Twitter, FaceBook, Snapchat, Instagram, email, YouTube – what’s a business owner to do? The ways to connect with customers is ever-growing and with that confusion over which platform to choose, when to post, what to post, and how to grow your audience. These are questions that plague every small business owner. Self proclaimed “experts” pop up everywhere with tips on building your online presence. We’ve narrowed it down to the most effective tips that will really give you the most payoff for your effort.
Build Your Online Presence Tip #1: Market to Your Target
The best way to quickly build an online presence is to identify what your target market likes and produce content that will tickle his or her fancy. Write a few paragraphs identifying what kind of person will like your product or service. Then identify other interests that the person you’ve described may have. For example, if you own a barber shop you may decide to market to “Scott”.
Scott – an invented character, represents the target market. He is a hipster that lives in downtown Denver, loves to hike on the weekends, appreciates a good shave, is into craft beers and handmade gifts. He has a golden retriever, wears plaid, likes to wear bow ties, and looks for off beat places to hang out on weekends.
All of this information gives you a pool from which to draw when it comes to building your online presence. Which brings us to tip #2.
2: Minimize Direct Marketing
Millennial are increasingly turned off by in-your-face marketing. They are into relationships, small community, and authenticity. Therefore, post information that will build a small community of insiders (note that you can still build your “small community” quite large).
Back to Scott: with your description of Scott as a guide, you know what to post to draw Scott into your community. You can post articles of great hikes around the US, a great craft beer that you enjoy, unique bow tie trends, pictures of dogs similar to gold retrievers, news on new hiking equipment hitting the market, the list goes on.
By posting this type of information, you are building community of shared interests. Your online followers feel apart of a relationship of like minded individuals. Then, when you do hit them with the occasional direct advertisement, “i.e” straight razor shaves, 2 for the price of 1, they more apt to listen.
3: Become the expert
Another way to build your online presence is to become the expert. Create content, whether videos, blogs or infographics that demonstrate your knowledge of your industry.
If you own the barber shop, make instructional videos about choosing the right hairstyles for your lifestyle, the best tips to giving yourself a straight razor shave, how to properly style your beard. You could also write blogs about the best and worst shaving cream, how to avoid being ripped off by expensive razors, how to tell if your barber knows what he’s doing. Leverage the knowledge you have and share it with your audience to build trust; that way when they are ready to get a haircut, they’ll come to you because they trust you know what you’re doing.
4: Ask Questions
Now that you’ve created online content to which your audience can relate, engage them in the conversation. Ask their opinions about trending topics, making sure that it is a topic that “Scott” would like. For example, post three pictures of a new beard style and ask your fans and followers to vote on the one they like the most.
You can also engage in giveaways. Ask your audience to share their worst haircut photo and vote on the best one. The winner gets a free shave a haircut.
The bottom line is that the best way to increase your online presence is to build two-sided relationships. Engage your audience and allow them room to participate in the conversation.
Pursuing an online presence can, for some, be scary. The thought of posting something inappropriate or offensive can be a turnoff, but you can always run these questions by the HR department at Pay-tech. Armed with the information above you are ready to start the journey. Be real. Be honest. Be helpful.