Having a strong digital presence has become more important today in the world than ever before. Over the past couple of years, small businesses have had to pivot tremendously, as we often are no longer able to depend on face-to-face interaction, brick-and-mortar storefronts, or in-person selling and networking opportunities.
Being accessible on the internet can be a game changer for businesses and is often the first step for businesses to build marketing visibility.
As a digital marketing agency in Colorado Springs, Succeeding Small is proud to provide the expertise, resources, tips, and partnership to help you succeed. In this guide, we break down what is meant by having an online presence, the three crucial things you need to have for an online presence, and what you can do to maximize your digital visibility for your business.
What is an Online Presence?
Simply put, having an online presence means that your business is present and accessible where customers are looking for you digitally.
This can mean having a website, a Google Business Profile, a Facebook Business Profile, or anything of the like. Your online presence can also be maximized through things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to make finding your brand and business online even easier for your potential customers.
The Goal of a Strong Online Presence
The goal is to make finding your company online as easy as possible for your consumers. A digital presence allows you to increase your brand awareness, engage with users, create content, and promote your products or services when users search for related keywords through search engines.
Having an online presence prompts you to ask questions like:
- Who is my target audience?
- Where are they spending time digitally?
- Can my products and services be found where they are searching for me?
If you can identify and answer these vital questions as well as show up in right places, you are one step closer to increasing your digital visibility and marketing your business for a strong online presence.
What is the Importance of Having an Online Presence as a Business Owner?
As a small business owner, you want to maximize your time and resources. Is having an online presence necessary? In today’s time, having digital visibility is a necessity for your strategy as a business owner and can help you:
- Increase brand awareness
- Be the author of your online identity
- Develop trust and credibility
- Build relationships with consumers
- Show up for keyword phrases
- Gain new customers
- Grow your business
There are many avenues to start building a strong online presence. However, at Succeeding Small, we define an online presence as having three crucial elements in play:
- A Website
- A Web Presence
- A Social Media Presence
A website is arguably the most important asset that a small business needs. Your website is the foundation of who you are, what you do, and how people can connect with you.
It is also the digital embodiment of your business’ identity and is the starting point for having an online presence for you to advertise and market your brand in today’s digital world.
Your website is the best way to build rapport with potential consumers and spread the word about the services your company offers.
The Importance of Having a Website
Having a website is the best way to attract customers digitally. Imagine you are a small business owner of a restaurant. Without a website or page to tell your consumers about your hours, your menu, or your address, new customers will never be able to know that your restaurant exists.
To increase your brand awareness, there are many online platforms that businesses can use to host their website and attract customers on the internet. Common hosting sites include WordPress, HubSpot, Wix, and Squarespace.
You can maximize your website efforts by having quality content that describes your business offerings and optimizing for SEO, mobile devices, speed, and accessibility. Finally, having a clear call-to-action that leads customers to convert is necessary, too.
Strengthen Your Business Platform
The truth is, potential customers, are already looking on the internet for products and services that will fulfill their needs. Having a website is a good way to make sure your company is considered by those looking online.
Just having a business website is one of the best ways of being found digitally by people who know your brand and those who are looking for the products you offer. This allows you to start developing a web presence.
A Web Presence
A web presence is what helps you show up online when people are searching for you.
Whether people are typing your business name, your product or service, or keyword phrases like, “Chiropractor Near Me” or “Best Wedding Photographer in Colorado,” having internet visibility increases your chances of being found on the result pages of search engines like Google.
Ultimately, online visibility funnels into search engine optimization, which is the process of optimizing your digital assets so they show up in as many places as possible.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO requires you to have digital assets — things like a website, directory listings, positive reviews, backlinks, and so much more — but, in order to be successful, these assets need to be optimized.
SEO can be thought about in two separate ways: on-site SEO and off-site SEO.
On-site SEO refers to the actual content on your site. The goal is to create value for your website that matches what your target audience is searching for on the internet.
This includes proper keyword research to know what is being searched by your audience, internal and external links on your page, as well as the educational content that is being published on your platform. Search engines want to make sure your brand is creating content that delivers value to your industry.
Off-site SEO is the technical side of search engine optimization. For example, how fast your website loads and the structure of your URL both play a part. Backlinks are also important for SEO optimization because search engines want to make sure your brand is an authoritative source for information digitally.
Optimize Your Business
A great first step to building digital visibility is understanding SEO, knowing what keyword phrases people are typing in to find your brand, and maximizing every opportunity for organic, online visibility.
Showing up for your audience digitally will bring you one step closer to meeting your business goals, attracting potential customers to your business, and successfully marketing and advertising your company.
A Social Media Presence
Having social media visibility is a healthy addition to every small business’ digital visibility.
Social media helps build relationships with the clients you already have, and it helps you get found by people who may benefit from your business.
Selecting the Right Social Media Platform
In order to craft online visibility using social platforms, you not only need to have profiles on the right channels, but you have to be active and consistent.
Social accounts should be selected based on your industry. Not all free platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, will be targeted to your ideal customers.
For example, the audience and content on Instagram will look a lot different than the content on LinkedIn. If your company is in an industry where professionalism is expected, then LinkedIn would probably be a better option for you than Twitter.
Likewise, if you own a photography business, Instagram would be the perfect platform to use. This type of account would allow you to post content that your followers expect to see, like a photo or video you took. In this example, Twitter may not be needed considering most accounts don’t use Twitter to post media content.
Selecting the right free platform is important in creating value for your brand and building successful advertising and marketing campaigns.
Networking on Social Media
Another perk of social media accounts is the ability to connect your brand with others in your industry. Using social platforms like Facebook and Instagram can help you to build relationships in your local community.
If you build a relationship with a blog writer or podcaster in your industry, they may ask for guest posts to promote your business. Guest posting allows you to create content on existing platforms or sites to engage potential customers. By being a guest on another person’s blog or Facebook page, you will help bring visibility to your company.
Creating Social Media Relationships
Having visibility on social accounts and consistently showing up digitally with value-filled posts and engagement-driven discussions are the keys to success for social media, growing your visibility, and marketing your brand through these free platforms.
It is important to consider what content your company will be posting on social media; such as text, a photo, or video; the platform that will connect you to the right audience; how active you post on social platforms; and how to create valuable content for your followers to engage with. Social platforms are the best way to engage with customers and create value-filled content.
10 Things You Can Do Today To Build Your Online Presence
- Have a complete, optimized website
- Understand and implement keyword phrases
- Develop quality content for your website, blog, and social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- Get a Google My Business listing
- Consider getting BBB accredited or getting other certifications
- Sign up for relevant directories
- Ask your customers for positive reviews
- Optimize all online assets for SEO
- Sign up for all relevant social media profiles
- Be active and consistent on social accounts
Having online visibility can make all the difference when it comes to finding new customers, building relationships with your audience, and, ultimately, growing your business.
Of course, this is just a surface-level introduction to what your small business needs to do to show up online but hope that these tips and this guide give you the jumpstart you need to get the visibility you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is a digital presence important?
Having your business online is one of the best ways to attract potential customers to your products or services and build relationships with them. Digital marketing visibility also boosts the voice of your brand, increases awareness of your company, and develops trust between you and your customers.
- How can I build a strong online presence?
There are many ways to craft a strong online presence. Certain marketing tactics can help build a digital image for your brand, such as developing a website, engaging with social media, and optimizing online content.
The most important aspect to keep in mind is that all content should add value to your consumers in some way. Creating high-quality, valuable content is the name of the game.
- How can I increase social media engagement?
To increase social media engagement, you first need to come up with a strategy catered to your brand. Knowing what channels you should focus on, finding out what type of consumers you want to target, and creating valuable content are important aspects of increasing your engagement online.
Additionally, users want brands to engage with them on social platforms. Don’t expect to just post a photo or video and think your work is done. You have to create meaningful relationships with your followers, which includes engaging and interacting with them.
- How do I maintain an online presence?
Consistency is key. Work to develop your company’s online presence strategy and make sure to analyze the results to ensure you are meeting your business goals. Continuous optimization for digital assets is important, so don’t be afraid to try new methods of engaging with your customers.
Want to Know How Your Online Presence is Performing?
At Succeeding Small, we are passionate about helping small businesses grow. As experts in SEO, we know how to build effective, unique websites, what it takes to show up online, and how to use social media as a strategic tool to help your business build an online presence.
If you are wanting to know:
- Can my business be found online on search engine results pages?
- Am I attracting new clients?
- What could I do to improve my online presence?
We have a solution for you. With our small business digital marketing audit, we evaluate your website, your online presence, and your social media to provide you with strategic data about how well you can be found online. In addition to that, we include value-filled, personalized recommendations and tools so that you can improve your small business’ visibility. Check out our audit for more information, or connect with us today to learn more about how you can grow your business online in today’s digital world.