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So you’ve decided to start-up your own online business and understand that you have to build and grow your online presence to ensure your brands visibility. But this is your first go at being an entrepreneur and you may think building an online presence is going to be time-consuming and hard work. Yes it’s true it will it take time but having a strategy with a clear end goal in mind will help you have a clearer path to making it more straight forward and achievable.
So firstly let’s clear up what an online presence is, “Online presence” simply means the different ways you represent your business on the web. From free to inexpensive ways for your audience to contact you, engage with you and absorb your content. Ready to build your online presence? Check out these 5 steps:
1. Set your goals using the SMART system.
The first step in starting any new project is establishing and understanding your business goals and making sure to have short and long terms goals. My favourite system that I use for helping me to project manage my goals is by using the SMART system. To make your goal S.M.A.R.T., it needs to conform to the following criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
So let’s start:
Write your goals down so you can easily refer back to them when you’re checking to make sure that what you’re doing online is helping you take a step forward. Don’t just build an online presence because you’re “supposed to”, build it strategically so that it can help your overall business goals.
Questions to answer:
What are your specific goals? How will it be measured? List all the tasks you need to do to achieve it. Now how long will each task take you? What equipment, skills and man power will you need to achieve each task? Now calculate the total length of time it will take you. Now set your realistic time frame.
2. Identify and Build Your Online Store Front (website)
For many budding entrepreneurs and small business owners when starting out you understand the need for having a website. Your website is owned by you and is classified as your virtual shop front and home base.
Did you know that your website is your hub, the VIP place where people can go to learn more about what you have to offer, who you are, how to contact you, and interact and engage with your content.
Did you know that your about page is one of the most important pages on your website? This is where people go to learn about you, what your business is all about and look to see if you are a person and brand to trust with their time and money.
So to build using your website you need:
- To have a clear message of who you serve and how you help them solve their problems and challenges.
- Your site should be user-friendly and easy to navigate and provides a free opt resources and giveaways to help you build your email list.
- A contact page and a blog page where you can show case your expertise and provide tips, tricks and motivational content.
- Using the Meta tags – make sure each page has a clear page name, and a description of what the page provides for SEO purpose for Google search engine.
3. Be Content Consistent
Many start-ups do not understand the importance of having a blog and some find it difficult in creating content especially because their unsure of what to write. Let me tell you this, you don’t need to write if you find it difficult you can do it in a video, audio (podcast) especially If you light up when talking about your expertise.
One of my best advice to procrastinators to stop waiting for everything to be perfect before you showcase your talents because real talk time it’s never going to be. Just like your business you’ll fail and make some terrible errors, stumble and fall but guess what you’ll learn. So start focusing on creating consistent and valuable content that your clients will crave.
By being consistent you’re showing up and being visible, you’re building your credibility and therefore helping your audience to see you as the go to person in your industry.
One of my favourite ways to build online relationships is by going into forums and especially Facebook groups and providing free value to people asking questions in your field.
4. Be Savvy on Social Media
So we technically have this free online space where we can engage with people we don’t know from anywhere around the world, educate those that are interested in what we have to say and create a following without moving from our beds. This is where I see many start-ups fail. Their lack of visibility from not embracing and consistent engaging has stunted their growth in building their brand awareness.
You have so many choices of social media platforms such as: Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn.
So these are your action points:
- Select a minimum of two social media platforms that your audience hangout. Learn everything about that platform and how it best will help you connect with your audience.
- Show-up every day – guess what that doesn’t mean you have to be on their everyday, that’s what your social media scheduling tools are there for. So be consistent with your posting, have content that speaks directly to your audiences needs and desires.
Need some social media content ideas? Just click here to download my 35 social media content ideas here.
Remember social media is about being social, start-up conversations because by just putting posts out there will not build authentic online relationships. Get involved in twitter chats, comment on peoples posts, share and like their posts and follow brands that interest you and provide value.
5. Build Online Relationships
The key to building your online presence is being visible to potential clients and to those that may know your potential clients. Sometimes we fixate on who are dream clients are instead of simply building relationships online. Someone you start conversations with could be your idea collaboration partner and your biggest cheerleader and endorser.
This is why building online relationships should be on top of your list even before you have created your products and services. By being in
Interested in how to build online relationships? Just click here for the 8 steps to building authentic online relationships.
Other things to consider:
Don’t forget to track your progress so that you know when you have achieved it. All dependent what your goals are you can look at analytics, from your social media efforts, and website traffic and optins rates for your freebies. Being able to track your online presence may not necessarily help you with ROI, but it will help you establish what is working for your business and what’s not.
Final thought: Building and growing your online presence should not be a race, look at it the same way if you were dating and looking for MR or Mrs. Right. Your audience will end up falling in love with you if you put in the time to get to know them and provide consistent value.