For start-ups and small businesses just getting their feet wet, knowing how to maintain an authoritative online presence is the key to success.
Your start-up may have the best product or service in the market but what good is it if people cannot find your business online?
And make no mistake — potential customers are all online searching for products and services that solve their problems.
So, a stout online presence enables potential customers to find the start-up’s offerings and confirm the business is bona fide.
Plus, online interactions with an audience provide a glimpse into the quality of the products and services.
Not sure where to begin? Here are three steps to start building a start-up’s online presence.
1. Build a solid social media presence on select platforms
Social media provides an opportunity to show the human side of the business and have a real dialogue with customers. In the long run, it is one of the best ways to lower customer acquisition costs and increase customer lifetime value.
What’s more, a strong social media presence gives a start-up that all-important social proof. Before they part with their hard-earned money, customers want evidence that what is on offer is genuine and sought-after by others.
Earning reviews, shoutouts, and compliments on social media from past clients can skyrocket a start-up’s credibility.
While on the subject of reviews, the more the merrier. Of course, positive reviews are the goal, but even negative reviews are a boon. They help boost a start-up’s authenticity and serve as an opportunity to improve the product or service and prove the company cares about client satisfaction.
Getting the social media game right is critical. First off, pick the right platform — for instance, if it is a business-to-business (B2B) software-as-a-service (SaaS) start-up, the best bet would likely be to focus all efforts on building authority on LinkedIn and Twitter.
On the other hand, for a retail e-commerce store, Facebook and Instagram is the way to go.
Next, do the following things on the chosen social handles to start gaining traction:
- Post quality visual content related to the products, such as lifestyle images.
- Ask open-ended questions to drive more engagement.
- Show the behind-the-scenes of the start-up by vlogging or posting employee stories.
- Tell stories and do not be too formal. Be humorous and genial with the audience.
Also, apart from conventional social media channels, provide original, valuable answers on social networking forums and Q&A websites such as Reddit and Quora.
Engage with the target audience and help them without promoting the business. Doing this consistently for a few months will have results in terms of higher traffic, brand awareness and authority.
2. Publish useful content on the website
So, time has been spent coming up with a great company and domain name, an amazing looking, functioning website and it’s live on the internet. Now what?
Three words: publish useful content.
While being active on social media is pivotal to boosting brand awareness, creating useful content exclusive to the company’s website has its own big benefits.
Website content, such as comprehensive how-to guides, fun listicles and interactive quizzes that just beg to be shared and bookmarked, can go a long way in solidifying the start-up’s online presence.
Moreover, such content is valuable to not only the company’s audience but also to search engines like Google.
The more content published on the site, and the higher the quality of that content, the more likely the business will rank towards the top of Google search.
Content helps search crawlers better understand what the start-up is about and makes it easier to crawl and index the site properly.
After all, having a powerful online presence is all about showing up on social media and search engines.
3. Contribute content to authority publications and popular blogs
Continuing along the same lines, plan content (in the form of guest posts and infographics) that can be contributed to external publications and niche blogs that are relevant to the business, as earning mentions and backlinks for the website is vital to attaining top rankings on Google.
Distributing high-quality content will help build a credible brand image, spread the word about the start-up, and generate more site traffic and leads.
In fact, for most websites, Google search is a major source of traffic. Thus, content marketing is imperative to a start-up’s long-term success.
Establishing a solid online presence is tough, but follow the above steps and the start-up will be well on its way to becoming a reputable online authority with a steady stream of inbound clients.
Sure, content creation and promotion will take months of consistent hard work before seeing any tangible results. But in the long run, it will be well worth it.
This article first appeared in The New Savvy.
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