In today’s technological age, it is more imperative than ever to develop your online web presence for your business or firm. However, the context of being “online” is constantly evolving, and we’ve seen some huge changes in just the past few years. Gone are the days when just having a website constituted a strong web presence, since every single major competitor of yours likely has one as well—in addition to a Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter page.
Your competitors are online and are interacting with your potential customers; if you think that PPC advertising and only having a website for your web presence will make your business stand out from the crowd, you will continue to lose ground as we move into the world of Web 3.0. There are three essentials of your web presence that you must keep in mind in order to make your mark on the web:
- Website: Just because everyone has one doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable anymore. In fact, a well maintained website that is optimized for search engines is still an essential part of your online web presence. Everyone has a website (and even if they don’t, they are in the process of getting one or considering getting one), but very few have websites that are optimized to rank high in the search engines.
- Interaction: Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other as well as the way we do business. We “like” pages that interest us, and if someone “likes” your business page, you have just found a potential customer! This is why you need to know what social networks your potential clients are on, so you can have profiles to interact with them on. If you’re marketing to more conservative industries/individuals, you can likely get away with having the bare essentials (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+). But if you’re marketing to a younger, more tech-savvy audience, you have to keep abreast of the new, hip social network (Instagram or Tumblr, for example).
- You also need to post regularly; sometimes even daily on every social network you are a part of! While the major search engines are only starting to include social network presence into their algorithms, it is virtually guaranteed that they will reward active social network profiles that are adding content and contributing to their respective communities.
- Feedback: Even having a strong online presence in social media in addition to your website is not enough by itself; you need feedback from past customers. Your reviews and ratings are starting to show in organic search results, and these make your business stand out from the Google results. Obviously, you want honest, organic reviews, since there can be legal ramifications to paying for reviews. In addition, you can also do “damage control” by monitoring what others post on your pages. If a client is dissatisfied, there is a very good chance he or she will let you know on one of your social media profiles. Addressing these concerns as they appear will show you care about your client. On the plus side, there will also be the satisfied clients who will post happily thanking you, and you can ask them for an honest review about their experience.
While these principles are very basic, they are a great starting point for any business in building their online presence. The Internet is constantly evolving, and you must always be watching in order to follow your potential clients to wherever they end up on the web. Just remember to maintain a well optimized website, interact with your potential clients wherever they end up on the web, and whenever possible, get their feedback, positive or negative. This will ensure your business continues to grow into the new era of the Internet.