It’s a good question and one we get a lot from SMEs that have been trading in industries that never relied on the internet previously. Traditional manufacturing companies or servicemen and women are often not online, let alone proactively building their digital presence. Simply put: Your digital presence is the the space that you and your company occupy in the online world. Many moons ago this simply meant having a website that people could navigate to, but nowadays it’s a hell of a lot more work, but there are boundless opportunities to capture the online market and take your business to the next level.
‘Facebook is for kids...’, ‘Twitter can’t help grow my business...’, ‘Youtube is for watching people play video games…’ - ever had a single one of those thoughts? Well you’d be right, but you’d be waaaay more wrong.
We are in the midst of the digital age and the world is increasingly becoming more and more online dependant. As younger generations move through the ranks, there is a huge reliance on the internet and if you don’t have a presence online how can you expect to captivate this new audience with high expendable incomes? Mobile’s are increasingly used to browse the internet. More than 60% of all online browsing is done on mobile phones so that’s another aspect to consider when planning to build your digital presence.
As well as other aspects I’m going to briefly touch on Inbound marketing in this segment but for a monre in-depth read, subscribe to the blog and you’ll get the Inbound marketing post when it becomes live.
Firstly, and most importantly, consider your audience. There’s no point embarking on a quest to curate the most awesome Twitter feed when it might not be a medium that is used by your audience. Do some research, even survey your customers if you have to, to find out where they are currently spending their time online. You can then laser focus your efforts on building your presence here, to start with. This is a proven tactic we’ve had work for many of our clients who didn’t appreciate the potential of the online world. REC Asbestos was, in their own words, a ‘Traditional Dinosaur’ when it came to business. Having worked in the demolition and hazardous waste industry for over 30 years, their MD was happy with the pace at which the business was moving - when we approached them about a website and growing their digital presence on LinkedIn to generate leads and build their brand online they they were tentative to say the least. 3 years and a website, Facebook and LinkedIn page later REC Asbestos have now developed their business to allow for smaller jobs that wouldn’t necessarily have come their way but that now make up a substation part of the business.
Once you’ve established who your audience are and where they spend their time online you can start to think about building your digital presence there. Let’s say, for example sake it’s LinkedIn; great. It’s the number one social network for professionals and people with business intent. Most people agree that the first thing in your digital presence arsenal is a website - if you don’t have a website that’s the first place you should start. They don’t have to be complicated if it’s not necessary but your website is your digital business card, and them some. It markets you 24/7 which is more than any employee ever will and it’s a great value investment for any company. Once your website is live then you can start to focus on the social channel that you have established your audience spend most of their time. There are a number of things you now need to do to start building a reputable social presence:
If you can consistently provide points 2 and 3, then point 4 will come naturally and followers/fans/customers will head to your pages in their droves. Remember to be consistent and be sure to provide content of a high quality that is relevant to your audience and the products or service that you are offering. This way you can tie in the content to your products and generate more conversions.
So have a bit of a review of how you operate and if your business doesn’t have a digital presence then ask yourself ‘Why?’ because right now, you’re online and you’re reading this post. You’re probably going to head over to Amazon or ebay later too and check out what sort of things they’ve got on offer. They might be a million times bigger than your company but the basis of business remains the same. Get online and get digital. It’s a progressive mindset to have for your business that has so much unlocked potential.