In a society where online retailers offer same-day delivery, theme parks sell fast-track passes so that visitors don’t have to wait in line and viewers abandon videos if they take more than a few seconds to load, instant gratification seems to be the default response of the day. But many things that are really valuable take time, like building your business’s online presence. Yes there’s a multitude of tools and tips to make things easier, but the truth of the matter is that if you want to do it properly, if you want to build an online presence that has real depth, substance and strength, you can’t do it overnight.
My advice to anyone looking to develop an online presence for their business is this…
- Start small
- Dream big
- Be patient
Step by step… this is how to not just to grow a garden, but also your online presence. You can’t just throw some content out there willy-nilly and sit back expecting to be an instant online sensation: you’ll reap what you sow and you won’t reap anything of any value without careful planning, preparation, commitment, perseverance and hard work.
There’s a lot that goes into building your online presence, and it can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task, but broken down into smaller chunks it becomes manageable. Think of each step as a stepping stone to online success: give each step your full consideration because in doing so you are laying the foundations for a healthy, strong and thriving online future for your brand.
In a nutshell, the first steps are as follows…
Establish your goals
Don’t just get online because you think you should be online, instead write down clear objectives and use them to guide you as you start to build and grow your online presence, asking yourself how each of your online efforts are helping you take a step towards your overall business goals.
Create a great website
Your website should form the central and solid platform that links all your social media accounts, YouTube videos blog posts etc. It’s where people can go to learn about what you have to offer, engage with your content and contact you. Make sure it’s easy to navigate, clear and informative, well-designed and professional.
Set up social media profiles
Trying to be all things to all people on social media will mean that you spread yourself too thin and don’t do anything well. You don’t HAVE to be on all platforms! Do your research to find out which platforms are best for your business and start with two: build these profiles carefully and update regularly to develop a loyal following.
Publish great, consistent content.
Blog regularly and share posts with a variety of content: quotes, photos, videos, infographics, tips, questions etc. This will encourage engagement and sharing and grow your following.
Online marketing is a two-way street, and your growth will be seriously stunted if you don’t interact with others online, so be sure to respond to comments on your blog, answer questions, share other’s content, reach out, tag other businesses on Facebook, show gratitude for shares likes, retweets and comments. In short, GET INVOLVED.
And finally: keep going! It takes a lot of time and energy to do the groundwork and get yourself properly established online, but the work doesn’t stop there: success is all about showing up and being seen. Yes it takes time, and it takes effort, but the rewards can be amazing and the beauty of it is that you’ll probably have loads of fun along the way too. So, don’t be overwhelmed, don’t get frustrated; start small, do the work and be patient and you’ll be well on your way to realising those BIG dreams for you online presence!
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