Commercial Blogging – A Trusting Environment

Over the past few weeks, we have been investigating various organisations and companies that use social media to their advantage. Now, we will look at an example of how company uses their blog to enhance their business and how this influences the value levers associated with Enterprise 2.0.

Professional Advantage is financial management software and service provider based out of Sydney. For 25 years they have been providing many large, high-profile businesses with the software and support they need, and have been successful at doing so. In late 2010, Professional Advantage established their own blog, dealing with a variety of related topics including business process management, budgeting, forecasting and business intelligence. The blog itself shows integration into other forms of social media, with the company’s Facebook, Instagram and Youtube all linked, with their own twitter timeline in the sidebar. So how has this blog enhanced their business?

Speaking generally, there is no doubt that social technologies play an important role to the revenue of a business providing a professional service. According to McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), that value comes in at around $240 to $360 billion dollars annually. Blogs have been shown to have a large influence on consumer behaviour. A 2013 Technorati report found that blogs are the 4th most used online service, the 3rd most likely to influence a purchase, and most importantly, the 5th most trusted online service. Consumers consider blogs to be trustworthy and as such are very popular and influential. As a refresher, MGI identified 10 value levers applying to four segments of the value chain that can add value in organisational functions. In the case of this blog published by Professional Advantage, the greatest results will be seen marketing and sales segment.

Scrolling through the many blog posts on the Professional Services website, a few things stick out. Firstly, on the initial visit to any post, I am greeted with a ‘Speak to the Experts’ popup form allowing the company to respond to any query I may have. While popups aren’t usually considered the most favourably object on your website, this one allows the company to directly engage with each individual guest if they so wish, creating a sense of individuality for each blog visitor. Each post also allows features live chat functionality, a common addition to many company websites over the past few years and provides several benefits. This again helps each visitor to build a rapport. Each post can also be commented on, encouraging conversations with the customers that may well be potential customers. The blog is aesthetically very pleasing, with each post correctly tagged for easy searching and author profiles at the bottom of every page.

Lastly, the actual content of the blog is a mix of general discussion, but also about individual products that the Professional Advantage sells. With titles such as ‘7 reasons to be excited about Microsoft Dynamics AX 7’ and ‘Upgrade or re-implement? A Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 story’, the intention of Professional Advantage is clear. That is, to discuss a relevant topic about their newest offering with the appearance of an unbiased slant. This is important; on one hand Professional Advantage is creating a connection and a rapport with a visitor, while on the other providing them with advice that may or may not be persuasive towards the sale of their newest products. Through the community they have created, they can also gather insights about what products customers find appealing or worthy of discussion, and can therefore target their product appropriately. This is an excellent example of a company using a blog to successfully create value across marketing and sales through a professional blog.

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