Why did IBM decide to let 15,000 employees blog, moderator Paul Walker asks Todd Watson a member of IBM's software team who blogs. " If you are not participating in the conversation the silence is deafening. That goes back well-before Cluetrain. IBM was active on Compuserve chat. In a way, we've come full circle except now the audience are much bigger. Todd loves to write and he was encouraged to be a blogging evangelist.
Paul Walker asks Tom Parish of BMC for his business case. Parish notes how everyone in the audience uses search when they buy things online. Web sites are static and Google recognizes bloggers. Search engines also report on your reputation. So BMC since July went from zero to 5,000 weeky visitors with nine bloggers and a podcast on their main blogsite. Inbound callers take less time to close because they are predisposed from what they say about BMC on the phone.
Scott Allen ,co-author of the Virtual Handshake a book about blogging,--When you are small, people are not looking for your brand name, they are looking for your topic. So Exposure is the first reason for little biz to blog, Second is that you need to get people engaged. Unless your product is very cheap, it is not going to be an online impulse buy. By your blog, prospects know a bit about you before they meet you. Finally, conversations are what's happening when you are talking. Underlying conversations is the need to build relationships and blogs are tremendously powerful for building relationships.
Summary: search engine ranks, incresed traffic and decreasing time-to-sale (conversion rate) and business development all benefit from blogging.
Paul calls for rain on parade.
John Slafsky--Wilson Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosatti, the powerhouse law firm that represents Sun, Google, Netflicks, HP and a zillion startups, discusses things not to post on blogs, like secret sauce. If you are a public company, there are securities related legal issues: Employees making public statements on company time make the company liable; employers have considerable discreation to shae blog policy, can terminate or discipline imprudent employees. "There's clearly a tnsion here" between management and cultural issues. This does not mean you need some kind of prior restraint. There's a recognition that the blogosphere tends to be self-policing. "Frankly, it a lot of common sense" what topics you should or should not blog. But he warns, as blogging grows, people will get into trouble from time-to-time.
Todd says that to have an open blogging policy, you really have to trust your employees. Paul Walker chimes in, that if you don't trust your employees, then "why are they your employees. Slasky, the lawyer, note that employees are libel for damages even when they blog on company time and need to know that what they say can and will be used against them in a litigatious situation.
- Negative comments--BMC's Walker assures--there will be negative comments. Don't run away from them. Engage them. We've had spam, foreign languages they could not understand and BMC let's it stand.
- How do you build audience--Scott says . The magic f blogs is they are automatically being discovered by search engines. It takes a little longer to get the blogger traffic. More and more bloggers are following topics, ratherthan just bloggers by name.
Questions--Did customer input make a product better? Todd says. Yes. Head of IBM's Web services unit is in ongoing dialogue with custimers and it is shaping its thinking.
Concensus--enterprise blogging--is it hear to stay. The train has left the station. It's here to stay.
Technorati Tag: Blogging Enterprise