In our digital world, it is vital to be able to connect with our customer community in multiple ways. Building your online business presence is a powerful tool. It expands your customer network and provides added security in maintaining your customer base by creating more points of connection and engagement. COVID-19 has exponentially demonstrated our need for multiple points of sale, connection, and engagement with our customers. The good news is that your customers are most likely already online, you just have to let them know that you are too. Read on below for a detailed explanation of How to Build Your Online Business Presence.
Create a Website
Creating a website is the first step to building your online business presence. Creating a website elevates your company’s professionalism and provides a home base for your customers. Even with so many customers utilizing social media platforms to find information, your customer usually will still look for a website in an initial online search. Your website should fulfill your company’s needs. So, don’t worry about creating anything fancy if all you need is a landing page with your general business information and mission statement. Conversely, if you are a retailer and want to be able to sell products online, make sure you create a website that allows those capabilities.
Before you work on the actual design and build of your website collect a few pieces of information first.
Your Mission: Make sure you have a finished paragraph that explains what your business offers and why. This can be placed on the home page or the about page of your website. This paragraph will help customers quickly understand why they want to do business with you.
General Information: Collect all of your business’ general information including, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, etc. Place this information in an easy to access location on your website such as the header or footer. This provides a smooth user experience for your customers and makes your connection points easy to find.
Visual Branding: Before you dig into your website builder pick out some high-quality photos that represent your brand. These could be photos of you and your business in action or they could be stock photos that represent your offerings. Don’t be afraid to use stock photos if you do not have other photos available. Stock photos are a fantastic way to save on visual branding production costs. They also provide you with easy to access high-quality visuals in just a few clicks. Here are a few stock photo sites to get you started. Pablo by Buffer Canva Unsplash iStock
Now that you know why you need a website, it’s time to set one up. Click here to Get Your Business Online With These 4 Website Builders.
Get Active on Social Media
After you have created your website it’s time to get active on social media. There are so many social media platforms that you most likely will not be able to engage with your customers on all of them in the beginning. Instead of trying to juggle every social media account on the planet, pick one or two social media channels to start and build your audience. Once you are successfully engaging with your customers on one or two social platforms, add another if you want to expand your communication strategy. Sometimes one or two platforms are all you need, so be open-minded about what social media engagement looks like for your brand. Here are a couple of tips on the most used social media platforms.
Facebook: Facebook is the most used social media platform with over 2 billion monthly users according to websiteplanet.com. Facebook offers the most features exclusively for businesses with a full ads manager and as a Facebook business learning platform called Facebook Bluprint. Every type of business has the potential to perform well on Facebook. It’s up to you to find your customers, bring them value, and foster meaningful connection.
YouTube: Youtube comes in second with an active user base of 2 billion according to websiteplanet.com. One of the reasons YouTube is so successful is it acts as a search engine and a content provider. Users search YouTube for their chosen topic, find a corresponding video, and watch content all on the same platform. Now, if you aren’t into creating video content YouTube may not be the platform for you. But if you can find a creative way to produce engaging video content YouTube is a platform you will want to invest in.
Instagram: Instagram holds the third most users coming in around 1 billion active users per month according to websiteplanet.com. Instagram is owned by Facebook making both platforms easily connectable. Facebook and Instagram share many similarities including the Facebook ads manager platform and the Facebook Creator Studio. Instagram is the simplest social media platform mentioned here due to its more limited features. With Instagram, simplicity is the name of the game. If you are looking for a platform that is easy to manage, Instagram is your go-to option. Simply sign up for a business account and start posting.
For more information about all three of these social media platforms check out this article on websiteplanet.com.
Connect With Your Customers Where They Are Now
When you are building an online presence it is important to connect with your customers where they are now before asking them to connect with you somewhere else. This means finding out where your customers currently find you and letting them know you are expanding your reach. For example, if you are a restaurant or salon and your customers find you through Yelp, update your “About the Business” section and let people know they can connect with you on your website and social media platforms. If you are a local retailer and you connect with your customers through email, send out an email letting your customers know you are thinking of them. Then tell them about your new website and social media channels where they can shop for your products and find inspiration. If you connect with your customers through mail, send out postcards letting your customers know where they can find you online.
Building your online presence does not mean forgetting about how your customers first found you. It means creating more ways to show your customers you care. Keep this in mind as you expand to new platforms and connect with new people. Don’t forget the people who have been there with you from the beginning.
One of the most important aspects of building your online business presence is consistency. The digital world is filled with billions of websites and users. This means you have to stand out. You have to demonstrate to users that they can trust you. Consistency is one of the best ways to build trust with your customers. Whatever online platforms you decide to engage with, be consistent. If you just built a website, make sure you update it regularly. If you created a YouTube channel, post a new video every week. If you opened an Instagram or Facebook account for your business, create a content schedule and stick to it. Remember that you are building a relationship with your customers. Consistency tells your customer that you are here and that you care.