Having an online presence is no longer optional for businesses. Even if you don’t want to create social media accounts or a formal website for your brand, chances are your customers are talking about you anyway — and you may as well be part of the conversation.
The good news is it’s never too late to build and expand your digital footprint. You can start small and slowly expand as you get the hang of content marketing and social media management. To help you get started, follow these simple steps recommended by members of Young Entrepreneur Council.
1. Focus on Good PR
People spend a lot of money trying to get into the top spaces on Google when they should be doing things that get them on dozens of pages of Google. Search engine optimization will not get you as far as good old-fashioned public relations. A news story about what you do for your community will go a lot further than an ad impression. Actively change the world, and customers will come.
2. Get Active on Social Media and Connect Your Accounts
Develop social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. and connect them to each other. Having active profiles that use your name and reference your company helps drive more search engine results for searches for you. In addition, consider building out a simple “about us” page on your website and cross-link it with all your profiles.
3. Pitch Yourself as a Podcast Guest
A great way to expand your online footprint is by seeking out and pitching relevant podcasts for interviews. Not only is it a great way to gain visibility and generate credibility in your field as an expert, it’s also an effective way to build relationships with influential podcasters.
4. Choose Your Most Effective Social Platform and Focus on Building It Out
Figure out which social media platform is best for your business. Investors and real estate people thrive on Twitter. Bakers and restaurants thrive on Instagram. Is your work more conceptual or visual? Once you answer that question, post one piece of media every day with relevant tags using the best medium. Next thing you know, people will know and like your material.
5. Write Great Content
There is a lot of noise in the online world today, but great content still stands out. If you want to improve your digital footprint, get writing. Create high-quality content that speaks directly to the needs of your target customers and share it. You can then repost it on places like Medium and LinkedIn. Building a loyal base is a great way to get traction.
6. Work With an Online Marketing Expert
Hire a freelancer who specializes in this area to get their advice on what you can do to build out your online presence. They can often see where you should go next and why it works. They can either do it for you or provide direction that gets you on the right track.
7. Stay Consistent in Your Digital Presence
When you’re building your online presence, it’s all about staying consistent. Post consistently and engage with your community consistently. Whether it’s your blog, social media, email, etc., the key to growing your digital footprint is to plan and create. Having a schedule for your content keeps you on track to create predictable online growth.
8. Automate Your Distribution
I use a tool called SocialBee, which syndicates my content from all kinds of sources and automates the entire social media process. Find a tool to scale your distribution and it will appear that you’re everywhere; that’s the first step to brilliant SEO, funnels and followers.
9. Build a Foundation with SEO
Make sure that the online presence you do have is optimized as best it can be, particularly in regards to SEO. The value of organic search traffic is well understood by marketers, so ensuring your website is search-friendly can make a big difference. As your online presence grows, the foundations you have built will continue to yield results.
10. Maintain a Robust Content Calendar
You need to be scheduling and building content. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t always the best — the point is that you have a keyword directive you are targeting and that you are pushing materials out consistently. After a year or more you will have a significant presence. Keep at it and grind out the content.
11. Be the Best in Your Market
Don’t focus your energy on thinking about how to enlarge your online presence. Instead, focus on being the absolute best option for your product or service on the market. Customers will find you and start talking about you. Google takes notice, too. The market will do the work.
12. Sign Up for HARO
An easy way to get press mentions online is to sign up for Help a Reporter Out (HARO). They will send you daily emails with summaries of planned articles. You can then browse the list and reply with a quote to any good fits. Having digital press mentions will help build your brand’s authority.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Social Media and Branding Efforts
Social media is still one of the best ways to build a digital footprint for yourself and your brand. Follow each of the tips above and start making a name for yourself. Another great thing about social profiles, is that they are super easy to rank. Just send a few backlinks and social shares to them, and you will start to see them move up in the rankings.
Would you like more expert tips and opinions on different ways to make money and grow your business online? If so, be sure to check out these previous expert roundups we posted to the blog.