition, it allows me to share my thoughts and opinions with a greater community and make connections with others in my industry and of like mind and interests. I hope that my posts will prove to be beneficial to at least someone out there.
I blog in the evening and in the morning about more leisure-related activities and the theological stuff that takes time for me to formulate and review for myself. Often, I’ll create a batch of posts and then pre-schedule them to space them out and keep people’s interest without overwhelming them.
Mike Hyatt has a few more words for those who are looking at getting into social media:
What some of these new converts don’t understand is that social media only works well if the communication is personal, authentic, and near-immediate…
All of this requires your personal participation. You can’t hire it done. You can’t fake it. If you’re not willing to make the personal investment, don’t bother. You won’t fool anyone.
I suggest you read the original article for a greater explanation of the above point.
Social media as a business tool is best used when you turn people loose within your organization and then set a positive example for them by doing the same thing yourself. At its heart—and moreso now that the Internet has decreased communication distances—business is about making personal connections. It’s about establishing levels of trust.
Do you have good people working for you who are passionate about their jobs and their industry and are sharp at what they do? Put them out there. Encourage them to put their name and reputation into public view and to build relationships with customers and even others within the broader industry—both in ways related to work and ways un-related to work. The company, after all, is made up of a collective of individuals, with likes, dislikes, interests, and unique personalities.
On the surface, it seems counter-productive to trust that employees’ personal Web sites will have a positive effect on your company as a whole. There’s no immediate or even measurable ROI involved in the proposition. It’s certainly not a traditional business tactic. But when you have interesting people talking and engaging people, they will blog about products and services they have worked on, and they will lend greater credibility and visibility to your organization.
In today’s market, those are outstandingly valuable commodities.