You might come across a number of businesses and startups that run after several search and marketing strategies with the hope that it will make their content go viral. With this, they end up taking the online presence they have for granted. They think that once they create a website and a Facebook or Instagram profile, they will be able to control their business's online presence.
But, Online Presence is way more than what they, and most people think. It is way beyond websites and social media profiles.
Online Presence is a broader concept and is distributed across a number of channels and different digital platforms on the internet.
What is Online Presence?
The Online Presence of a business refers to the visibility it has on the internet under its name. It might be an account on social networking sites, any asset, either the interactions it has with people or other businesses or any piece of information about the business on the internet.
I don't think I'll be wrong if I say that your owned online presence is everything in today's world. Because, as mentioned before, your online presence is nothing else but all of the content created by you on the Internet coming under the name of your company.
Earned Online Presence:
Earned Online Presence is the information about your business that isn't uploaded by you but is something that people say about you, or your business for that matter.
It can have any kind of format, on any of the famous digital platforms on which people would like to talk about you. It can include tweets from Twitter, answers on Quora, video reviews on Youtube, or star reviews on online directories even.
As far as startups are concerned, more often than not a significant part of their online presence is created by other people. Those people are either their customers- frustrated/angry users or satisfied/happy users, or people who are not yet customers but have certain questions regarding their product or services or, might even be their competitors.
The bottom line is that your online presence is a form of communication regarding you, sometimes including you, that can never be entirely under your control so it is important for you to constantly monitor it.
I agree that your ultimate goal of building an online presence is to be found on the web, but, that alone is not enough. Rather, not monitoring your online presence might have serious consequences and can even turn out to be risky to your business.
Online Presence Management
Managing an online presence is indeed the need of this hour. No doubt that it is challenging but you don't have to worry as there are a number of ways with the help of which you can manage the online presence of your business yourself without requiring any help from outsiders.
So, let us learn about how can you manage your Online Presence.
1. Search Yourself on Google
For the start, search your business's name on Google. You can run a search for the same on Google Images as well. Set up a Google alert on the name of your business so that you will be able to keep track of any new content related to your business getting posted on the web. You could even have those notifications get mailed to you according to your convenience.
2. Buy a Domain Name for your Business
People have different opinions on how much money or effort one must invest in it, though it would cost around $12 a year to buy your domain name on sites like GoDaddy. Patrick Ambron, CEO and Cofounder of BrandYourself says, “The more you get, the better”.
Personally, I think it is better to pick one domain name and put the required efforts into creating content that will reside on the website for sufficient time. One can also write a short bio of one's business, a story of the Founders' life, and include his CV as well.
A website owned by your business will also be a place for posting interesting articles and business information in a systematic and presentable manner.
3.Have a Single Place for All Your Content
You can have all your content in one place with the help of a number of sites that help you do this now like Tumblr, WordPress, About.me, etc. They also give you the facility to “apply” your business's domain name that people searching for you could be routed to your Tumblr page or WordPress page right there. These sites offer nicely designed templates that are pretty convenient for setting up the online face of your business. They will be like a professionally designed website for which you didn't even have to hire a designer.
4. Be a Part of Social Networks.
It would not be anything new if I say that Social Networking sites comprises the majority of a person's or a business's online presence. So, one must reach out to them and maintain their profiles well if they are looking forward to establish a firm online presence on the Internet.
As most of us know, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ are leading social networks these days. Not only these, other platform like Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. also have a huge audience base.
Do not worry that you'll have to invest a lot of time on these sites as you of course aren't expected to be active all the time. Well, this does not mean one can be entirely dormant either. Adding new content once a month shall be enough.
5. Optimising your Online Presence
Make sure that you use those sites mentioned in the previous point to the fullest, utilizing each feature they have to offer according to your convenience. Trust me, they will turn out to be very effective in maintaining your business's online presence. Also, keep on customizing the URL along with repeating your name wherever required. Use your full name and not a nickname or some catchy slogan.You can even link your other social media sites with your website. Doing it will add great value to your online presence making it stronger.
6. Keep your Private things Private, believing that Nothing is Private
Today even teenagers know that it’s unwise to post certain kinds of pictures like that of chugging beer or dancing shirtless. But, they are also aware of the fact that they can’t control those pictures that other people post of them. So as far as your personal life is concerned, always keep your privacy settings on while sharing that kind of content that you wish to share with only a selected group of your close friends and family. Though sites like Facebook and others are playing their part by constantly changing their privacy policies.
You can create two Facebook profiles, one for outsiders and the other for close ones. The former would emphasize your educational and professional background without much about your personal life and the latter one for your intimate circles, yet with the most private settings you could find. I agree that it might be difficult to manage more than one Facebook account but one can't deny the wisdom behind the idea.
Also, in case you find any embarrassing information or picture about you on any of the social networking sites then do not hesitate to ask then to take it down and remove the 'tag' that defines it as you immediately.
In today's times maintaining an online presence is more of a necessity rather than a choice. But, it has its own risks. Hence it is very important to manage your online presence properly while taking all of the possibilities into consideration.
I hope that you would find these ways for managing Online Presence useful and my words would have been of some help to you.