Earlier this month we hosted a fireside chat with some talented bloggers and gave you an inside scoop on the conversation. We promised to tackle the challenges small businesses face in going social, so here’s the first of three in the series: Going Social.

You’ve decided a blog could help you and your business. Great news. But what next? As a small business there can be a thousand and one things to do. When it’s competing with getting new business in through the door, servicing existing clients, and dealing with the invoicing and everything else that needs your attention, the initial challenge of getting your blog up and running can be daunting.

What to write about, how to deal with the technology? The questions are numerous. The good news is setting up a blog needn’t be such a difficult hurdle to clear.

Here’s our guide on setting up a blog:

  • Decide what you are going to blog about
    As a small business that should be the easy part. You want to share your expertise, thoughts, and observations on the industry you’re in. Think about your audience and what they’d like to read about and what would be relevant. Speak to them and find out. Have a look at the competition and see what they do. What do you like to read about? What helps your business?
  • Think about style and branding
    What are you going to call your blog? Something memorable and distinctive helps you stand out. When it comes to the content, blog posts should be short, link to other interesting content, use pictures or infographics where appropriate. Be different, distinctive, original. Have something to say. Blog readers. Love. Lists. Think about ways of presenting your thoughts in interesting and engaging ways.
  • Here’s the tech bit
    So, you’ve thought about what you want to say. How to get publishing? You have a choice to use a number of free blogging sites; WordPress and Google’s Blogger are just a couple. Go on the sites and you can be set up in no time.Or you can choose to pay to host your own blog site. This means you can choose your own domain name for example and provides you with more flexibility. This will take a bit more time to work through but here is some helpful advice from Mashable if you’re going to set up your own, hosted WordPress site.Of course if you already have a company website, you can install software like WordPress on your site and blog directly from it. This might be where you need help from your own website developer, particularly if you want to look at ways of making money through the site such as by offering advertising.
  • Build your readership
    You’re up and running. You’ve started to write posts. But if no one reads them what’s the point? This is where you need to think about building your community. Don’t think of your blog in isolation. Think about how it works with other social media tools you use such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. For example, you can share content from your blog on your LinkedIn account and it will be shared with your network.Social media dashboards like Hootsuite will help you manage all your various social media accounts and once set up, will reduce your workload when it comes to sharing content.Also, add your blog address to the bottom of your emails, you’d be surprised how many people will access it via that route.Monitoring tools like Google Analytics will help you measure readership and how your community is growing.

And finally…
A blog can be an entertaining and effective way of communicating with your customers and prospects. Be original and regular with your posts and you might be surprised at the impact it can have on your business.

Read the other posts in our Going Social series: