Your Business needs Online Charisma, not just a Website.
Category : Online Marketing
You have a website. So do your competitors. There are millions, maybe billions and counting, websites online. How do you help your customers find you from amongst all the noise? Does your digital presence help you stand out? Do you have online charisma?
Someone recently told me about promises made by a web company, to promote a to-be-developed site:
as part of a group package along with other websites.
Then there are companies that make outlandish SEO claims about getting you on the first page of Google.
Beware of these quick fix services! Especially considering that Google itself may actively work against you, like it is doing with some bigger names.
Do it Right!
Your best bet is to work on a strong online charisma that includes:
1) Digital assets that you own
Showcase your latest activity on your website and/or blog, your digital head quarters.
A ‘brochure’ site is passé. Your site should allow visitors to interact with you, and allow you to regularly share relevant information. A blog, alongside the main website is usually a good way to provide content, on an ongoing basis. This can keep visitors flocking to your site.
Some may say that you only need a Facebook page. However, it could be risky to put all your eggs in Facebook’s seemingly irresistible basket. This post by Donna Maria, about blogs vs. Facebook pages, raises some flags on the shortcomings of such a strategy.
2) Digital assets you rent – e.g.: Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin
Facebook and twitter are among the most widely used media platforms, you can enhance your digital presence with. The good part about this renting arrangement is that its free (just the account). Note that there is much more to it than having a facebook or twitter account.
To derive value, you have to engage with your customers on these social communication platforms.
Many businesses think that the idea behind social media accounts is to keep bombarding these channels with product and service offerings. Until they realize, that audiences quickly tune out the spiel.
Instead, use social media platforms to engage with customers at multiple touch points. Leverage these media channels for feedback, information/tips, customer service, PR, content distribution, idea mining, identifying potential collaborators etc.
These outposts will also help direct customers back to your digital headquarters, your main site.
DO NOT make the mistake of considering these platforms as strictly sales and promotional channels.
3) Digital assets you create – Ongoing Online Content Creation
To create a lasting digital presence you have to allocate time and effort to creating content that will sustain the interest of your audience. Blog posts, videos, photographs, even Facebook updates are the many different types of content.
Customer reviews, crowd sourced and fan boy content, all give an added boost to your digital charisma.
Content marketing can showcase your product, abilities, services, mission and more. Use your rented digital assets to distribute the content your fans and you create.
Providing value in your content is the best way to ensure that others will distribute it. Building great social relationships by helping promote others, is another.
Consistent content creation and publishing helps in other ways too. It improves your search engine standing, for industry specific terms and keywords. You should be creating relevant content that will help promote your digital presence within your industry and among your customers.
4) Digital social communities you are part of – Relationships
Like mentioned earlier, you are part of a community. This community may operate online but is based on eternal concepts. Encourage others. Help them distribute their content. Comment on other blogs. Help others be interesting. Do unto others…
There are some very tangible benefits, including SEO, in being a helpful online. Work together with the online community to help your customers and collaborators find you.
Online Branding and Marketing Strategy
All this said, you have to make sure that your business goals and its resources are optimally aligned with your online business strategy. You may not need a Facebook page…your customers could be on Linkedin or vice versa. In other cases, there may not be adequate internal resources to sustain short and/or long-term content creation goals.
When you lay the foundations of a good digital presence, there are quite a few technology and outsourcing choices to be made. It is increasingly important to have a vision to integrate PR, advertising, marketing, customer service etc., into your digital charisma. An understanding of how they all work together can help you find your customers and keep them.
Working with partners who have a broader understanding of the online landscape, offers your business an advantage. It can even prevent expensive missteps
e.g.: Many web development companies have great portfolios in Flash technology. However, your business may suffer if your customers use devices that do not support this technology yet (Flash is not supported on tablet devices like the iPad).
Similarly, having a popular blogger take over your blog may work short-term. Over the longer term, external bloggers may have more vested in their personal brand rather than in yours. Maybe you are better off using other internal resources with longer term loyalty and content creation sustainability.
Have thoughts on the topic? What else do you think is needed for a good digital presence? What ideas and actions do you incorporate into your digital charisma?