Whether you’re just a small local business or a large commercial enterprise, the same rule applies: building and maintaining a strong online presence is vital for success.
Essentially, your online presence consists of the many identities you’ve created and engaged with over the internet. Through it, others perceive your brand as a single cohesive unity that can be interacted and communicated with inside the digital sphere. Think of it as the computerized human avatar in the Matrix movies where people create virtual representations of themselves in the Matrix ‘reality’. Like them, you aren’t acting in a vacuum but in a highly competitive virtual sphere where companies vie for dominance within their respective niches. In such a dog-eat-dog environment it’s not always easy to get your word across. That is, if you aren’t doing one of the following five things:
1. Provide a rich user experience
The typical consumers of today are extremely demanding. What’s more, they have zero patience for unresponsive sites, poor navigation, and lacklustre designs. The first impression they make of your website will practically make or break your business. According to Forrester, 53% of customers won’t complete their online purchases unless they receive quick answers to their questions. That is why creating a better user experience should be your number-one priority. A website should be dynamic, intuitive, and up-to-date with relevant content on blogs and forums. Moreover, you should work on optimizing your content for both search-engines and mobile-phones, as the vast majority of people nowadays won’t even bother reading your posts if they aren’t mobile-friendly or on top of SERPs.
2. Piggyback on trends and hot topics
Snooping around the competition is always an excellent way to sniff out golden opportunities and content which is currently in high demand. Additionally, you can utilize social media monitoring to keep up with upcoming trends and hot topic. For example, at the moment visual content is king on social media, having six times the engagement of regular text-based posts. So, no matter what type of business you’re running, posts that have videos and images, especially infographics, attached to them have become the norm on social media. Also, don’t forget to utilize the power of hashtags to get on board the hype train to squeeze out some of that extra exposure.
3. Focus on branding
Spreading brand awareness is an excellent way of increasing online exposure by creating loyal fans and followers to act as brand ambassadors. Apple’s fans in particular are a prime example of this as they’re exceptionally vocal, both online and offline, about their brand choices. One way of accomplishing this feat is by incorporating your business into a more certified legal structure to show that you aren’t a mere fly-by-night operator but a legit business. According to NSBA, as much as 65% of small business owners register their businesses in the form of a C or an S-corporation, another 23% do so in the form of a LLC, whereas only 12% opt for sole-proprietorships and partnerships. Other ways of promoting brand awareness include: having a genuine brand logo, maintaining a consistent voice on all platforms, and having better engagements with your target audience. Those are some of the fundamental you need to consider even before you register a company.
4. Engage on social media
Speaking of engagement, writing a few posts and then calling it a day will yield little results on social media. Instead, what you should be doing is actively engaging with your target audience on a daily basis. You do this by providing your followers with fresh and exciting content, by responding to each and every comment if possible, and by offering valuable insight in your particular area of expertise. A general rule of thumb is to focus more on helping others rather than just cold hard selling. So, don’t be afraid to show your human side every once in a while by cracking some jokes here and there, hopefully to your followers’ amusement.
5. Build relationships
Finally, the internet is a vast ocean, and as such you cannot expect to traverse it all by yourself. Forging powerful relationships with other brands by guest blogging, joining their podcasts, and so on, will help expand your reach. This way you open up your content to a whole new audience. Also, by sharing content made by others you show people that you do care while at the same time entertaining your own audience with minimal fuss. In addition, digital agencies can also become powerful allies if you build a strong, personal, relationship with them fairly early on.
Follow these five tips and enjoy sharing your content with the world, and beyond