Not many business owners today would disagree that having an online presence is important. The age of doing business online hasn’t passed, but has instead grown itself into the largest network of consumer spending in the world. But just having a website and a description of your company isn’t enough – there have to be differentiators that set you apart from the crowd. Engagement, credibility, thought leadership, and authority mean more now than ever.
Credibility is Important
Having an honest, credible online presence sets you apart from everyone else who claims to do what you do. (Note: If you think you’re the only one out there who thinks you’re the only one doing what you’re doing, you’re sorely mistaken.) Being viewed as an authority in your industry is important; it shows you’re actively practicing in the field and should be considered a go-to person.
By getting articles published in reputable publications, authoring books, winning awards, growing your social media following, and offering value propositions, such as a blog, a newsletter, or webinars, you can grow an online presence organically. Gaining trust with your investors and customers is more important than anything else you do, and having a good online presence helps you reach the right people with the right message.
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes: When they consider doing business with you, you want them to visibly see and trust your brand. Being able to show publications you’ve written for, awards you’ve won, and books you’ve written will gain instant trust that might otherwise have been second-guessed by your potential clients.
Recommended for YouWebcast: A Week in the Life of an Agile Creative Team
By having a strong online presence, you allow a consumer to make up his mind, whether you’re right for him or not. You put the ball in his court and force him to decide whether you seem credible. If not, the onus is back on the consumer to look for someone else to help solve his problem or fill his need.
Whether your company is three employees strong or 300, whether you’re CEO of a tech startup or a large, multi-million-dollar corporation, your online presence is crucial to communicate that you are the go-to person in your industry. By having a strong identity, you’re able to portray your brand quickly and easily to potential clients. This does half the selling for you, defraying costs and boosting the chances of finding customers who are good fits.
Stick to Your Strengths
If you have the time and understand what your brand needs in order to build your online presence, then you should absolutely do the work yourself. Oftentimes, as a business owner or CEO, it’s hard to find ample time to update Twitter, let alone consistently work on building online presence and authority.
If building and leveraging your brand isn’t where your strengths lie, find a company that knows how to gain exposure and credibility based on your expertise, passion, and track record. Ultimately, you need to decide if you – or the resources within your company – can do it well, or if it’s worth outsourcing to make sure you’re capitalizing on every aspect of your brand and online presence.
Making It Work
It can often be tough to find true examples of experts who are doing it right, but there are a few who not only value a good online presence, but are actively growing theirs to ensure they’re consistently reaching their target markets with the right message.
Matt Hunt consistently updates his personal blog, something many entrepreneurs don’t take the time to do. While it may seem tedious and time-consuming, updating a blog on a personal website or company page can be a great way to keep your audience engaged.
Rudy Miick realizes the importance of having a social media presence to engage and develop clients and followers. By understanding how you can use different platforms to educate and engage your audience, you can take your brand and, most importantly, your reach to another level professionally.
Whether you’re a company or an individual, you’ll have a huge advantage over your competitors if you spend time and effort expanding your online presence and authority. By not just being easily searchable, but truly viewed as a credible, trusted expert within the field, you have a much higher possibility of attracting and converting clients online.
Consumers want the best, and they want to know that you are the best. Why wouldn’t you ensure that your online presence mirrors what you do, how you’ve done it, and how well you do it? Don’t be the best-kept secret anymore; invest in your brand and your online presence. If you don’t, I guarantee someone else will invest in theirs – and capitalize on the millions of consumers looking to find the best person in the field.