6 Tips on How to Build your Online Presence
If you have a website, you must have an online community to support that website. With traffic in the form of blog entries, events, member weigh-ins, comments, or social media, you will have more than enough to drive the discussion about your products and services and to generate enough "heat" to increase either your reputation and authority in your field, or your company's brand recognition.
Here are some easy tips to increase your online community:
1) Respond as soon as possible to queries, concerns, and criticism.
While no company is immune to negative feedback, it takes a smart response team to craft a targeted response to potentially viral "backlash" on a campaign or offer. Any business or industry can be at risk for having bad things come up in Google - make sure you craft a transparent and timely response to bad press.
2) Blog about your interests.
I still believe that blogging is a great way to spread the word. With your company or "behind-the-scenes" blog you can be very "on target" with your messaging, and can respond directly to items that others may bring up.
3) Call to action on every page.
Want people to request a consultation, sign up for an e-paper, or join your mailing list, or attend an event? Make sure it's highly visible on every page of your site, either through the footer or at the bottom of each piece of content.
4) Switch to a Content Management System.
With a CMS you have much more flexibility and responsiveness to creating, maintaining, and filing new content on your website. I recommend the Drupal framework, but Wordpress will also work fine for smaller, less intensive sites.
5) Think about how users travel through your site.
The "user flow" is important to understand, analyze, and target. Someone coming to your website might be an existing client, a potential client, a volunteer, a sponsor, a donor, or just an enthusiast. Make sure you can understand what each of those types of people need, and set up your navigation and buttons accordingly. Make it easy for people to find exactly what they need: strive for three clicks or less.
6) Social media does matter.
Automate as much as possible and hire or outsource a team to manage your social media processes. Facebook Fans pages need interaction with fans, and Twitter feeds need retweeting and responses. Google Plus, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, Tumblr --- whichever works for you, find a way to cultivate your connections through your existing social media.
There are many ways to increase the effectiveness and efficacy of your online presence. I encourage you to find a social media expert in your local community to help you build an ongoing plan to manage your outreach online.