December 1, 2016: A new survey from TapInfluence of 1,753 social media influencers validates the idea that maintaining an active blog is essential for anyone seeking online visibility and influence. When asked to rank which social media platform was most important to them, the influencers ranked their personal blog as #1, well ahead of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Vine, and Medium.com.
When asked to rank which social media platform was most important to them, the influencers ranked their personal blog as #1
TapInfluence didn’t publish the exact reasons why so many influencers prefer their blogs to pages on Facebook, Twitter, or other network. But it’s clear that blogs and domains have many inherent advantages over social network pages, including:
1. The ability to provide all important information in one place. Well-designed personal blogs combine the various platforms, feeds, and other properties maintained by the influencer all in one convenient place. For example, Brian Solis, a prominent social media influencer (who also happened to author the TapInfluence report), uses his home page to comprehensively list all his various social media presences all on one place. In doing so, he can show prospects the full spectrum of his activities, as well as impressively demonstrate his fluency with every relevant platform. In effect, his personal blog functions as a complete “resume” in its own right, presenting a much “bigger” picture than could be provided by any single social network.
2. Full-featured, transparent analytics. Influencers care about accurate data. The analytics software provided by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks has improved, but none currently compares with the accuracy and granularity provided by Google Analytics (the most popular site-based analytics suite), especially when and Google Search Console is incorporated. Being able to see – on a real-time basis, the effectiveness of one’s online efforts provides a real advantage. As has been reported widely in the past several months, Facebook has been forced to disclose that some crucial metrics provided to marketers were materially wrong. While the traffic measured by Google Analytics is often suspect due to various types of spam, it is much easier to detect bogus traffic there than via the analytics software provided by any social network.
3. Unlimited creative freedom and flexibility.
The creative palette of a personal blog is effectively unlimited, unlike the template-driven tools provided by social media networks, which enforce a cookie-cutter look and feel.
3. Unlimited creative freedom and flexibility.Social media influencers all seek to build unique, memorable personal brands. The creative palette of a personal blog is effectively unlimited, unlike the template-driven tools provided by social media networks, which enforce a cookie-cutter look and feel. Additionally, sites and blogs provide a much higher level of creative freedom than social networks can provide. Personal blogs, unlike Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages, are only bound by the TOS of their individual publisher (and perhaps the blog’s hosting provider). Content that might be banned or otherwise regulated on a 3rd party social network can be published without fear of network censorship. (Of course, if an influencer resorts to underhanded tactics such as failing to disclose paid posts, he/she can run afoul of Google’s rules on the subject, which can result in downranking or delisting.)
4. Accumulating value. When an influencer posts worthy content, and is rewarded with a link from an external site, the value of such a link accrues to the influencer’s domain, not the domain of Facebook, Medium, LinkedIn, et al. The result is improved search engine visibility. Building this kind of long-term “link equity” is impossible in a social media that eschews the all important branded domain.
5. Future-proofing. Social networks and streaming platforms come and go. Blogs and domains stick around as long as the hosting bill is paid and the site is maintained. Even a cursory knowledge of Web history will show you that these “mega hot” platforms ebb and flow with the tides. Remember Myspace? Friendster? Ello? Geocities? TheGlobe? How about Vine or MeerKat? Nobody else does either.
Why influencer opinion counts on this issue
Influencers are among the most pragmatic of social media users. As TapInfluence’s study reveals, their main goal is to make money (although most of them believe that brands underpay them.) Consequently, their judgment is reality-based and should be respected. These folks know social media better than most of us, and if, in their opinion, a blog/domain is a better platform for their business than any social media network out there, you should pay attention.
Make no mistake: social media and micro-blogging has its proper place in the Web marketing mix. You should have an active presence on Twitter, Facebook, and the other platforms, if for no other reason than your competition is likely there. But don’t make the mistake of building your Web marketing castle on somebody else’s land (there’s actually a term for this unfortunate situation; it’s called “digital sharecropping”).
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