In an age where “Google” is a verb and nearly one billion human beings have a Facebook profile, it’s crucial for businesses to have a strong online presence. Local businesses who fail to develop an online presence are at a severe disadvantage in an age when most of their customers are using the internet to connect, share, and find what they’re looking for.
In the age of the social web, it’s no longer enough just to have a simple corporate website with your info and contact details. If you’re serious about growing your business, one of your first priorities should be to improve your online visibility.
Here are 3 simple ways you can improve online visibility by leveraging your market expertise:
Step 1: Start A Blog With High Quality Content
Every business website should have a blog that produces interesting, relevant, and useful content for their customers. This is the first step to improving your online visibility and leveraging the power of inbound marketing. If you produce content that’s useful to customers and potential customers, you’ll slowly build an audience whom you can convert into new customers or repeat customers.
Remember, it’s not enough just to create a blog – no one will read your blog unless it’s interesting and/or helpful. Your blog should have unique, relevant, and helpful content that your readers will want to read and share. If you can’t commit the resources to deliver high quality blog posts on a consistent basis, you may be better off not blogging at all, as a poor blog can be more hurtful to your brand than no blog at all.
Step 2: Get Involved In Social Media
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re certainly familiar with the concept of social media. Social media is one of the key ways to grow your audience and customer base online. But like with blogging, it’s not as simple as just creating a Facebook page or signing up for a Twitter account. In order to leverage social media into greater online visibility, you have to offer valuable content that your followers will follow and share.
To grow your social media following, it’s advisable to promote your social media accounts in channels where you already have an audience. If you have some visitors to your website, encourage them to like your Facebook page or follow your Twitter account. Perhaps even offer an incentive or discount to customers who join. Putting up notices in your store/business cards can also be a great way to promote your social media accounts, provided you offer some incentive to customers for doing so.
If you’re a professional or in some other business that involves specialized industry knowledge, you might consider becoming active on a question and answer site like Quora. This is a great way to build up your authority and following amongst people who might be interested in you or your company’s services.
As you’re building your audience of loyal followers, you’ll need to give them a reason to stay connected with your brand and promote your brand to their own followers. You can do so by offering discounts, news, tips, and knowledge, depending on your industry. The key to social media growth is to think of social media as a channel to offer your customers extra value. By growing an audience and putting out valuable content for the audience to share, you can gain more visibility, new customers, and even develop a better relationship with existing customers.
Step 3: Guest Post On Blogs Read By Your Customers
Guest blogging is another simple yet highly effective way of improving online visibility. With guest blogging, you contact other blogs/websites in your niche and offer great content in exchange for a mention and a link back to your site. For guest blogging to work, the content you’re offering should be interesting, useful, or newsworthy.
There are 3 key benefits to guest posting on other blogs in your industry:
- Direct Traffic – Potential customers may read the post, like what they hear from you and click through to visit your site and your business. The closer the guest blog is to your market, and the more traffic it has, the stronger the benefit
- Search engine optimization (SEO) – there are SEO benefits to having links to your site from influential, relevant blogs. Having links from other blogs makes it easier for customers to find your own website/blog in the search engines.
- Branding – There is a branding benefit to being in front of potential customers. While one guest post may not help build a brand, if you can get your name and brand on enough influential blogs, blog readers in your industry will slowly recognize your brand and give it authority.
These 3 methods to improving online visibility may sound simple, but they’re certainly not easy to implement. Growing an audience and improving online visibility is hard work that requires consistency, creativity, knowledge and patience. But used correctly, these 3 methods can be powerful tools in slowly but surely building a stronger online presence.
Nathalie Sanderson is an SEO consultant and part-time blogger for Whoishostingthis.com. You can also find her testing and reviewing web hosts at their company website.