Guest Post by Bridgette Hernandez
You need to create an online presence for your startup or small business. That’s the advice you receive in nearly every article written on the topic launching or growing a small business. What is often missing, is instructions on how to do this exactly. It’s certainly a more complex undertaking than just creating social media accounts and publishing a website.
Your online presence will only do you any good if people actually come to your website, read your blog posts, and engage with your social media posts. The phrase if you build it they will come just doesn’t apply here. So, let’s start with the basics of establishing your presence, then making that presence work for you.
Building your website
Your website is going to be your business’ home on the internet. This will be the place where people come to learn about your brand, become educated about your products, and ultimately make purchases. It must be easy to navigate, mobile friendly, fast loading, optimized for search, and offer a great user experience. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:
- Select a URL for your website that is memorable and relevant to your business.
- Register your URL and choose a web hosting option.
- Build your website or hire a professional web designer.
- Set up shopify or other ecommerce options if applicable.
- Create the content for your site.
- Publish your site.
Many of the strategies that follow will focus on driving traffic to your website, so it should be as close to perfect as you can make it.
Creating social media strategy
Ethan Dunwill, content manager at Hot Essay Service says, “Too many small businesses nullify the positive impacts of social media marketing by jumping into it too quickly, and doing too much. You don’t need to be everywhere all the time. Slow down, create a road map, and work from that.”
If you haven’t developed some detailed customer personas, it’s time to do that. One attribute that should be part of each persona are the social media platforms where they are likely to spend time. Start with the platforms where you are most certain to connect with your target audience. Then answer the following questions:
- Will we focus on native content, paid advertising or both?
- How often will be share content?
- Which team members will be authorized to share content?
- What are the guidelines for publishing and sharing content?
Blogging And Other Content
Businesses create and share content for a variety of reasons. They can use it to provide information to their customers, create engagement, establish thought leadership, connect with industry influencers, drive traffic to their website, and improve their online presence over all. There are several types of content including:
- Blog posts that are hosted on your own site
- Articles and guest posts that are hosted on other website
- Web and landing page content
- Advertising content
- Videos and other visual content
Blog posts, articles, guest posts, and visual content are the types of content that are most likely to help you connect with your audience, earn engagement, and establish thought leadership. It’s imperative that the content you publish is well-written and relevant. It’s not unusual for businesses to seek outside help with this task. Here are some sources to consider:
- Grammarly — A free, easy to use Grammar Checking Tool
- Supreme Dissertations — Offers businesses professional copywriting services
- Canva — This easy to use tool helps amateurs create engaging visual content
- Rewarded Essays — Another reputable source for copywriting, proofreading, and editing
- Buzz Sumo — Use this to help find trending content and for competitive analysis
SEO is the process of optimizing your website and content so search engines place links to your website at or near the top of relevant search engine results. This is a complex undertaking. Many people hire professionals just to handle SEO for them. Implementing SEO means:
- Understanding search engine algorithms and keeping up with changes to those
- Testing your website for SEO optimization
- Identifying relevant keyword phrases and optimizing content for those phrases
- Creating and publishing quality content on your website
- Earning backlinks from other sites
- Performing on site SEO optimization such as creating a site index, making pages mobile friendly, and using tags appropriately
- Optimizing for local search results
Yes, ultimately this is about making sales. However, the point of creating an online presence isn’t to use the web as a podium or loudspeaker. It’s to engage people in conversations and development ongoing relationships with people. It’s about establishing your company’s reputation, and growing your brand. The interactions you have with people online is engagement. This comes in the way of social media shares and likes, comments, and online discussions.
It’s key that you create and curate content that motivates people to engage with you, and that you are responsive when they do. As you might expect, the best way to create engagement is to share content that grabs attention. Don’t be afraid to share strong opinions. Post content that answers questions, and starts interesting conversations. The amount of engagement you get is also influenced by the quantity of content you post. Active social media accounts earn more engagement, but that’s not the most important consideration. Your social media content should have a consistent voice that aligns with your branding.
There are resources that can help you maintain that consistency including, GrabMyEssay, Hemingway App, and Phraseexpress. These resources will help you find professional writing assistance, analyze your writing for quality and readability, and use text to speech to create content that is natural.
Low funnel content includes advertising and other promotional content. This is the content that is used to engage customers who are close to making a purchasing decision, and lead those customers to your landing pages. A landing page is a web page that is designed to provide customers with more information about a product, service, or special offer, and then encourage that person to answer a call to action. This might include subscribing to a newsletter, downloading a trial, requesting a price quote, or purchasing something.
Your landing pages are the last thing that people will see before they decide to convert or not. They should be informative, clarify any offer or details that could be ambiguous, evoke a sense of trust, and make it exceedingly easy for customers to convert.
You can use website and social media analytics to learn how fruitful your efforts at creating an online presence have been. This is software that tracks and reports on website traffic, video views, click through rates, time on page, and other factors. You can use the information from analytics to determine which efforts are working and which need to be retooled.
Creating your online presence is a complex and ongoing process. Whether you decide to take on this task yourself, or use outside help, the information here should help you to create a road map to establishing your business online.