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Best practices in blogging... No, really.

I am regularly asked for advice on the how-to's of social media from people/companies who haven't stopped to consider their intentions or desired outcomes. Before I will tell them how to develop a blog or a tweet sheet, I walk them back to the beginning: "Why do you want to use these social media channels? What do you hope to accomplish?"

Most companies have jumped onto the social media bandwagon like middle America jumped on CBs in the 1970s. Somehow we were all convinced we couldn't drive cross country without having a superficial conversation with a trucker on the same interstate. Fads pass.

So, is social media a fad?

Nope - not at all because there's a commercial benefit to social media (unlike CBs) if used correctly. And that's the key. Social media is inherently interactive. Most people do what I am doing and send their words out in to the ether without taking the time to follow these best practices:
  1. You have to blog regularly - probably daily - to generate a regular following.
  2. You need to stick with your theme/mission/purpose and not wander aimlessly across unrelated topics.
  3. You have to read blogs that are similar to your own and comment on those blogs to begin a back and forth dialogue and to grab audience members who share similar interests.
  4. You really should include pictures for all the visual people.
  5. You have to be fully transparent and real - no corporate shine - and technically, you shouldn't even edit your posts before posting them!
All of the above takes time and patience - and I don't have the time or the patience. Ha! Now, if I was getting paid to do this? Or if I was paying someone to do this for my corporation? Now that would be different.

I'd love any bloggers out there to share successes you've had and/or other best practices you'd add to my list.