If you’ve just started your business or if you’ve been in business for years, building your online presence can be time consuming and, at times, frustrating.
But it’s also very important.
Building your online presence can be time consuming because it’s not just something that happens overnight; it can be frustrating because… well, it’s not just something that happens overnight; and it’s very important because your online presence is what allows people to find you, interact with you, and get to know, like and trust you.
What is online presence
Not sure where to start with building your online presence? You’re not alone.
There’s a lot that goes into building your online presence, from establishing your goals, to actually creating your different profiles and accounts, to having your website designed , all the way to figuring out the best ways to engage your customers and interact across these different mediums.
What are your goals?
First and foremost, it’s important that you understand what your business goals are – both short-term and long-term.
As you start to build and grow your online presence, you should be constantly asking yourself how each of your online efforts are helping you take a step towards your business goals.
Write your goals down so you can easily refer back to them when you’re checking to make sure that what you’re doing online is helping you take a step forward.
Don’t just build an online presence because you’re “supposed to”, build it strategically so that it can help your overall business goals.
Build a solid platform
For most small businesses and entrepreneurs, building a solid platform starts with your website.
Your website is your hub: a centralized place where people can go to learn more about what you have to offer, contact you, and interact and engage with your content. Things like a clear message (what your business is all about), easy-to-use navigation, a contact page, an opt in giveaway (so you can start building your email list), an about page, and some type of valuable content are required.
SEO is an important piece of the puzzle, too.
Not an SEO expert? That’s okay. There are a ton of great resources out there that can help. Or if you want to focus on your business you can leave it to the SEO experts to help.
There is a lot that goes into building your platform, but again this is the most important step.
Whether it’s via your website or through your social media channels, you should always be looking to provide consistent value first and foremost.
What content are you providing your audience?
It might be a blog, a podcast, videos or books; whatever form that content takes, make sure it’s consistent and valuable. Creating valuable content will help you gain credibility and authority in your industry or niche, which is important for your online growth and visibility.
What type of content or knowledge can you share with your community and followers that might not be your own content, but that will still be of value to them? A mix of 80 / 20 is a rule I like to follow: share other peoples’ content 80% of the time, and your own content 20% of the time.
This will not only build trust with your followers (they’ll start to recognize that you’re not just in it for yourself), it will also help you build relationships with others in your industry or niche (through sharing their content with your audience). It’s also a great way to reach others’ followers who might be interested in your content, too!
One of the greatest things about the Internet is that it allows you to be everywhere.
I don’t agree with the be everywhere strategy on social media specifically; however, I do believe in testing and then choosing two or three social channels that work best for your business.Being social doesn’t mean you HAVE to have a Facebook page, Twitter profile, Google+ profile, Pinterest board, Quora blog, YouTube channel, LinkedIn profile and so on.
But being social DOES mean you should have at least two or three of these profiles set up that you regularly post and engage on. Consistency here is key. If you’re not able to manage your social channels by posting regularly and being a part of the conversation, then it’s going to be hard to increase your following. You can of course let social media experts help you with this.
Social media can be a GREAT marketing tool to help you gain those initial fans and followers, and once you have those followers, it’s also a great tool to reach those who know, like and trust you.
Patience is key
As you can see, your online presence has huge potential to get you and your business known through various online channels. But it takes time, and so you have to be willing to be patient.
If you’re able to start building a strong platform, create consistent and valuable content, establish a presence on social media, and build meaningful relationships online, then momentum will be on your side.
Remember: the way you interact and connect with people online can help expand your reach (brand awareness) while simultaneously growing the number of fans, followers, leads and customers your business has.
You don’t have to be everywhere online, but you do have to be somewhere online.