In today’s digital marketplace, if you want to be in business, then you have to be online. In fact, in 2020, already strong performance figures for eCommerce increased over 40%. If you don’t engage with your customers digitally, then you can bet that your competitors are, and you’ll be losing an enormous chunk of your market.
Of course, simply being present online isn’t enough. You need an effective digital presence if you really want to increase your web traffic, reach more potential customers, and nurture your relationship with your existing customers. Competition is stiff online, and consumers respond to businesses differently than they would in the real world. After all, another business trying to get their attention is always just a few clicks away.
So, what exactly does it mean to have an effective digital presence? Here is what you need to know.
Digital Presence 101
What exactly is a digital presence? Quite simply, it is everywhere your business is visible online. Your digital presence incorporates everything from your website and social media pages to your visibility in advertising, on independent review sites, in Google Knowledge Graphs, and more. Whenever someone encounters your brand somewhere on the internet, they are encountering part of your digital presence.
Not every business’ digital presence will look the same. For some companies, their digital presence is hyper-local, and they run ads that only show up for people in their area. Other companies may focus primarily on social media for customer engagement, while others may have large websites filled with an extensive amount of content that educates customers about issues related to their products or services.
With those differences in mind, it’s important to realize that an effective digital presence means something different for every business. Working with a digital marketing firm can help you navigate your own marketplace with personalized advice, but there are certain strategies that everyone should consider, including the following.
Social media is a key component of effective digital presence. For some businesses, it may be the center point from which all other forms of digital engagement begin. Your social media page allows for personalized interactions with customers and helps you create a brand identity that resonates with your audience. You can judge what kind of content and information your customers respond to and which they don’t simply by tracking which kinds of posts gain the most traction. You can also boost your presence with customer engagement activities like contests run from your social media pages.
To really be successful on social media, it helps to understand which sites your customers and potential customers are using. Some brands may find that they really need to be on all of the major sites to highlight different kinds of posts, while others may determine that their customers are clustered in one place that they should focus on. Building customer profiles with a digital marketing team and tracking post reaction rates will help you make determinations about improving your social media presence.
Keep in mind that social media is a long game. It requires daily maintenance to keep your engagement levels high and to continue to draw in new users. Your presence may grow slowly, but the more you work on it, the more your audience will expand.
What are people saying about your brand online? Managing your reviews and statements about your brand online is essential to an efficient digital presence. Although some sites that post reviews try to delete any posts that seem patently false, they’re often slow to get the job done. That means you have to take charge of your online reputation.
A single negative review can damage your brand, while a large number of negative reviews can be the kiss of death for your business. Approximately 94% of people say that they have changed their minds about a purchase because of negative reviews. The good news is that you can use positive reviews to boost your business.
Start by seeing where you stand on major review sites, like Yahoo, Yelp, Google, and the Better Business Bureau, or BBB. Next, check any industry-specific review sites that relate to your business. If your reviews are great, then you just need to keep them coming in by incentivizing customers to continue to leave reviews.
If your reviews are negative, start by contacting the host website about any reviews that you believe to be false. Next, go through and respond to the negative reviews. Apologize for the issues at hand and offer solutions. Though negative reviews can be harmful, customers are much more likely to be generous in their interpretations of them if they see you trying to resolve customers’ concerns.
One of the most frustrating things for customers to encounter is looking for ways to contact a business online and not being able to find them. A major source of this information is the Google Knowledge Graph, which is the block that appears next to search engine results for a particular business. If you haven’t claimed your business by setting up a Google My Business account, then you won’t be able to control the Google Knowledge Graph or add any information to it, like your phone number, hours, and website.
There are other places to make sure your business is listed online, such as the Yellow Pages. Naturally, you want your website to pop up in search results when customers search for you, but third-party listings for your business may not be consistent. Directory listings management is a service that your digital marketing agency can provide to keep your information accurate and up to date everywhere it may show up online.
At Salem Surround, we believe the most effective digital presence is one that surrounds your customers. When they’re in their usual places online, you should be there to. The more customers—and potential customers—see you in places they trust, the more they’ll begin to trust you, too. Let our team of digital marketing professionals help you boost your digital presence and make more connections with more people who are looking for products and services just like yours.