Behind the Business: Building and Maintaining Your Digital Presence
Establishing a digital presence has become even more crucial in today's time. So in this article, we'll look at the whats, the whys, and the hows of developing one's digital presence to help you build up on what goes on behind the scenes to establish the success of your business.
What is Digital Presence?
Making your business exist online doesn’t equate to having a digital presence.
There are a couple of components that make up one’s digital presence. It can be defined by the impression your brand makes online or your audience’s perception of your online image, which ultimately depends on your online marketing strategies (e.g., organic and paid advertising, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and affiliate marketing) on various digital media and platforms and the virtual ‘touchpoints’ such as your business website, your social media accounts, and your pages in business directories wherein they can interact with you when wanting to find out more about your brand, products and services.
Simply put, digital presence is about visibility and discoverability rather than just your brand’s existence on the internet and social media, and among the key elements of an established one are:
◦ Social Media
◦ Organic and Paid Advertising
◦ User Reviews
Why Digital Presence matters?
We have entered a new era since the beginning of the pandemic, and changes around us have been extremely evident due to the rise of technology, which has undeniably impacted the way we communicate, the way we work, the way we do things usually, the way we consume new knowledge, and the way we run business. And so, for businesses to survive this era of digital transformation, they need to have an effective online strategy to increase brand awareness, grow, and stay relevant – and that includes you because, as said by Goran Paun, a Forbes Councils Member, "A thriving business feeds on generating engagement." After all, the more ways you can place your business in front of your target audience (with quality content and top-notch experiences, of course, and not just the bare minimum), the better brand awareness and even more opportunities to tap potential clients and customers.
To put it simply, here are a few major benefits of working on your digital presence:
▸Increase the discoverability of your brand, products, and services: As we now rely more on the internet and our digital devices to search for products and services we need, it’s a no-brainer that your customers are online as well, so having a strong online presence makes it easy for you to reach potential customers in need of what you have to offer.
▸Establish your brand as a legitimate business: No one wants to engage with a business that only offers vague details about its services. So, with all kinds of scams online, putting up information and details about your business and providing helpful web content to build an online presence is actually the first step towards making sure people take you seriously and that you appear as credible as you can be.
▸24/7 digital marketing: Establishing a digital presence allows you to be discoverable to potential customers, whatever their device may be, wherever they are on their path to purchase, and whenever is best for them since details about your business are already readily available online.
▸Fewer expenses with more insights: Digital marketing is measurable. Tools online that aid businesses in marketing digitally and establishing an online presence come with data that shows and even explains what’s working and what’s. With this, you’ll be able to get quality leads, allocate your budget better, and improve your conversion rate.
How can you build on and maintain your Digital Presence?
When we talk about digital presence, it’s important to understand that following or the number of followers you have improves with a stronger presence and not the other way around. So, here are some major ways to start building your online presence and stay relevant beyond the basics.
☑ Where to start
Take advantage of social media
Taking things to social media has become the norm for businesses today as it is now considered a fundamental part of a modern-day digital marketing strategy. After all, it’s free, low maintenance, and one of the best ways for brands to connect with their audience online since these platforms are already where consumers are. This also allows you to be visible wherever your target audience is. However, it’s important to stay in control and keep things manageable for you, so remember to limit the number of platforms you use to only what you can handle. Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, it’s not just about existing. Your goal should be to post regularly (at least once a day) and interact with your people as frequently as possible.
To really take advantage of social media, try to provide as many details about your business wherever possible – from your logo to your office address to the products and services you offer to your contact number and email address.
Build your website
The company website is the centerpiece of a digital presence. It is among the first places potential customers would want to see when they want to learn more about something online and weigh in on the credibility of a brand of business. With this, the goal when mulling over a website should be to build one that embodies your brand’s identity, line of business, and professional and aesthetic values to appear more put-together, instill a sense of trust in your organization, and demonstrate your expertise to anyone visiting. In today’s time, it’s also ideal to go for a mobile-friendly website with simplified page navigation and fast webpage load speed as more and more people are using their smartphones to complete everyday activities.
Offer valuable content
Creating lots of engaging assets such as blog posts, whitepapers, social media posts, and visuals like video content and infographics that are highly shareable can be considered one of the core elements of digital marketing. So while we’re sure you’ve heard the age-old adage “content is king” way too often, it is true; the king has not left his throne yet, and this will remain the case for any business trying to step up its online presence and increase chances of ranking well for key terms – all for a good reason.
In simpler terms, the more content you produce, the more opportunities you have to show up online. However, we’re not talking about just any kind of content. A vast array of tools online can tune out your marketing efforts and give a free pass to your competitors who offer more. Therefore, it’s not as simple as churning out whatever content you can; it’s about relevant, quality content that speaks volumes to your audience in an entertaining or informative way that makes you a source of authority in your industry.
The best way to do this successfully is to learn the balance of banking on your expertise, addressing your target audience’s pain points cleverly, adjusting to what’s hot and leaving behind what’s not, and offering different types of content depending on the target and objective.
Establish a budget for advertising your brand online
Advertising online is a reliable way to get the right people to notice your business, and there are numerous ways to do so, yet not enough time or resources to invest in all.
To crack the code, it’s essential to do your research, take risks and be sure to evaluate each paid online campaign and strategy for you to paint a picture of what works, what won’t and which areas matter most to promote your online presence, drive traffic to your website, and increase your online engagement.
Encourage employee engagement and participation
Getting employees involved as brand advocates and using their personal social media reach and network are also clever ways to leverage what you already have at your disposal.
The first step to having your employees join the company’s digital marketing efforts is to share the company’s social media mission. Discuss with them why it matters and what the initiative’s overall goal is. Also, be sure to state what it has to do with them personally and professionally to establish that it is mutually beneficial rather than just for the company’s benefit. You can also incentivize participation and provide rewards such as free lunch, gift cards, extra time off, and employee recognition to further encourage employees to share your organization’s content.
Whatever approach you choose, remember to stay true to the word ‘encourage.’ Don’t force it on your employees as making it seem like another responsibility or “chore” will only harm participation.
☑ How to stay on track
As simple as Dominic Tortorice described, "A static digital presence is a recipe for brand stagnation." So always be ready to change and diversify.
Once you have established a solid online presence with your website, social media accounts, business directories, and content (that are hopefully as evergreen as possible), the next on the list is to monitor, maintain, and stay relevant. With this, it’s only right to stay updated with the latest trends and be as flexible as possible to timely respond to changes in customer perceptions and demand.
Aside from keeping your initiatives trendy and up to date, the key to staying relevant and attracting and retaining customers is engagement and interaction, especially if you’re active on social media.
Lastly, try to be consistent. Continuously churn out content if you can and build on a level of regularity in your postings. No, it doesn’t have to be hourly or daily. Just find what works for your brand and your team and do whatever you’re comfortable with; just be sure you can keep the pace to create a better customer experience and build credibility and reliability.
Building on your digital presence requires time, patience, and dedication, but if you do it right, your company can and will reap the benefits. Now go forth and beyond the basics of what goes on behind the scenes. The necessary disruption that is the digital transformation is already happening, so there is no time to waste.