Friday, July 21, 2006

Tasty Reads: Naked Conversations

I just finished reading an excellent book called Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. If you are at all interested in blogging in a business-type setting, you absolutely must read it!

First of all, I have to say it's an extremely entertaining read. It took me a while to read it, but I never even considered not finishing it. Given that I almost never finish any of the nonfiction books I start, that's very high praise.

So, on to what I took away from the book:
  1. Blogging lets small businesses reach more customers, and at a much cheaper price.

  2. Blogging humanizes enormous companies. Think how down-to-earth a company seems when its CEO or President blogs and you can leave him/her comments! And he/she actually responds back!

  3. Blogging shifts the power to the customer (where it should be, right?). Stories spread like wildfire through the blogosphere. One person can lodge a complaint on his/her blog and the next thing you know, everyone is talking about it. Ouch for that company!

  4. Blogging builds trust. A company that lets or even encourages its employees to blog will find the loyalty of its customers on the rise. Customers read the employee blogs and come to trust what the employees have to say (as long as they blog well, of course, and don't maintain completely one-sided, glowing blogs about their companies). Before long, they start to trust a company that would hire such great people.

  5. Not every company should blog. It depends a lot on the culture of the company and on whether or not the company leaders trust the employees to blog well. Companies with secrets should not blog.

  6. Traditional, one-way advertising may be on its way out. Blogging is cheaper and much more effective.

  7. Businesses need to monitor the blogosphere to see what their customers are saying about them.

  8. Businesses must react quickly to negative customer posts. The customer may have a very valid point and waiting days to go through the traditional complaint procedures will cause a company's image to plummet in the blogosphere. Immediate response is essential!
The book also offers advice for safe blogging, as well as lots of examples of good blogs to read.

The best part is all the stories that illustrate the above points. Real examples of businesses using blogging to their advantage, as well as examples of where blogging could have helped diffuse a crisis.

Also: Check out the Naked Conversations blog.

*Kat's Konclusion: Yum! Highly Recommended!*

Side Note: I'm hoping Tasty Reads (with it's cheesy "Kat's Konclusion") will become a regular feature as I read books and blog about them. We shall see. It takes me a while to get through books these days.

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