You work hard attending to the day-to-day operations of your business and sometimes, you just can’t find any room to squeeze in time for one more thing. But according to Webrunner, “…staying on top of your company’s online presence, building it, nurturing it—and, unfortunately, sometimes putting out fires—should be on your to-do list every single day.”

So how do you know where to invest your time and which digital resources to use to effectively build a strong online presence? After reading a fair amount of content on the subject, we noticed there were several suggestions that kept coming up over and over. Here’s what we found:

All Businesses, No Matter The Size, Need a Website

On the subject of having a website, Duck Tape Marketing  has this to say:

“According to Google, 97% of consumers use the web to search for local businesses – and if the vast majority of your potential customers are online, you should be, too. Having a strong online presence is a crucial component of your marketing strategy, no matter what size your business is or what industry it belongs to.”

All businesses, regardless of size, should have a website. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should include the essential information consumers need to easily contact or locate you. If you don’t have a website—even a basic one—you could be losing a lot of potential customers by not investing in a tool that’s relatively easy to set up and doesn’t cost much.

As of 2015, over 3 billion people were using the Internet every day, according to Money. Having a website helps you connect to Internet users, establish credibility for your brand, and gives you a place to showcase your products and services (it’s sort of like an online brochure, but less expensive than printed ones).

Additionally, adding quality content to your website will help you establish your brand as an expert in your industry, as well as functioning as a marketing tool for attracting new customers and providing value and a sense of community for current customers.

Get Involved With Social media

“Why is social media important to businesses? Because your brand doesn’t really exist online if you’re not represented across all social channels – and regularly interacting with your followers, journalists who cover your industry, thought leaders and tastemakers, etc.”

Source: The Content Factory

As the The Content Factory says, social media “is the best tool to connect with and learn from consumers and industry leaders” and leads to real relationship building. It gives you an opportunity to read status updates and gain valuable insights that can help you adjust your marketing strategy based on what kind of posts your customers and peers love to share. Social media is also great for connecting with non-competing businesses and other influencers in your industry.

Not every social media channel will be relevant to your business. For example, Copyblogger found more value connecting with their community through Twitter and Google+. In fact, Copyblogger’s Google+ community statistics were well beyond those of their Facebook results, so they decided to pour their energy into areas where they noticed stronger audience engagement.

Be sure to research and test social networks such as Twitter, linkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Tumbler, and Pinterest to determine which channels will work best for your business needs. From there, you’ll need to develop a plan for the type of content that will be relevant to share with your target audience. Your content should be engaging enough to capture the attention of followers and compel them to share your message.

Social media is an important component in building a strong online presence. It helps you build customer loyalty by engaging with people via channels they use in their everyday lives.

Make Time For SEO

Optimizing your website or blog content for search engines will make it easier for consumers and potential customers to find you, suggests Webrunner. Be sure to research keywords and set up your website pages correctly for maximum search results.  They are an essential part of building your online presence because, Duck Tape Marketing points out, at least 89% of consumers use search engines to research products, services, and/or businesses prior to making a purchase decision.

Not sure what SEO’s all about? We like how Duck Tape Marketing breaks it down:

What: The purpose of SEO is to make it easy for search engines to find your website and list it in their ‘organic’ (as opposed to ‘paid’) results.

Why: People tend to trust search engines, so websites that appear high in results pages are more likely to receive traffic.

How: Using search-engine friendly methods to improve your website.

Who: Everyone – anyone who has information that people want to find on the internet should be using SEO techniques.

When: All the time – SEO is an ongoing process. It’s important to monitor the information on your website and make sure it’s current and correct. Search engines also love new content, which is why starting a blog can do wonders for your SEO.

Where: Major search engines include Google, Yahoo and Bing. They connect people all over the world to the content they desire, from products to services to information.

For helpful guides on SEO, check out The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz or Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide by Google for an overview of SEO basics that will assist you in optimizing your website.

Blog Regularly

“Blogging feeds your website with new content, content that attracts visitors and holds them on your page longer,” says Webrunner.

Regularly updating your blog content demonstrates that your company is dynamic and has relevant and valuable information to share. Additionally, the Google Gods will look more kindly upon your site when you frequently update it. If you’re short on time, at least try to add some curated content to your website to continuously add fresh content without recreating the wheel.

Optimize For Mobile 

Did you know that Google now penalizes websites that aren’t mobile friendly? Optimizing your website with a responsive platform will ensure that your site is easy to view and use on all mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, etc.

But that’s not the only reason to make your website mobile friendly, according to the following quotes:

“Smartphones are a new front door to the businesses around us,” says Lisa Gevelber, vice president of marketing at Google. “We see more and more people turn to their phones prior to making an offline purchase.”

Source: internetretailer.com

A 2015 Google consumer survey found that 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit the store within a day and 18% of those searches lead to a purchase.

Source: Advertising Age

Because today’s consumers are consulting their smartphones throughout the entire shopping process, from gathering ideas and inspiration to comparing products and searching for store locations, businesses need to recognize the critical role mobile plays in the success of their online presence.

Conclusion

Obviously, we haven’t mentioned every tip and technique available for building a strong online presence, but the five things discussed in this article will get you well on your way to boosting brand awareness for your company. Now it’s up to you to nurture it!

Yes, it might take a little time and effort. But investing in your company’s online reputation through regular website updates, SEO, social media, updated content, and mobile optimization will not only help you increase Internet visibility for your business, it will provide you with invaluable ways to connect with consumers and potential customers via search and social channels they use every day.

 

About Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with other small business owners through informative articles that address their unique needs.

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