There was a time, not so long ago, when a storefront was enough to be easily found and recognizable. That is no longer the case in today’s world. As mentioned in a previous blog post about why your small business should have a website, customers and potential customers are doing their research online before shopping or even considering where to buy from. Having a website is the first step in growing your online presence, no matter the size of your business or the industry you are in! However, it isn’t the only step.
Your online presence includes the following:
Your website (including your blog)
Your social media pages
Your online directory listings, such as Google My Business, Yahoo! Business, and Yelp
Your website, as I have mentioned before, is basically your digital business card. It gives the consumer information about you and your business and answers any questions they may have about it. If you have a store and people have left reviews and testimonials, this can help your shop build credibility in the local (and maybe national!) space. This also helps you improve customer service by being able to address issues when they arise.
Social media pages help you reach your audience by being where they are spending their time. They are a way to help build relationships with your audience by interacting with them on your pages and accounts, like answering any questions they may have or responding to a review or recommendation someone left. Interacting with your audience helps build trust and loyalty.
Listing your business in online directories such as Yelp, Google My Business, the Better Business Bureau, etc., can further extend your reach and increase your credibility. Directory listings help people find your business and contact information, your business hours, and can even provide reviews from customers. You can even set your logo and upload pictures of your business and products in these directories. Much like social media, it is important to respond to any comments, inquiries, and complaints that should come through on these platforms.
Having an online presence will help personify your brand and make it relatable to those who are looking for your products and services. This can also be a good source of free marketing for you. If people find value in your blog, website content, or social posts, they are more likely to share it on their own social profiles and show their friends.
So what is your next step?