You’d be hard pushed to find a business without an online presence these days. But mismanagement and poor strategy can often prevent the time invested in digital from leading to a significant ROI. As such, it’s important to identify three areas of improvement that are essential for you to get right if your online presence is to grow healthily.

Take a look, then ask yourself – is your brand working well online?

Optimising for the web

It may sound a touch unglamorous, but optimising your site’s content for the best user and search performance is fundamental to fostering an effective online presence for your brand.

There are essentially two strands to optimisation: user experience and search performance.

The user experience is all about communicating with clarity and confidence. Your content should be easy to navigate and simple to scan, allowing the important information to be gleaned with the minimum of effort and maximum of efficiency. Essentially, this means short, sharp sentences. Punchy subtitles and bullet point lists. Writing that demonstrates expertise without relying on the excessive use of terminology. It may seem simplistic, but getting this right has a massive impact on your customer’s experience interacting with the brand or product.

Optimising for search is a little more technical, and no less vital. Identifying keywords for your sector and competitors depends on navigating tools like Google Analytics. Instilling groups of relevant keywords – in a way that is unobtrusive and natural – will improve your search ranking for these terms, as well as boost the metrics of your website. To find out more about using keywords, take a look at this handy beginner’s guide.

Understanding YouTube

Is your product or service something that suits exciting visual content? Many companies are reluctant to commit their brands to YouTube for fear of making errors in a fast-moving medium – but if you don’t have a nuanced approach to creative risk, your brand will never grow.

Not only is YouTube a platform that can boost your brand awareness, but if you can post content regularly and get it seen by a strong audience, you can monetise the account and make it a self-sustaining part of your marketing arsenal.

When starting out, follow the same simple rules for success as if you were a teenager vlogging in their bedroom. But if you don’t want to take the risk head-on – or there are hesitant execs looming, reluctant to commit to content – don’t worry. Product placement and creative collaborations with established YouTube creators are becoming bonafide and beneficial brand activity for many marketers.

An effective and mutually beneficial creator-company relationship depends on striking a fine balance, offering creative freedom and editorial flexibility whilst still achieving exposure and conversions for your brand. Most vloggers have worked with brands before, and for many it has been a decidedly mixed experience – so it’s worth investing the time and trust to get it right. When done with imagination, taking the audience and style of the creator into account, unique and lasting brand endorsements can be created.

Be a student of social

Brands using social has become a presumed core focus for the majority of marketing campaigns. Hesitant adoption of these tools has given way to enthusiastic mass involvement – suddenly, everyone is eager to dip their toe in the water across every available platform.

Understanding where to invest your time and creativity is key. Don’t waste time on Twitter if your audience is on Facebook. If you offer a predominantly visual service, or work in environments that are aesthetically pleasing or well-known, platforms like Instagram and YouTube should demand more of your efforts.

It’s important to take an open-minded approach to using social for your brand, being ready to adapt and follow the lead of your audience. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and admit to misjudgements when they happen – there’s little value in ploughing on with a social strategy that hasn’t worked.

Experiment, find your niche, then work hard to be the best at what you offer in that space.  

What can your brand do to improve its digital offering? Are there other key areas that you believe should be considered fundamental to a strong online offering?