How to Get Found Online: Creating an Effective Online Presence
In the second part of my three-part series, How to Get Found Online, we’ll explore how to create an effective online presence. If you missed my first blog on selecting your target market, you can find it here, as this will be critical to effectively marketing online. Now that you’ve carefully selected your target market, it’s time to narrow down where to spend your marketing efforts (and budget). In an ideal world where money is not an issue, you can simply push out your marketing to every single online directory, social media stream, building website upon website and hoping that a member of your target market stumbles upon you. But, this is not that world, and unfortunately, money is always an issue, especially for small businesses and entrepreneurs. That is why they need a plan to have their online strategies budget work in the most effective way possible.
In this real world, where competition is fierce between local small businesses in Newmarket and York Region, how do you maximize your online presence? By having a plan, and executing it well, of course. Your plan will take into account several facts that you will need to determine:
- Where is your target market “hanging-out” online?
- What content are they most interested in seeing online?
- What time of day are they viewing this content? (What time of day will your content not be drowned out by a flood of other content?)
Let’s dive into the first item, where is your target market “hanging-out” online. I could say that this is the most important one, however with my unique holistic approach to online strategies, I truly feel that they all work together. When thinking about where you target market is, you have to take into account several factors.
- What country, province/state, city/town are you targeting?
- What is the age range of your target market?
- What is the primary gender (if any) of your target market?
- Are you targeting Business to Business or Business to Consumer?
The first item seems at the same time both obvious and trivial. However, I can assure you that this is of huge importance on the effectiveness of your chosen online strategies. The marketing strategies per country vary immensely. Considering how close in proximity Canada and the United States are, there are major discrepancies that must be accounted for. The U.S. has 35 people per square KM while Canada has only 4, and, for reference purposes, the most densely populated Marcao, China has 19,073. This based on data collected by WorldBank.org between 2011-2015. You also have to take into account the financial income of these people and the general needs/likes/cultural beliefs, etc. of the populations. Those calculations, while important to my discussion, should really be investigated and strategized by your business’ marketing team prior to developing any online strategies.
Each social media stream has a specific demographic associated with its usage and as such, having a defined age range is presumably the most important factor in determining where to find your audience online. Snapchat for example, is used by people in their tweens, teens and early to mid-twenties. Since my target market age range is 25-65, this is not a great avenue for me and I choose not to be active on Snapchat. If these members fit your target age range however, there are tips and tricks to use Snapchat for branding and marketing your business. Today, gender is less of a divide than before, however there are still general tendencies towards which social media streams they prefer to use.
In addition to personal demographic details, whether you are direct to consumers or targeting other businesses will help determine where you should be focusing your online marketing strategies. Depending on the level of management you are looking to target, you could use business-focused apps such as LinkedIn or focus on creating and marketing your Business Page on Facebook. There is also Google+ for business which is currently second only to Facebook in terms of business social media marketing in Canada.
Now that you’ve created accounts on these skillfully chosen online streams, what on earth should you choose to post and share? Content is a wonderful thing when done correctly, but how do you know what is appropriate and what is going to work in favour of building your brand’s online presence and following? And how do you know when is the best time to post this content to maximize its online reach? No matter what social media stream you use, there are skills and techniques that can be applied to maximize your online presence and increase the ease and the rate at which your business is being found and followed, which can ultimately increase your revenue.
If you would like to discuss how I can help maximize your online presence, I invite you to leave a comment or contact me directly via email, Facebook or Twitter. I look forward to helping you with your online strategies to increase your online presence!
Join me next time for the final part in this 3-part series for How to Get Found Online: Putting It All Together. I hope you have found some interesting ideas in my last two articles, and if so, you definitely can’t miss the finale!