Here’s a question for your brand: To blog, or not to blog? Four out of five Internet users not only visit social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but they also visit blogs. Brands should take heed of the fact that 50% of social media users worldwide follow brands through social media. Online blogging site WordPress (which hosts Blogging Out Loud) is home to more than 70 million blogs worldwide, and micro-blogging site Tumblr hosts more than 39 million blogs worldwide, including ones for brands like Huggies, IBM and J.Crew. While the popularity of Tumblr especially makes some traditional, long-format blogging seem almost passé, that hasn’t stopped some of the best brand-centric blogs that really get it, namely those for Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines and Marriott. Ever-available new platforms and new tools are giving brands plenty opportunity to connect and share.
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems like you can teach an “old blog” new tricks. New apps and websites are giving blogging a second life; did you get the RSS?
These 6 tools will boost your brand’s blog potential, and help you maximize your online connections:
1. Storify — Open for public use for a little more than a year, Storify is a website that allows users to curate and preserve stories using social media sites, photo and video. While the media has latched on to Storify to cover major ongoing news stories such as the 2011 London riots, marketers could – and should – consider it’s potential for brand building. Consider it a “best of social media” marker that you can comment on and control.
2. Diigo — This tool, which supports Android and iOS operating systems, helps you track articles for later posts; you can even add sticky notes. Try Diigo for free before signing on for the premium plan, which runs users $5 per month for unlimited use.
3. Flickr — If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Flickr is a marketer’s pot of gold. Approximately 3,500 photos–some free to use, distribute and share–are uploaded every second to the photo sharing site, which is home to more than 5 billion pics.
4. Instagram — We just can’t get enough. Since its launch in October 2010, this photo sharing site and social network has amassed more than 30 million accounts–so impressive that Facebook acquired the company this past April. Every second, a new user is gained and 58 photos are uploaded.
5. InboxQ — Think of it as the Quora of social media. InboxQ, which recently was made available for Hootsuite, allows users to create keyword searches for topics that interest them. It then scans Twitter for people discussing said topics. It’s like a Google alert for your Twitter feed, and it’s awesome.
6. BlogPress — While Blogger, TypePad and WordPress all have their own mobile apps, BlogPress allows users to manage several blogs from different platforms in one place. It also integrates with most major social media outlets, including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube.
Note: Blogging Out Loud will return on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. Happy Labor Day and end of summer.