Building your online presence in a strategic and purposeful way could be the best thing you could do for your brand.
Whether you’re a business owner who wants to boost your reach for e-commerce purposes, or you work for a company that has tasked you to grow its online presence, there are specific steps you can take.
Why is building a strong online presence important?
While we’ll largely be talking about the online presence of businesses and corporate bodies, having a strong online presence is also important for individuals.
Anyone who is in the public eye or is in a leadership position must ensure that their online presence is carefully curated and managed. This is because of the direct impact that an individual’s poor online reputation can have on any associated business interests or personal branding.
There are endless examples of high-profile individuals damaging their brands and associated businesses through the injudicious use of social media. Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and owner of Tesla is the most dramatic example of this but serves as a useful one.
Since Musk personally acquired Twitter, his online antics have cost him personally more than $200 billion – a literally Guinness record-breaking loss of wealth. In 2022, Musk’s flagship company Tesla lost $700 billion in market value. It’s not just about the cash though.
There are endless articles online picking over Musk’s alleged ‘genius’ and how the Twitter acquisition puts much of this into question.
Purposefully create and curate your online presence
Few of us want to be reminded of social media posts we may have uploaded 15 years ago, and even fewer of any negative media coverage associated with our name or the name of our brand or business.
There are plenty of ways to take charge of your online identity and that of your business and ensure that it’s strong, positive and resilient. The most obvious benefit of doing so is for any brand that is selling services or products online – a poor reputation for dealing with customer enquiries or for low-quality responses can be just as damaging to the bottom line as a negative headline or blog article.
By actively working on your online reputation, you can create an online presence that can withstand any temporary knocks along the way.
Here’s how to build your online presence from the ground up
In many ways, businesses, and brands – and associated reputations – are about visibility. And while back in the day that might have meant investing in newspaper adverts and billboards, today it means investing in your online presence.
Just being online isn’t enough to generate a useful presence, which revolves around three tenets: visibility, reputation and credibility. People look for this when they search for your brand name on Google. They will want to see who you are and what you do, your track record, and how you interact online.
If you’re concerned about the time it might take to manage your online presence, be reassured that there are strategies that you can put in place without spending inordinate amounts of time. You can also work with professionals and engage an experienced online reputation manager such as Igniyte.
Make your website amazing
Having a website is not enough on its own to make sure your business stands out from the crowd. But it is a mandatory place to start. Stats show that around a third of small businesses somehow still don’t have their own website, but it is absolutely essential in order to build up your online presence.
There are loads of website builders, many with free packages for elementary-level design. It’s relatively quick and easy these days to build professional, well-designed, clean-looking web pages. Always include client testimonials or reviews on your home page landing site – this helps people quickly see who you are and what you’re about.
Manage your social media channels
Social media is necessary to build the kind of relationship with customers that people expect in 2023. Your business must go where the consumers are, and that’s on at least one of the major social media platforms. You need to maintain your presence and post regularly, create content that your customers will share and stay active.
Select the platform with care. Newer platforms are increasingly soaking up the younger generations, while 30+ stick to Facebook. Consider TikTok, Instagram and YouTube for sites that attract people under 30.
This needs to be relevant, high quality and regular. Content can be in the form of vlogs. Podcasts, online e-books and blogs. It’s likely that your website host already has some form of content management built in, but if not it’s simple to work on something like Sub stack or WordPress and link it to your website and social media channels.
Stand out with optimised content
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is something you can’t ignore. It makes it far easier for people to find you online. Local SEO is useful if you are looking for customers nearby, while longtail keywords can help you stand out in crowded industries.
At Igniyte, we work with clients across multiple sectors to finely hone their SEO strategies in order to target their online presence exactly where it needs to be.
Organise some online advertising
This is the quickest way to get some kind of notice of your brand when you’re just starting out. Bear in mind that building an online presence and reputation that organically reaches the right people is a long, skilled project and will take time. A shortcut to some visibility can be bought through online ads, whether PPC (pay-per-click) or curated digital marketing that is designed to reach a specific demographic.