Authored by Jeff Tomlin, our CMO, this post first appeared on CommPro.Biz.
It’s well into the New Year, but the calendar doesn't have to read January 1st for you to make some worthwhile resolutions for your business. There are some commitments you need to be working at all year to ensure you build the best online presence for your business.
Check out these three quick tips to help you build your online presence and expand your customer base where it matters most — online.
1. Have a voice on social media
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you need to set up an account on Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Foursquare, Flickr, Tumblr, YouTube, Reddit, Linkedin… The list can be overwhelming. Choose the social channels that best apply to your business, and then maintain them properly. For example, if you are a plumber, you likely won’t have a lot of customers searching for you on Pinterest. Potential customers will likely, however, check out your reviews and contact information on Facebook. Choose which social accounts are most relevant to you, then make a commitment to post and interact on them regularly. One of the most important things to remember is to engage with others in the community. If you are on Twitter, per se, you should be asking questions, retweeting others in your vertical and sharing industry news and articles, not just one-way broadcasting your message.
2. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
You likely don’t need to see a lot of numbers and stats to recognize that mobile usage is growing, and fast. Think of yourself — do you check your email on a desktop? Where do you log in to Facebook? If you’re going out for supper, where do you check for reviews? People seek out contact information for local businesses on mobile, often with the intent of making a purchase. If you want some numbers, mobile ad spending is forecast to increase from $8.4 billion in 2012 to almost $37 billion in 2016 on smartphones and tablets. If potential customers can’t navigate your site because it is a zoomed out version of your regular homepage, you are handing new customers directly to your competitors.
3. Get your listings right
This sounds simple, and it can be, but having inaccurate NAP (name, address, phone number) data across the web will make you lose customers. While people are searching out local business info online, and Google says one of the most frequently searched items in this regard is NAP data, you need to ensure that what they find will be accurate. People are looking for you online — make sure they can find you. Updating manually can take over 300 hours annually, so seeking out software to help you is often a worthwhile investment if you’re short on time.
This list is not all inclusive, obviously, but it’s a good start to building your online presence. At Vendasta, we think of most of these items as foundational, and encourage our partners to give some of these resources to local businesses for free through Presence Builder. That’s right, we think they’re so foundational, we give them away! These are things you cannot afford to skip out on.
Like any resolution, building and maintaining your online presence isn’t easy. It takes time, hard work and a conscientious effort. The rewards, however, will be felt in customer satisfaction, revenue growth and customer acquisition. As with anything, if you can’t manage it on your own (and you likely shouldn't, because you have a business to run), reach out to people in your company, new software and other tools to help you build your online presence.
About the Author: As the co-founder and VP of marketing at Vendasta Technologies, Jeff Tomlin is a visionary in the quickly changing world of digital. Jeff sees the landscape evolving and identifies creative and proactive solutions through product development and market research. In 1998, when the gravity of the Internet was just beginning to be felt, Jeff founded a career site where he managed design, writing, SEO and everything marketing. This is indicative of the path he took for years after — always discovering, always pioneering. Having held several executive roles before embarking on his journey of entrepreneurship, Jeff has overseen relationship development for some of the world’s largest media companies, including Google, Yahoo, The New York Times and Classified Ventures. Today, he continues to work with over 250 media organizations across all verticals, serving over 100,000 local businesses through these connections. At Vendasta, Jeff works with media companies to help better the small and medium businesses they serve. Jeff and the team work to grow revenue with digital media solutions, strengthen traditional media assets and develop digital sales strategies.