It seems like everyone has a brand these days. Maybe you’re wondering how to get started building yours. A digital presence is a must for anyone serious about getting the word out, but creating one from scratch can be daunting.
With more and more consumers turning to online resources to make their next buying decision, how can you make a splash through the web and mobile apps?
Here’s what you should know about creating a digital presence and why you can’t afford to wait another day to start.
What is a digital presence?
Your digital presence is what your company looks like online; it’s also called your “online presence.”
It represents the entire portfolio of digital branded platforms and assets, including websites, social channels, ads, search, and any other marketing content that lives online versus on a print or brick-and-mortar platform.
Digital presence is more than just being online; it’s also how your customer or potential customers perceive you based on that digital presence.
You can create a lot of content or spend a fortune on paid ads, but if your customer can’t find you or they aren’t aware you exist, your digital presence will need some work to be legitimate.
What are the forms of digital presence?
As we mentioned, your digital presence comprises all the places on a buyer’s journey where they may encounter your brand online. This includes the things you create (blog posts and Tweets) and things others create about you (online newspaper articles or customer reviews.)
If people can find it online, it’s part of your presence and can include:
- Your website, including blog posts, articles, customer support assets, product descriptions
- Social channels, including your and others on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and others
- Earned or unearned media, such as branded online guest posts, newspaper mentions, or press releases
- Email marketing, including drip sequences and marketing newsletters
- Search, including how you show up in organic Google results and those you pay for (PPC)
- Reviews on commerce sites, such as Amazon customer reviews or Goodreads
Your digital presence may even include conversations about you on community forums, chat sites, or anywhere someone may get an impression of you from the internet.
Why is it important to have a digital presence?
There’s not a lot you can do about what someone says about your business online, but you can control the presence you create. Your digital presence must include robust, targeted, and engaging content that meets people where they are at while letting them know what you are all about.
The benefits to doing this are many, including:
- It helps you get discovered or teaches an audience about the need you seek to solve.
- It legitimizes your business and helps customers see you are a real company.
- It helps you sell at every moment across multiple channels.
- It provides data you can use to learn about your audience and provide better customer service or more valuable products and services.
- It costs less than other advertising forms, such as print or maintaining an in-person presence.
- It boosts your SEO, something that’s very important if you want your customer to find you through search.
Last, it lets you educate your customer at multiple touchpoints in the buyer journey. We know that customers don’t usually buy upon first hearing of a company but need several prompts and a chance to research before they feel comfortable.
Whether they find you through a search or see you in an ad on Instagram, having a wide-reaching online presence ensures they can find you when they are ready to take that next step.
How to build a business digital presence
Creating an online footprint isn’t a one-and-done event. You’ll need to commit to starting with the end in mind and continually refining your efforts for the changing landscape of online media.
Make sure you are open to learning and can dedicate time and budget to making your digital presence the best possible. You’ll also want to follow these tips.
1. Fix mistakes ASAP
When was the last time you looked at your Google My Business listing? Is it outdated, or does it contain errors?
Even something as small as having a wrong menu offering or outdated business hours can cause you to lose goodwill with customers. Go through your digital assets and ensure they are factual and easy to use.
2. Focus on what you do best
There are many places your digital presence can eventually reach, but for those new to creating a digital footprint, it’s best to start small. (In fact, one of the worst things you can do is poorly attempt to reach out via numerous digital channels and give the impression you’re not very good at any of them.)
Give one or two social channels, plus your website, a chance at first. Give them full attention and resources so that customers know you are serious.
3. Set yourself apart
Once you’ve committed to some core aspects of your online presence, consider how you are differentiated from your competitor.
Is it the product? Do you have a unique customer service approach? Perhaps you really have a way with words. Whatever it is, use the online space to define your company so there’s no mistake that it’s you. This will be especially helpful as your industry becomes more crowded.
In fact, after some time, your customers should recognize your content in their social feeds or through search without having to look at your name.
4. Use visuals
People love photos and videos. (Just look at how popular TikTok and Instagram Reelz are now!) Visual assets can stand in for clever copy and do the heavy lifting of defining your brand in that stand-out way we mentioned before. They can get your content 94% more views than without.
You can also use infographics and videos to educate, answer product questions, share customer testimonials, and advertise much more cheaply than on television.
Visual content is also more readily shared, so use it anytime you need a signal boost on a product launch or update. Optimizing visual content boosts SEO, as well.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Finally, the online space is fast-moving, constantly changing, and a more significant part of your influence all the time. While there’s likely some content you can handle on your own, don’t let time or talent limit you from creating the digital assets you know can help convert.
If you struggle to get your marketing team to prioritize things or want some direction, consider outsourcing to a content agency that’s well-versed in such matters.
ClearVoice, for example, has a team of experienced freelancers that can do everything from social media call-outs to ebooks to infographics.
Many of these content pieces can be repurposed and reused, so your budget goes much further than when you were limited to print assets.
The worst thing you can do is nothing. With online presence a make-or-break function of the modern marketing team, your best option is to follow through on your plans, even if it means you don’t do it all yourself.