Building an Online Presence

How To Build An Online Presence For Your Small Business

The Basics of Building an Online Presence

You've heard you need an online presence but might be wondering:

  • What exactly is it?
  • How do I get one?
  • Are people just referring to Facebook or Twitter?

What is an Online Presence?

Simply put, an online presence refers to your internet footprint. It's made up of your website, social media accounts, blogs, and any places your business is mentioned online such as comments, posts, feedback and more. Besides encompassing all of the internet chatter about your brand, your online presence can definitely positively impact your company because it exposes more potential customers to your business.

Start With Your Website

First things first, you need to build a website if you don't have one already. Think of this as your home base since ultimately your other internet influencers like your Facebook account, Twitter page or blog will probably link back to this page. If you're unfamiliar with programming languages or do not know html code, you might want to try a "what you see is what you get" website builder that allow you to "drag and drop" your design elements into an already made template, along with step-by-step instructions.

As you begin to build, keep in mind what goals you want your website to achieve. For example, if you own a brick and mortar clothing store, you might want your website to entice more customers to stop by to see what's new. However, if your business is online only, you'll want to design your website to show off your items and process orders.

Craft a Plan

As marketing continues to evolve thanks to new technology, it's essential to craft your online presence into something that's

  • Strategic
  • Integrated
  • Efficient
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It's tempting to hop on the trendiest idea or newest tool, but a plan of action will maximize your precious time and have the highest payoff. Research, analyze and choose which platforms you'd like to regularly interact with like Twitter, Facebook, a blogging platform, Instagram and more. Some of these may be more beneficial to your business than others so it pays to do your homework before you dive in.

Once you have chosen your list and created your accounts, think about how often you'll want to be active and post new content on each platform. Perhaps you'd like to start with a new blog post and two Facebook posts each week, along with three tweets each day. If this seems like too little or too much, you can always reevaluate and readjust your strategy once you see which tools are the best for you. You might also want to investigate ways to help manage your accounts. Twitter, for instance, has tools like Tweetdeck and HootSuite that can automatically post on your behalf and alert you when someone mentions your business.

Make Content Easily Sharable

In order to increase your online presence, customers need to be able to find your business mentioned in lots of places and easily pass along related content. Online search engines are a prime way others can find you, so employ a keyword tool like WordTracker or Google Keywords to dig up keyword phrases related to your business. You can also ask customers what search terms they use when looking for a business like yours. Take all of these suggested terms and integrate them into content found on your website, blog, social media pages and anywhere else you post content to boost your place in search engine results.

In terms of passing along your content, how can you get it into the hands of your target audience? Try an integrated tactic like promoting your Facebook content through Twitter posts or sharing Google+ links to your online blog. You know those little icon buttons you often see on blogs and webpages? You'll definitely want to add these to your blogs, webpages and profiles so your content can be shared with just one click.

Final Thoughts

We'll give you a heads up now, building an online presence doesn't happen overnight. Yet, it's crucial to your business because it's what allows people to...

  • Find you
  • Get to know more about your company
  • Make the decision of whether or not to trust you with their business

By providing consistent value through your online content, you'll be able to interact with those who engage with your brand and start building relationships by being an active member of the online community. If frustration strikes, keep in mind that it's a process, and every day that you're interacting is one step closer toward reaching your goals.