If “Content is King,” then having a really well-developed online presence is Queen. But few business owners start out with a true idea of what developing an online presence requires. With a little of the same entrepreneurial spirit, and a bit of perseverance, it’s possible to gain a better understanding of the elusive online presence. At its most basic, it simply means making people aware of your business online.
In a world where so many people are now bringing businesses online, it’s important that you set your business apart from the rest by using inventive tactics to get recognized. Use these strategies to ensure that your business gets noticed.
What’s in a webinar? The potential for greater connection with your target market. Allowing people to sign up for webinars in which you offer something useful can be a great way to connect with your customers. This is especially true for service-based businesses. If there is something that you can teach your customers within an hour, offer webinar signups and have someone lead an online seminar. SEO companies, writers, and even business development specialists have all used this tactic.
Video and Teleconferences
Just as with webinars, video conferencing and teleconferencing can help you to branch connections over long distances. It’s also a far more ideal way to connect with your customers when they have questions or comments about their product or service. Research has shown that when clients can interact with a physical person via video, they feel that the experience is more personalized. A little bit of video conferencing equipment can go a long way to placing a human face on your business.
While teleconferencing won’t put a face on anything, it does provide the ability to offer informational sessions over the telephone or VoIP for free. This, too, can be a helpful adjunct.
Everyone likes to feel that they are a winner, and that’s probably why Facebook fan contests have become so popular. It’s important that you think carefully about what your audience might want to win; simply giving away a $5 iTunes gift card isn’t enough to sway people to interact with your online presence any longer. If you can afford it, giving away even cheap MP3 players, tablets, or other electronics tends to be very popular. Cash prizes are always popular, too
Be sure to always tie a certain level of interaction to the prize, to prevent people from signing up just to win. You may choose to ask for likes, fan art submissions, or even referrals. Whatever route you choose, stay away from the obvious like baiting tactics like posting images saying “I bet you can’t think of a word that ends in R.” These can be seen as spam by most of the larger platforms, and they simply annoy fans.
For an example of just how successful an online hangout can be, head over to internet message board Reddit’s “AMA” section. This section, designed to allow Redditors the ability “Ask Me Anything,” has allowed some fairly well-known businesses to answer questions and address comments from the public. Of course, Redditor’s AMA section won’t be your first option unless you already have significant fame.
Hangouts are ideal once you’ve established a basic presence and have some level of regular interaction going on through your Facebook page or Twitter account. As a rule of thumb, when you start getting questions regularly, it may be time to have an online hangout.
If you offer a service or product, set up open information sessions where the public can come in and address issues or questions. Be patient, candid, and ensure that it’s lighthearted and fun. In some cases, you may encounter difficulties; trolls exist everywhere online. If these issues come up, simply ban them from the hangout or refer them to your customer service department. Being able to react positively to negativity is just one important step on the road to a great online presence.
Richard Myers is an app developer, tech buff and an overall geek. He is also closely associated with Videonations.