Guys, we spend eight hours a day doing digital activities. That’s more than half the day. More than most of us sleep. And we have different identities online—we’re hobbyists (gaming), alter egos (Reddit), social butterflies (Facebook), professionals (LinkedIn), and consumers (what we’re focusing on in this post).
So whether you’re a service-based, brick-and-mortar, or online business, a strong online presence is everything today. And this does not pertain to just ecommerce. While ecommerce growth has been accelerated by the pandemic, so, too has support for local businesses. And the fact remains that 97% of consumers go online to find and research local businesses.
But as the internet evolves, so, too, does the definition of a strong online presence. In this definitive, data-backed guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know, including:
Building your online presence
What is an online presence?
An online presence is the collection of any elements for a business or individual that can be found on the internet. For a company, it may include a website, social media channels and a blog. An individuals online presence could include social media profiles, listings in employer directories or achievements that have been reported online.
For businesses, building an online presence that accurately reflects the organizational goals and culture is important in an age when most customers and prospects will perform an online search before engaging with a company. The online presence your company reflects can impact those who may interact with the business in any way, including potential new hires, existing employees and customers or clients.
How to build an online presence
As you consider how to create an online presence that appeals to your audience while reflecting the purpose and mission of the organization, you may want to consider these tips to successfully build and manage your online presence:
1. Create or update your website
A business website is essential to the success of your company. Customers, prospects and potential new hires typically search for a business online to verify its validity and learn more about it. If you have a website already, make sure to keep it updated regularly with new and engaging content.
2. Use keywords
Keywords are important to your overall online presence, as they help people find you when performing online searches. Perform research to find the keywords that are searched for most in your industry and create a list to use in your content. Include these targeted keywords frequently in the copy, including in your website headlines and body text, to establish a stronger online presence that drives traffic to your site.
3. Identify and define the value you provide
In order to appeal to a wider audience, it is important to identify the value your company provides to its target audience. A payroll software company might provide value to businesses seeking to simplify their payroll processes and operations, while a retail store provides value to customers looking for the products it sells in one location. Identifying the value your business provides can help you define that value to those who seek out your products or services.
4. Create a content strategy
Your online presence is driven by content, and that content should provide value. Creating a content strategy is an important step in the process of creating your online presence. You can begin by identifying pain points and highlighting how your business offerings alleviate those challenges. Look at what others in your industry provide to customers in the form of educational and valuable content. Examples include blog posts and articles, white papers, infographics and responses to comments and questions. By offering more valuable content through your online channels, you can create an online presence that is informative and supportive.
5. Be active on all channels
Maintaining your online presence requires you to be active online. Online activity often looks different across various industries, but you should post regularly and respond to inquiries to engage with followers and prospects. You can also look for ways to expand your reach, such as appearing on others websites, podcasts or social media platforms to provide education and information, helping to draw members of your target audience from various channels and platforms.
6. Become an early adopter
Becoming an early adopter of new social media platforms, marketing efforts and resources can help you stay ahead of your competition and achieve higher engagement rates. Stay aware of what is trending in your industry and what resources and tools are new and useful to your target audience. You can use industry news sites and perform your own research to see what might be up and coming in your field.
7. Use social media
Social media platforms have become more important to the online presence of a business in the recent past. A page on the top social media platforms can help establish the companys credibility and provide a way for users to interact and engage with the business. Social media is also helpful in reaching a wider audience, as billions of people log onto the various platforms across the globe on a regular basis.
8. Look into various marketing tools
Marketing is a key aspect of your online presence, but it is important to identify the right ways to market to your target audience. If your audience includes people in the older generations, certain techniques and efforts may not resonate or appeal to them. Younger generations often look to people they trust to get information about products and services, which has created a major push in the influencer marketing space. After you have identified your target audience, you can look for research that shows what marketing techniques are most effective and allocate your budget accordingly.
9. Establish relationships
The relationships you form with your clients, employees and others in your industry can have a significant impact on your organizations online presence. You can leverage these relationships to get positive reviews and testimonials, as well as obtain valuable content that may draw more traffic to your site or social media page. Relationships with industry experts may also lead to opportunities for your business leaders to provide content that reaches their audience. Taking the time and effort to establish and nurture business relationships is always beneficial.
10. Highlight your culture
Your online presence should reflect the goals and aims of the organization along with the company culture. Many people look for companies that support their employees and provide a positive working atmosphere. If you have unique elements of your culture, make sure to highlight those in your copy and on your social media profiles and website.
11. Build a master email list
It is important to engage with your audience frequently to keep your business in their minds and maintain a strong level of communication. In order to engage with people who are interested in what you send, build a master email list that you can use to send updates and information. Content management systems (CMSs) can simplify the process of building and sending emails and other content to your audience, and you may be able to use a CMS to create and manage your master list as well.
12. Review your results
After you have put various tools and strategies into effect to establish or improve your online presence, it is important to review the results. You can look at who is visiting your site and engaging with your content, as well as what happens after someone takes action on your website or social media page. If you find that certain marketing efforts are resonating with your audience, look at how you can ramp up those efforts, potentially diverting resources from areas that are not performing as well.
13. Track your traffic
You can also use the traffic to your site as a benchmark for your success. Your online presence should continue to draw new and former visitors as people engage with your brand and seek out what you offer on a regular basis, whether that is in the form of educational content or valuable email campaigns. As you continue to drive consistent volumes of traffic, you can utilize your stronger online presence to appeal to a wide audience.
14. Determine a process for converting leads
Creating and enhancing your online presence is part of an overall goal that involves capturing leads and increasing business growth and success. When those leads are captured, your business needs a consistent and measurable process for converting leads and turning them into customers. You can use a number of resources to convert leads, including valuable content, clear calls to action and follow-ups that identify and resolve concerns.
15. Use all available resources
You do not have to handle every step of building your online presence manually. Instead, look for tools and resources that automate the process and simplify your daily tasks. You could use an online scheduling tool to manage the release of content to your audience or schedule email campaigns to go out at a certain time each week or month. Identifying and using the resources that can benefit your business can free up your time for other manual tasks.
How important is online presence?
What are the types of online presence?
What does a strong online presence mean?
- Transactional E-commerce Sites. …
- Services-Oriented Relationship-Building Sites. …
- Brand-Building Sites. …
- Portal or Media Sites. …
- Social Networking Sites. …