Optimizing your online presence can result in major followings on social media, bringing new interest into your services, and filling your lead funnels with genuine prospects. It can be the difference between looking for work and being inundated with opportunities.
But there’s just one question. How?
How do you optimize your online presence in a way your competitors aren’t? How can you get your business to be among the top selections on Google every time someone enters in a search for your area?
Below are three industry secrets I have learned along the way that you can use to optimize your small business’s online presence. And these tips have to do with connecting with your audience—not creating strategies for somehow making a weak piece of content rank on Google. If you want to optimize your business the right way, it takes a willingness to learn what actually works in the digital environment. Here’s what you’ll need to know to get started with your business presence:
Secret #1: Building a Following Takes Time
Here’s the secret most people won’t tell you: it takes time to earn a following online. We all want to read quick tips for optimizing an online presence. But it doesn’t happen until you’ve built some content that people can start to rely on.
When I built my first online following, it took about six months to reach about 20,000 followers. I was simply taking lessons I learned about digital marketing and posting them on Instagram. But there were a few keys here.
First, I posted genuine insights. These were real digital marketing insights that I found relevant and interesting for my followers. After all, they were insights I was learning, too. And that created value. People aren’t going to click to your site or follow you online if you only go through the motions. You have to take the time to mine those deep, genuine insights.
Second, I did it consistently. If you were following me on Instagram, you could look forward to regular content. It’s the same way most mainstream television used to work: a show would build an audience because people would learn that it would appear at the same time every Tuesday. TV shows that constantly shifted their schedules would find it harder to build that audience.
Secret #2: Create a Presence that Builds Trust
The second secret is that you can start building trust the instant someone searches for your business. How? You should have a Google My Business presence, website, and social media. Your goal is simple: look like the real company that you are.
For starters, set up a Google My Business account. Fill in basic information, and be as thorough as possible. Share your business hours. Share photos of your business. Let people know the best way to reach you. Most importantly, ask happy clients to leave you genuine Google reviews and make sure you respond to them. Google will reward your strong My Business presence by bringing your business to the front of the search results.
If you’re trying to sell somebody something, remember that they need to trust you before they buy it from you. So make sure that when you create your online presence—especially when it comes to interacting with you—that you create opportunities to build that trust. Genuine reviews help build that trust. And trust drives revenue.
Secret #3: Don’t Boost Posts On Instagram Or Facebook
If any of you already have a presence for your small business on social media, I’m sure you have at least seen the “boost” or “promote” options on Facebook and Instagram respectively. Maybe you have even been tempted to click on the alluring button and spend some money. These companies have made this option so easy for businesses that it is hard not to do. However, I strongly encourage you against it. Here’s why:
When boosting or promoting content you are trading effectiveness for simplicity. To make this function easier to use, Facebook and Instagram give you default targeting options that aren’t always the best for your specific business. Even if you do go past the default targeting, these companies have taken away multiple detailed targeting options which oftentimes lead to small businesses wasting their money.
Here’s an alternative. Instead of boosting your content, try using Facebook Ads Manager to make sure you are choosing the right objectives and targeting for your campaign. The Facebook Ads Manager gives you all of the targeting tools you need to make sure you are showing your ads to your exact target audience. Plus, the ads manager gives you much more data to look at so you can get a better sense of how your campaigns are truly performing.
Pulling it All Together
I now run a digital marketing agency where I teach small businesses how to perform these exact steps. It takes time and effort to pull it off. But your reward is an online presence that actually draws people to your site. In the end, your optimization will be worth taking the time to get it right.