7 Reasons You Need an Online Presence as a Small Business
Building an online presence is not usually the first thing a new or small business owner is thinking about unless they already know how important it is to be online. No matter what size of business you have, building and maintaining an online presence is crucial in our current world in order to stay relevant and succeed.
What is an online presence?
An online presence is any kind of existence of an individual, group, or business that can be found on the internet, typically through a website address (e.g., examplewebsite.com) or social media account (e.g., Facebook and Instagram).
Below are 7 important reasons to consider prioritizing building an online presence for your business.
1. You don’t exist if you don’t have an online presence.
It’s a bold claim, but as time progresses, more and more people are moving to online platforms to search, communicate, and buy. Look at the growth of social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
Depending on your industry and demographic, there’s a high likelihood that your audience spends time online on their phone or computer and searches for solutions (i.e., products, services, and communities) on the internet.
You want to be where your audience is spending their time and especially where they are searching when they’re on the hunt for a solution to their need. Traditional advertising and brick-and-mortar locations still have their place and shouldn’t be ignored, but a business is missing out if they don’t have a way to capture the attention and traffic of their audience.
2. Building an online presence is scalable.
For many small businesses and independents it’s better to have a small online presence than no presence at all or to rely exclusively on traditional marketing methods.
Getting a basic website put together with information about the business, products and services, location details, and how to contact you are all essential. After that, having accounts on all the major social media platforms and wherever your audience spends their time allows you to “get on the map.”
Once you’re on the map, you could figuratively never touch your website or social media again, although it’s not recommended to stop there.
It’s better to continue to cultivate and update your online platforms to maintain a positive online presence. Simply having the essentials online is far better than having nothing up at all. You get to choose how much time and resources to devote to developing an online presence.
3. You can delegate the development and maintenance of your online presence.
You could assign the job to someone on your team, hire someone to join your team, or outsource the project to a third-party to build and manage your online presence. Most businesses already have their plates full of projects for business maintenance and developments for growth, making it hard to prioritize building or managing an online presence. If you delegate the task, you don’t have to allocate time away from other projects and still gain all the benefits of having an online presence.
4. Your online presence will work for you 24/7.
One of the main benefits to an online presence is that it works for you 24/7/365 without you having to be there while a potential customer or client interacts with your website or social media account. While you still want to engage with your audience, the basic structure of your online presence allows you to focus your attention on business growth and then handle interactions at a more convenient time.
Shaping your online presence allows you to better cultivate the ideal “first impression” you want to make for people seeing you for the first time or when being considered in the eyes of a prospective customer or client.
5. Your online presence becomes your gallery.
Websites and social media accounts are great for showcasing products, services, and real-world results. You can create galleries to show off your products, create detailed descriptions of your services, and can provide real-world testimonials from satisfied customers and clients.
Potential clients and customers can see these as they peruse your website and social media presence in order to get a feel for what your products and services will provide.
6. You’ll establish market authority with an online presence.
Taking on (or delegating) the role of building and managing an online presence allows you to establish yourself as a leading authority in your market. The way you write your content, showcase videos, and distribute knowledge about your expertise allows you to put your business higher on the hierarchy of valuable products/services in the minds of your audience.
7. You can build real relationships with your audience through an interactive online presence.
Often overlooked, building real relationships with an audience is an important and valuable part of having an online presence. When a member of your audience engages with your online presence (through emails, direct messages, and comments on social media or the website), you have the opportunity to respond and provide value to those individuals.
Interactions with audience members can be simple enough to show them that you have seen their interaction and are grateful for them taking the time to visit your business. Taking a few seconds to interact with each customer can set your business apart from the many out there that do little or no interaction with customers. Customers often go to places and individuals they like and where they feel valued or seen.
Starting Building Your Online Presence Today
If you don’t have an online presence yet, now’s the time to consider building a simple one and establishing a plan to maintain or grow it. When starting, it doesn’t need to be complicated. You can always delegate the task to someone on your team who is more experienced or to another individual or company who is already experienced with the management of online presences.
Send me a message today to learn more about building and managing an online presence. I can help you determine if it’s worth building an online presence for your business and how you can leverage it to grow in your market.
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