An online presence is a highly important parameter of building a brand’s reputation, enhancing its brand awareness and visibility around the brand’s products, services, and everything it has to offer. The answer to the question of how to build an online presence is simple but one needs to do their best on building it.
That’s why we created this 5 steps & tips list to give you a hand while starting to be more active and present on online platforms.
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Online Presence Definition
What exactly is an online presence? The definition of an online presence in simple terms is the collective existence of an enterprise or a person that can be spotted through online search systems. Technically speaking, having a website is equivalent to having an online presence. Being a member of an organization that has an online member agenda or if you have a Facebook profile, means you have an active online presence.
In the digital era, having online representation as a company or an individual is an important step toward making your brand awareness stronger across the web, social networks, and marketplaces. Of course, to do that, you need to add or claim your Business Profile on Google My Business.
5 Reasons Why it’s Important to Build an Online Presence
But why is building an online presence so crucial? Never before has it been so important for companies to connect and interact with existing and potential followers, specifically online.
Let’s find out why.
Reason #1: Boost your brand awareness
A digital presence allows your brand to interact with your followers, as you can set the narrative of what your brand represents and differentiate yourself from your competitors. An online presence concerns all the points of contact your audience may have with your brand online, including many areas, such as conversations on social networks and online reviews. According to the Salesforce survey, 85% of customers research online before they form a purchasing decision, and the most used channels for searching online are websites (74%) and social media pages (38%). Therefore, having a consistent online presence and an effective online strategy is key to increasing your brand’s awareness and growth.
Reason #2: Establish trust and credibility
Increasing credibility and being seen as a legitimate business is a reference point for every brand. Being digitally present can, apart from the fact that it increases consumer awareness, it can also make your brand stronger by enhancing your credibility. An interesting fact about consumers is that they are likely to search about your brand before interacting and engaging as part of your audience base. They expect to find your business in their online research and of course, your brand should be ranking highly in google and bing search results. 83% of consumers who went to a store in the past week confirm that they did an online search before going into a store. In general, consumers rely on a multitude of information from different sources before making a decision. So, by building your online presence across all sources of information you will be seen by both customers and search engines.
Reason #3: Increase your follower base
Your online presence is a tool that allows you to get discovered and grow your audience. 97% of consumers check online for local products and businesses, a percentage that has increased since 2016 (95%). Every day, 12% of consumers are on the lookout for a local business and at least once a month, 54% of them are searching for a local business online. As you can imagine, a strong online presence is ideal for customers, who are not yet familiar with your brand, to discover you, even if they are or are not looking for what you offer. When the time comes to choose a local business, consumer reviews are the reference point for making such a decision. Customers are using theΙnternet to make everyday decisions, for example, to decide where to eat, or to find a plumber to fix a leak.
Reason #4: Improve your customer’s journey
63% of customer journeys begin online; having a strong online presence means you are available to your audience at different points during their journey as customers, which also includes a variety of devices. Whether someone winds up buying from an e-commerce store or a physical one, most of the research starts in the digital environment. So, business owners should keep in mind that advancing the customer experience from the very beginning, is more likely to get customers to choose them.
Reason #5: Measure return on investment (ROI)
When using a variety of channels you should take the time to measure the effectiveness and ROI, so you can create a strategy that works best for your brand. Many digital tools can provide data and analytics, assisting you in understanding your customers, their behavior, preferences, and the way they experience what you offer during every step of their customer journey. Related to this, you can identify which are the online paths that work best for your brand, allowing you to spot budgets and resources in a focused way. One of the major benefits of the digital setting is the huge amounts of data you can generate. The algorithm can help you get a comprehensive look at your customers, integrate your service delivery, and build focused and effective digital marketing campaigns.
Build an Online Presence in 5 Easy Steps
The real question is how to build an online social media presence. That’s why we narrowed down the process into 5 easy to follow steps so you can start being more active. The graphic below outlines the steps we’re going to talk about:
Step #1: Build an engaging website
Let’s start from the bottom. The first thing you should focus on is your website, especially if you have an e-commerce business. A shareable and appealing website immediately draws your audience’s attention. If you are familiar with creating a captivating web design, you’ll manage to keep people on your site; they’ll come, stay, discover, connect, engage, and regularly purchase from your website. Also, include your security documentation on your website with the help of an online notary (if you want to know how to become an online notary, you can start to explore online courses about this).
Some tips you can follow:
- Choose a plain template for your homepage
- Mix up the template
- Apply white space
- Pick the right colors
- Prefer fonts that are easy to read
- Make your website mobile-friendly & effortless to go through
- Your contact info should be easy to encounter
- Set plugins for your social media profiles
- Contact information & directories
- Add call to action (CTA)
- Use live chats for customer service
- Include internal links to your content
- Use multimedia
Step #2: Establish an effective social media strategy
A social media strategy summarizes everything you want to achieve. It serves as a planner and a guide that lets you know whether your actions are successful or not. The more specific your marketing strategy, the more efficient it will be, so keep it consistent. Let’s check out how to create a social media strategy.
First things first, you should set your social media marketing goals that best depict your company’s objectives; having clear goals enables you to track progress and return on investment (ROI). Your goals should be definitive, measurable, reachable, compatible, and time-bound. The second step you should follow is to get to know your target audience, as they are the ones with whom you are addressing and communicating. That includes getting to know your competitors as well. Competition is a big part of your strategy, as it can help you uncover industry trends. Then you can create your social media platforms and a social media calendar; consistency is key. On that note, pay attention to finding inspiration as it will help you create appealing content, and last but not least don’t forget to track your performance and make the necessary changes.
Step #3: Create valuable content of high-quality
Content is the king of your strategy. The concept in the first place is to keep your content coordinated with the purpose of each medium, your goals, followers, and brand identity. You can also show other stakeholders, if possible, the variety of content they hope to see on each social medium. Remember to stick to specific content themes, show your human side, and engage with your audience. Maybe some testing will be needed over time to understand the type of content that works best on different networks, so be prepared to update your content regularly.
Some content ideas for social media posting:
- Stories and time-sensitive posts
- Short videos
- Posts that point out your human side
- Build a competitive analysis to make your content stand out
- Publish posts that make your followers want to participate
- Establish the right mix of content
Another tip you can follow is the rule of thirds:
- The first third of your content endorses your business, converts followers, and achieves revenue
- The second third focuses on sharing topics and news from entrepreneurs in your business field or similar companies
- And the last one concerns engaging with your followers
Step #4: Distribute & promote your content
Your content is ready so it’s time to start promoting. As we mentioned before, a content calendar is an extremely useful tool as you have a plan that helps you publish your content at the best times to engage with your audience and get the maximum impact.
Setting your posting schedule is essential as it indicates the dates and times at which you will post on each network. It’s the ideal corner to arrange all of the activity on social media, such as images, backlinks, shares and re-shares, blog posts, and videos.
You can plan your everyday posts and social media campaign content. Your strategy and content timetable should display the mission and vision you designated for each social network, so all of your posts support your goals.
Promoting your content also means you are available to your audience. You should be there to reply to their questions and in general, engage with them. Make sure you are active, you communicate and you don’t miss out on any engagement opportunities.
Step #5: Monitor & analyze your online performance (and online brand reputation)
A social media strategy is something that has its ups and downs. As you begin to carry out your goals and keep a record of the results you should look out for social media performance metrics, and be ready to re-assess, test, and be ready to repeat this process. Some strategies won’t work as efficiently as you thought, but others may generate better results than what you anticipated, that’s why it’s important to re-evaluate regularly, as constant testing helps you understand what works best for your brand and what doesn’t. Redefining your social media strategy in real-time is crucial.
9 Tips to Build and Maintain a Strong Online Presence
Have you been looking for ways to build and maintain a strong web presence? Well, we’ve got your back. Check out these tips we’ve gathered to help you get started.
Tip #1: Improve and maintain your site’s rankings (take care of your SEO!)
One of the most important things you should keep your eye on is search engine optimization (SEO). Relevant and authoritative content with the right keywords and keyword phrases will help you drive traffic to your site, which will advance your site’s expertise and relevance. Also, you should update your content frequently, as it is one of the signs of a site’s relevancy, pay attention to metadata, including external links, and use alt tags. All of these actions will help you improve your local SEO, while your business website rises the ranks to the highest point of search engine results pages.
Tip #2: Collaborate with influencers and creators in your niche
Influencers have a huge audience that trusts them tremendously. So, you can benefit from that as it can help you transform people into loyal customers and approach a potential new audience. But first, you have to find the right influencers and bloggers, the ones that match your brand’s identity, so the collaboration seems authentic. As you can see, influencer marketing is an important part of a social media strategy; followers often use the recommendations of influencers and that’s what makes a difference Influencers are customers who have expertise in certain subjects. This provides them with an advantage and grants them the power to motivate their followers to take action. So, collaborating with influencers relevant to your industry will increase your brand awareness and revenue.
Tip #3: Invest in relationship marketing
Relationship marketing aims at customer loyalty and long-term customer engagement. The objective of relationship marketing is to build strong relations with customers, so word-of-mouth promotion from them can create leads. The importance of relationship marketing lies in converting people to loyal customers, which immediately improves customer experience, ensures receiving customer feedback, boosts your referrals, and keeps you updated about your audience’s needs. Simultaneously, it generates ideas, especially for small businesses, points out your uniqueness, and enhances loyalty.
Tip #4: Encourage customer reviews and testimonials
Customer reviews and testimonials are highly important for a brand to understand its audience and improve the customer experience. Using customer insights as input will also assist you in enhancing your credibility and social proof while allowing your customers to share their voices. On that note, that can help you improve rankings and customer loyalty. Reviews usually generate more reviews and that encourages interaction and engagement; feedback should always be welcome as it helps a brand evolve and become better.
Tip #5: Experiment with online advertising
Online advertising allows you to deliver online marketing messages to a massive audience by driving traffic to your website. Online advertising is designed in a way that attracts customers and persuades them to take action – and to be more specific to make a purchasing decision. There are many types of online advertising, such as advertising on social media platforms, display advertising, email marketing, content marketing, SEM, and more. Choose strategically the one that suits your needs better, especially if you’re a startup company. Also, keep in mind that there are many templates available online for you to check and compare.
Tip #6: Be active and consistent with your online presence
Being active on social media is also a big part of a strong online presence; showing you when your audience needs you and you care about their requests. Being active means publishing quality posts often, liking, leaving comments, responding to messages from your followers, and sharing content even when it comes from other profiles. And of course, consistency is key, you have to be aware all the time of everything that may come up, and acknowledge opportunities for your brand to go viral.
P.S you can always work with guest posting to enhance your content.
Tip #7: Create an email list
You can integrate a call to action (CTA) that encourages your followers to subscribe to your newsletter; by creating an email list with your audience base you will be able to create more personalized content while keeping them updated and engaged with every new feature or trend regarding your brand and industry. Email marketing can increase your visibility, as 99% of users check their emails daily, even 20 times per day.
Tip #8: Build a referral program
A referral program encourages your customers to spread the word to friends, family, and colleagues about your brand in exchange for a discount, gift card, or something that rewards them. A referral program attracts potential customers, as 92% of consumers trust recommendations from their social circle. Referral programs can create an endless word-of-mouth cycle. One referral can lead to two, three, and so forth. All from one person.
Tip #9: Create engaging visual content
Your content is what keeps users on your website and social media accounts. So, it is crucial to post engaging content to keep them on their toes, they should always want to read it, interact with it, and reshare it. All you need to do is be concise, use graphics, lists, calls to action, storytelling, the right keywords, incorporate internal links, record a podcast, and write articles on WordPress, amongst others. Your content should appeal to users and encourage them to interact with the brand.
Managing your online presence strategically means enhancing brand exposure and brand awareness while building a strong reputation around your business. Although building an online presence requires effort and persistence, it will start to pay off as time goes by.