How people perceive you on the internet matters. A lot. It’s a massive part of your brand. You’d be surprised at how casually some businesses treat their online presence, especially on social media, to their detriment.
If you’re going to establish an online presence, then do it right. The process takes thought, planning, and work but yields excellent dividends over the long run. For instance, you get better leads, improve conversion, and reach a wider audience, enhancing your brand awareness.
While the image of who you are as a business may already be established in people’s minds, you can still change it to emphasize the positive aspects. Consider these do’s and don’ts while creating or improving your business image online.
1. Have a unique online presence
What do people see when they land on your website or social media profiles? Does it represent the brand you’re trying to project?
As superficial as it may sound, making a significant first impression matters online as it is offline. What visitors see on your online profiles defines your company’s perception in their minds and hearts.
So keep it professional. Fill out all the details on social media profiles, and include your contact information. The same goes for other platforms. For example, this Asiaciti Trust listing on Crunchbase highlights the company’s bio and core expertise in trusts and corporate services.
Additionally, incorporate rich media content like images, videos, and graphics to improve your presence online. Ideally, keep your brand image consistent across all platforms you choose to connect with prospects.
2. Generate content that demonstrates thought leadership in your industry
Content is king — and queen. Great content positions you as a thought leader in your industry and enhances your online profile.
Getting recognition and traction takes time and effort. You must deliver epic and helpful content while engaging in discussions on trends that affect your industry.
The more you help other people by providing viable strategies, tactics, and predicting key trends, the more you create lifetime fans for your business. These are the people who promote your brand to their friends and networks, expanding your reach.
3. Network, connect and engage with your audience
Meanwhile, you should also share great content from other users. The online space is a two-way street of give-and-take that creates opportunities to network and learn from each other.
In fact, the more you help or promote other people, the more you also get. Giving has a multiplier effect.
Your business must resonate with audiences for it to mean anything. Besides having great content, you need to connect and engage with users through comments, responding to questions, joining and participating in groups etc.
4. Show your company’s authentic human side
Some businesses treat themselves too seriously. Here’s the thing: business is about people and connections. You’re more likely to buy from someone you know and where values align.
Your online presence should show the human side of your business. For instance, you can showcase employees or give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at how their favorite products are made.
Occasionally join relevant trending hashtags or post funny memes to bring out the fun side of your business. It doesn’t always have to revolve around business.
5. Remain vigilant
Anything can ruin your killer online presence—for example, negative media coverage or bad reviews. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, you may still have to deal with these.
Remain vigilant in identifying how people portray your brand online. Google your brand’s name or business to identify and effectively tackle issues that come up. For example, if you’re a store owner and receive a poor review on Yelp, don’t just ignore it. Instead, respond to the poster’s review in a professional, friendly way to address the situation and remedy any potential problem. Doing so can help you win back a customer and even gain new ones.
1. Go for quantity over quality
When building an online presence, focus on quality instead of quantity. Pick one or two social platforms for a start depending on your target audience and resources; then, you can spread your presence on other platforms later on.
The idea here is to make prudent use of your resources by investing your advertising budget in the right channels for better results. At the same time, remember social media is no sales platform but rather an avenue for building conversations. So, don’t look all salesy. Focus on growing your following by sharing highly-engaging content.
2. Lie or misrepresent your company
The last thing you’d consider is giving a false presentation of what your business does. This will promptly see you lose your audience or customers as the trust they have in you fade out. Your online reputation will also be impacted because your customers and prospects now have a false perception of your business.
Be transparent about how you operate and clearly define your company’s values and principles to build a loyal following.
3. Imitate other brands
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, though perhaps not in the world of business. Copying what other brands do, in this context, shows that you are trying to make quick cash from the success of others. It is the wrong step in building a recognizable brand and may, eventually, repel customers.
Instead, look at differentiating your brand in terms of products/services, messaging, etc. This helps grow your stature and sets you apart from competitors.
4. Forget the offline market
Even as you continue building your online presence, do not turn a blind eye to the offline environment.
Local organizations and charities, for instance, offer an opportunity to leverage face-to-face contact and connect much more emotionally than the online environment. You’ll be able to explain your brand image at a personal level and cement your online brand presence.
5. Disregard customer service
Customers have a significant impact on your online brand image. They are capable of building or ruining your business. Ensure that you engage them as much as possible and promptly respond to their queries. Leverage email, phone or live chat — an increasingly preferred mode of communication.
A killer online presence acts as a constant marketing agent. It keeps delivering leads and new customers. Sticking with “the do’s” when building your company’s online presence also benefits your culture, strategy and customer relationships.
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