Blog or microblog?
The stats are pretty hard to deny. Blogging leads to more traffic and more leads. If you blog on at least a weekly basis, you can double the number of leads. With so much buzz about Twitter and Facebook, blogging seems downright old school. Social networking has not replaced blogging, any more so than cardio exercises replace strength training. They work very different aspects.
A major difference between social networking and blogging is social networking is active and blogging is passive. Google does a rather poor job of indexing the feeds of social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Your social networking campaigns have a very limited shelf life. They can last as long as it takes for your post to scroll off the bottom of a user's wall.
Google seems to really like blogs. So much so it has a dedicated search option for blogs. Blog posts are indexed and persistent. A blog posted a year ago can still be bringing in traffic. From an SEO perspective, links to your Facebook page or your Twitter account don't help your page rank. Links to your self-hosted blog do.
Also consider your demographics. Blogs attract educated, professional readers who appreciate careful, in depth, and honest opinion and analysis. With so much of our media given over to "churnalism" (professional publications running press releases in the place of real investigative news), blogging represents an honest alternative.
Another interesting demographic statistic is, depending on source, blogging attracts a majority female audience. If you're a business trying to chase the elusive female consumer, women are more willing to take the time to read over your blogs and weigh your words.
Hosted or Self Hosted?
If you decide blogging is important for your company and lead generation, the question you have to decide is "hosted" or "self-hosted". Hosted means the blog and database reside on another web site. Google's Blogger and Wordpress are the two best known hosted blog services. Self-hosted means the blog and database resides on your company's site. Self-hosting offers the best SEO potential, since when anyone links to your blog, they're linking to your company's actual URL (e.g., www.mycompany.com/blog/post.html).
There are many sites out there that will suggest good free software for self hosting and step by step instructions on how to set one up. Just google.
If you're going the hosted route, for many it comes down to Google's Blogger vs Wordpress. It's a bit of a Coke or Pepsi choice. Google has the advantage of making it easy to run Google ads for some extra revenue. Wordpress, at least in my opinion, has better metrics and more add on features.
An interesting hybrid between blogging and Social Networking is the "micro-blogging" service Tumblr. Tumblr is blogging for the mobile generation. It was one of the first services to adopt the ability to post via email scheme. Tumblr tends to encourage photo blogging and integrates with Twitter, Facebook, and the Feedburner RSS system.