Guest Post by Maya Szydlowski
If your business isn’t online these days, then you may as well pack up shop. Even traditional storefronts need online presences in order to survive. While many businesses now know that they need to have a Facebook page, very few truly understand why – let alone how to properly use a Facebook Fan Page or other social media sites in which they should be participating.
What is Online Visibility?
Essentially, it is the level of awareness your brand has online. How readily available is your business to potential online customers? How easy is it for interested parties to find information about your business online? These are questions that you should be asking when considering your business’ online visibility.
How Do You Increase Online Visibility?
At the very least, every business needs to have a website, and possibly even a blog. By having these two online features, a business is able to A) allow potential customers to find them and B) further engage customers to keep them coming back. While a business’ website can remain a bit more static, its blog needs to be posted to at least once a day.
For businesses without extensive marketing budgets, further increasing online visibility is as easy as joining, and actively participating in, a social media site. Facebook isn’t the only social media platform that your business should be using. Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube all are great social media platforms that your business should regularly be using to attract attention.
Tweet deals of the day or brief tidbits relevant to your business. Post a business profile on LinkedIn to attract like-minded business owners or potentially new employees. Create a Pinterest page and “pin” your blog posts or company products. Engage customers and Fans through your Facebook page. Beef up your SEO through Google+. Post commercials or tutorial videos describing how to use your products on YouTube. All of these provide easy and effective ways to spread your brand throughout the internet.
How Do You Maintain Online Visibility?
Another important aspect of online visibility is protecting it. Unfortunately, by opening yourself up to social media sites and blogging, you also open your business up to potentially bad press. Angry or unsatisfied clients may post on your Facebook page or review your company poorly on a site such as Angie’s List or Yelp, so using various reputation management tools can help you keep track.
To keep posts like these from taking over, you need to adhere to the following advice:
- Frequently check and remain active on all social media sites your company uses
- Quickly reply to all negative posts in a timely and polite manner
- SEO all positive press so that it always takes priority positions in search engine results pages
In addition to monitoring your customers’ posts, you also need to monitor yours and your employees as well. Don’t allow everyone access to your social media accounts, and definitely don’t let them post at random. Make sure to highlight positive and thankful reviews, like these, on your site and social media platforms, while avoiding the following:
- Unproven facts
- Disregarding customer comments
- Derogatory, crass, rude, or angry employee comments
- Comments slandering a race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation
While these types of comments may seem like no-brainers to avoid, several large corporations – including Chrysler, Dominos, and BP – have all fallen victim to such posts, proving that even those with budgets for social media consultants can still have slip ups.
By regularly blogging and participating in social media sites, you can increase your business’ online visibility, which will ultimately increase your business. However, with an online reputation comes the responsibility of properly managing it. So when you take your business online, be sure to remain active in managing its online visibility to ensure that your business experiences a positive increase in traffic.
Maya Szydlowski is the community manager for Veterans United Network, a top resource for veterans and active duty members, covering the latest news and benefits. Veterans United Network is proudly sponsored by Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s leading dedicated VA Lender.