5 Ways To Improve Your Online Presence
Now more than ever, how we are perceived digitally has a huge effect on the customers we attract and why they choose one company over a competitor. The online presence of a company is the equivalent to the shop window on a high-street, we need to make sure that our online identities have as much thought and time put into them as any other way we get ourselves in front of potential customers. When we talk about online presence, we are referring to the sum of all profiles, interactions and digital platforms your business uses online, from websites to social medias to the owner of the businesses LinkedIn profile. In this blog we are going to give you 5 tips which can help improve your online presence through all of those platforms.
1. Know Who You Are Talking To
Having a clear idea of your target customer is one of the most important factors to consider when looking to build your online presence. One size does not and should not fit all. If you are trying to make content which connects with as many people as possible it is unlikely to connect with anyone because it isn’t specific to any individuals business or situation. There should be a balance between broad appeal and targeting a specific market/group but knowing the main audience you want to attract will help not only with where you put the content, but when creating the content itself. What does this target audience need? What are their interests? What can you help them with? Starting conversations and creating content around these questions will ensure you have a focus to your digital marketing, you aren’t shooting blindly at anything that moves, you are carefully devising your targets and aiming the content directly at them.
Quick Tip Number 1: Focus on a few key platforms or techniques to begin with. Think about whether it is Social Media or SEO you want to use, don’t try and be on everything, think quality not quantity. For example if your target audience is mainly on Facebook and LinkedIn you should focus on those platforms first.
2. Create & Distribute High Quality Content
This is the crux of building your online presence, your content has to be good. These days people just simply will not accept mediocre content such as poor-quality images or bad sounding videos or lacklustre graphics. We as a population are constantly subjected to increasingly creative and attention-grabbing content, whether that is through social media or on TV or YouTube etc, the bar for what makes something acceptable is continually rising. Your content, no matter what it is, needs to look good. However, looking good is not enough in itself, the content needs to have a purpose, it needs to solve a problem or catch the customers eye, it needs to be different and interesting. High quality doesn’t just mean ‘a lot of pixels’ it means the content has worth. Show who you are and what you do, teach your audience, answer questions. Gaining attention isn’t about having the flashiest content with the biggest budget, it is about finding what content your audience wants and needs and providing it to them. Have fun with it, experiment, and find what is right for you and your customers.
3. Highlight What Makes You Different
One of the most difficult things to do online is stand out. The marketplace is quite saturated and there is a lot of noise to cut through, this is due to the fact that both now and in the future more and more sales will be facilitated online, everyone is online because everyone needs to be online. The question is, what makes you different from all those other companies? How can you diversify yourself from the competition? The best way to answer these questions is to go back to your WHY. Why did you start the business? What did you think the marketplace was missing? You can stand out from the crowd, build trust and promote your brand by education your audience with content that highlights your why. No two businesses are the same, they may sell the same product in the same sector to the same people, but each business is full of unique employees and owners with unique points of view and stories. These stories are a good place to start and will allow you to build more meaningful, emotional connections with your audience and highlight why they should choose to work with you over the competition.
For more on finding your WHY check out this great TED Talk by Simon Sinek!
Quick Tip Number 2: Consistency is key. In your content, your conversations, your branding, your tone of voice and everything in-between, you should have a familiar and recognisable style/aesthetic. It may take time to find the right style and voice for your business, but after you have it you need to make sure that all the elements of your online identity are singing to the same tune.
4. Easy to Navigate, Mobile Friendly Website
Simply put, you need to make your digital platforms as easy to navigate as possible. Find the least complicated, most efficient way to get your message to the customer and stick with that. It is far better to be clear, concise and easy to understand than to bombard the customer with all manner of jargon, numbers and other theoretically ‘impressive’ statistics and graphs. Keep it simple. People have such short attention spans these days, if it takes them more than a second to understand what you’re saying you’ve potentially lost that sale forever. This refers to everything from website landing pages to social media posts, keep it simple. In terms of websites, this means leaving plenty of ‘white space’ on the screen, i.e. not filling the whole page with content, this makes it much easier for the customer to see what the important points are, they will focus more on those and as a result be more knowledgeable about what you do and how you can help them. When it comes to mobile, it cannot be stressed enough that your mobile site needs to be just as intuitive and competently designed as the desktop site, over 50% of website visitors use their mobile to access the sites.
5. Engage With Your Audience
Conversations build connections, connections build relationships, relationships build trust, trust leads to sales & referrals. This remains the same whether you’re at a face to face networking event, or conversing with your audience on social media… It does have ‘Social’ in the name after all. One of the best ways to increase your presence online is simply to be more present online, it sounds almost silly or obvious, but it is remarkable how many businesses, business owners and employees simply aren’t actively promoting themselves and starting conversations with their customers. Many companies implement stock imagery and un-creative, generic content to simply tick a box and say, ‘we posted today’, but linking to the other points we have made in this blog, just posting is not enough. It has to be the right content at the right time to the right people… One of the easiest ways to do that is simply by messaging people, connecting with people, starting conversations. This can be with new customers or old ones, or competitors or other businesses in your sector. Being part of a conversation immediately puts your company into people’s mind, even if it is subliminal, people will remember “Oh yeah, Steve the owner of SO & SO PROMOTIONS” sent me a nice message on LinkedIn, maybe he could help you with advertising the event you are putting on”… Bingo, a free lead… Now I’m not saying this will work every time and cause drastic increases in your social media followers etc, but its always better to be in the conversations than to be on the outside.