Online Business

Establishing an Online Presence

Hello. My name is Jeremy Powers and if you’re reading this, you probably either have an online presence already or are considering going online but aren’t sure how or why.

I truly believe that each company, no matter how big or small, should have at least some form of online presence in the 21st century. Your starting point could either be creating a social media account, but in order for it to appear “business-y”, your account needs to be associated with your website.

Creating Your Business’ Website

If you don’t have a website, you should create one. There are many tutorials available for free online on how to create a webpage using HTML and a number of affordable hosting options. In order to pick an option suitable for your business, you need to decide on a domain – do you want a co.uk site or a .com? If your business is a part of a local community, you can also consider location-based domains like .Kent or .London. The domain not only helps you establish a presence in the area and appeal to the target audience within that area, but also serves as an integral part of your brand. If you don’t have any background in web development or web design, perhaps it would be best to hire a professional who could help you.

Useful Social Media Platforms for Business

Once you have a website up and running, you should now consider going social. For strategical reasons, you should try and set up a social media account around the same time you launch your website. Setting up a Twitter account, for example would be a good first step towards being active on social media. Creating an account on Twitter is quite straightforward and doesn’t require you to have any advanced web development knowledge. After you create an account, you can easily begin to connect with your clients and fellow professionals. You should also, of course, consider creating accounts on other social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. The more active you are on social media, the wider net you’re casting for potential clients.

Management of Social Media Accounts

Of course, creating an account is just the first step. What customers really pay attention to is social media activity – if your accounts aren’t consistently updated, people have no reason to click on them and follow you. Establish connections as early as you can, but make an effort to maintain them by publishing relevant content on a regular basis. This content serves the purpose of getting people who use that social network interested in your company. For that reason, it has to engage them within the first few seconds they’re on your page – nobody wants to scroll down for ages looking for something they might or might not want.

Relevant and interesting content doesn’t just apply to Facebook updates or tweets. Your website could be the prettiest one in the region, but attractive design can only get you so far. Content is what truly matters to customers in the end – they’re not going to spend a long time on a website that is of no interest to them, even if they like the colour scheme. Good social media content that attracts the people right away can be the means of directing the prospective customers to your company’s website, and in order for them to spend some time on it browsing for things that they need, the site’s content should be even more engaging that tweets and Facebook updates.

Website Optimization

With so many people accessing the Internet on a daily basis with the help of a mobile device, it’s important for a company to understand that part of their target audience and to cater to them. There are many professionals out there who would be able to optimise your website for mobile or to even create an app for your company. And it goes without saying that you should connect the app to social media apps for the networks you’re on. Many business apps often crash because there are “bugs” in the connection system, and there are several ways a professional developer can fix those bugs for you. He or she can either do that right away or when you update the app.

Keeping the content fresh is an integral part of its relevance. With so many competitors constantly pushing for innovation across most industries, it’s important to stay on top of things and deliver up to date content that’s relevant at that very moment. I recommend that you start on that as soon as you launch your site and your social media pages and be remembered as the company that goes hand in hand with time.

All of the ideas above are just a few ways you can set yourself apart from your competitors online. Spend some time thinking about some other ways you can do so, and make sure to include them in your business plan when you’re pitching to the investors. Remember that these ideas need to be founded – do some market research in advance to see what your target audience might want and expect from a business’ online presence. If your ideas are solid, you should have no trouble incorporating them into the plan and to eventually realise them, making them an integral part of your online brand.

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