Let’s start with your website. There are many business owners who use online platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to market and promote including landing pages, booking appointments, and signing up for events. We have discussed this many times internally and during meetups and events; it boils down to the integrity of your brand. Social media platforms are a great tool to market your brand, however, directing all interaction back to your branded website is best. Consider the most recent incidents of networks being down, social media tracking practices, and other security challenges.
First, ensure your brand is updated and communicated through your website, your materials, and all communications you own, manage, and support.
This can be delegated to an employee, outsourced to a good-fit media agency, through internship programs, or by signing up for services through university courses. There are great minds in the classroom, you can take advantage by connecting with faculty that are in need of real-world business projects.
Next, ensure that you have some type of communication (newsletter, articles, videos, podcast) you can send to those that engage.
It should be sent on a consistent schedule focused on the specific information they can benefit from and a soft sell of your solution. Your goal is to build a list of your best prospects in order to communicate your message, brand, and core competencies strategically. To do this you have to have a communication vehicle for them to opt in to.
Third, make sure that everyone you place on your list gives you permission to do so and that they understand the communication they will be receiving.
You don’t want to annoy or spam your target. We receive many emails with promotions and events and never signed up to receive them – this can get you in trouble with your prospects.
Once you determine your communication and have a process for getting people on your communication list, you should determine how you’re going to share your knowledge in terms of networking NOT selling.
For example, will you share articles, an eBook, host special events, share key resources, etc.? This is a crucial step that should be mapped out strategically and supported by the marketing strategy. This is your time to share, engage, and connect using your knowledge through your brand elements.
Next, we need to increase your “presence” by increasing your search rankings.
Online presence is about ensuring your brand is shown when people search your name; you want at least three pages of searchable links back to your brand. To keep it simple, we would recommend getting your business listed on google places business directory and doing a search for other free online business directories and get listed based on your industry. Also, for anything you post or share, make sure you have a consistent closing signature that includes your full name, full company name, and a link to your blog or website (whatever you’re promoting). This is minimal, but you should begin to understand the importance of this step.
Lastly, you want to act credible online.
Make sure you have a good profile bio, and a great-looking picture so that your audience knows who they are engaging with.
And, use social media platforms to market and engage, not brand. This can vary based on your type of business.
Once you have a list-building process in place and you have something to share with those you meet (online and offline), you can network and engage using your website, your materials, and your brand, with targeted platforms, tools, and resources.
Online engagement is about sharing relevant knowledge and connecting with your audience through “your” brand!
Let us know how it goes!
© Effició, Inc.
p.s. If you’re ready to begin TOTAL entrepreneurial development, begin by joining the next Education Information Session.