In today’s digital age, being online (in some way or another) is the best way to reach your customers. Yes, print ads and listings in the Yellow Pages can still be useful for some ventures, but people are getting online to research new brands and products more often than ever before. Building a strong online presence is a great way to find the customers you want. However, this also means your competition is right there with you. If every business is online, how do you stand out?
Here are my best tips for boosting your digital presence and giving your business the upper hand in the battle for online success:
The cornerstone of building a strong online presence is making sure you have a well-built website. Yes, social media is a good starting point, but at the end of the day, social platforms are owned by an outside company that you do not control and can change at any moment. The algorithms that power social media feeds can and do change all the time. When they do, it’s possible your Facebook page doesn’t show up in the feed as often or maybe at all.
For this reason, your website is the most important cornerstone of any digital presence. Ideally, your website will be the primary source customers visit seeking information about your company and your brand, either after finding it on Google or following a link from a social media page. Your website should be mobile-friendly, have clear messaging, as well as reflect the tone of voice and positioning that you want your company to convey. Any copy or images shared should all aim to correlate with that as well.
Social Media: Facebook and Instagram
Another great tool to use to boost your digital presence is social media. Not only can social media establish a secondary repository of information about your business apart from your website (telling customers your founding story, what your mission is and who your employees are), it also serves as a community for customers to engage with each other and a great way for you to convey your brand personality and positioning. On social, customers can give feedback, ask questions and even share photos to your page, or share your information with others.
While Facebook is great for connecting with a wider audience and sharing more broad information while still hyper-targeting any and all social ads, Instagram is perfect for engaging more personally with customers. Sharing on Instagram gives you the opportunity to curate interesting content that is specifically tailored to your brand and speaks to the voice and essence of your brand. Since there aren’t as many opportunities for clients and customers to volunteer their own information on your Instagram page, it’s the perfect place to highlight some of your customer success stories.
Review sites are an underrated online tool that can help boost your digital presence. Responding and interacting with sites such as Yelp and Google My Business are the keys to a successful review profile online, positive or negative. Even when a customer or client leaves some negative thoughts, it’s important to respond in a way that lets them know you appreciate them taking the time to share feedback and that you’ll take what they say into consideration in the future.
Have a strategy in place to monitor these review sites to ensure no review goes unresponded to. It’s also important to make sure you have a profile set up for each of these sites with photos (both from customers and from your business) as well as accurate contact information and links to all relevant company sites and social media accounts.
Your customers are looking to solve problems. Whether it’s tutorials on new products or services from your business or industry tips to solve whatever challenge they’re facing, YouTube is a great way to get important information to your audience while branding your company. Video is a powerful medium that lets you connect directly with your customers as well as industry influencers.
Instead of trying to convey your brand story through static images or text, videos allow you to truly express your messaging in an exciting and engaging way. YouTube as a tool for businesses has been gaining momentum in recent years and is definitely one I see as being important for brands to invest in as we head into 2020.
While all of the above are great ways to boost your digital presence for no out of pocket expense, we can’t forget about the importance of utilizing paid search. Google Ads or other paid search opportunities are great options for when you want to drive traffic for a specific outcome, like lead generation.
With paid advertising on search engines, your targeted keywords and company-controlled messaging live at the top of page one’s search results, putting your business right in front of your intended audience. Although it has a price attached, paid search is going to be one of the most powerful and important ways for your company to drive visibility. Using these targeted and high-intent channels often have the best outcomes when it comes to driving highly motivated and qualified leads.
Consumers today are interested in the ethos of a brand, not just the products or services they pump out. Controlling your online narrative through these channels and tools above is a great way to ensure the purest version of your company message is getting through to the consumers you want to reach. But, it’s not just one or the other. These are options that all work well together and when used in conjunction with one another, can provide your company with a well rounded digital presence.