Building an online presence is less about waiting for the right opportunity and more about doing a set of daily procedures to increase your chances of getting found.
It’s common to hear about an individual finding their success almost overnight but these events are few and far between; the reality is that you have to make it happen and it will take some time before you’re recognized as a major player in your niche.
What you will find in this article is a checklist for the daily activities you could and should be doing to increase your online presence; the steps won’t create overnight success but they will give you the understanding of what needs to be done and how to do them.
Here is your guide …
Part 1: The Online Platform
A website is the ultimate platform for launching your online presence as it gives you a vehicle for delivering and managing your marketing message.
The website can take any form for your needs whether it’s a blog for frequent updates or an ecommerce portal for selling your goods and services; there are thousands of website themes, hosting providers, domain registrars, and tutorials for building a website.
The ability to craft your message and fine-tune your following is what makes the website so powerful – you can control the level of noise which is constantly getting between your messages.
The process of starting a website is relatively simple and can be done in an afternoon:
1. Purchase a domain name (make it brand-able)
2. Purchase web hosting
3. Link your domain to the hosting
4. Install a CMS (Content Management System) or decide on a static structure
5. Purchase a website theme or hire a designer to work on your idea
6. Upload the necessary files to your web server
7. Fill in the important, basic content such as the about, services, and contact
The steps listed detail a simplistic look at the website setup process but don’t feel intimidated as there are plenty of great resources, tutorials, and services if you need aid.
Resource Link: The Website Setup Guide.
Once you’re online, it’s a matter of populating your website with great content which will appear in search engines and can be used to share in social media.
Resource Link: Content Creation & Marketing.
Part 2: The Social Presence
Social is a crucial element for building an online presence:
- It’s free
- There are billions of active participants
- It provides great technology for connecting
- Many platforms have great marketing tools built in
The main social networks should be your first objective:
Each has a massive amount of opportunity for connecting with your industry but try to avoid usage of a platform if you’re not ready to commit as regular activity is expected from people following you; start with one (like Facebook) and get used to interacting on the social network before expanding to the others.
Facebook will give you a great start if you create a fan page for your website; here you can collect a following and share quick updates rather than forcing people over to your site (which should be kept for the big, authority content pieces).
Resource Link: The Guide to Facebook.
Twitter is great for quick connections, finding & sharing content, and researching your market. Sign up for an account with your brand name and begin collecting followers off your website and from other social platforms – then explore the various Twitter tools and search for finding those talking about your industry as they will be more likely to become followers.
Resource Link: The Guide to Twitter.
LinkedIn is a professional network where you’ll develop some of your best business contacts. If you plan to use the network than use it wisely – it’s not there to just hit-and-run – but to make real connections with people that are movers-and-shakers in your industry. Great relationships built on the network could blossom into incredible opportunities for your business.
Resource Link: The Guide to LinkedIn.
YouTube should be your go-to source for sharing your video content. Video is extremely easy to produce, these days, and should be part of your overall marketing strategy. Like other networks, you can brand your page, build up subscribers, and use the presence to funnel people back to your site and into your affiliate offers.
Resource Link: The Guide to YouTube.
Pinterest is the newest, major player in social media and will probably take a little while before it truly matures but go ahead and get your start on the platform while it’s still building steam. Share your photos, infographics, and other image-rich media, divide them into different boards, repin content, connect with people, and get your account shared. It may be a little difficult to fit Pinterest into your strategy but you might as well give it a go.
Resource Link: The Guide to Pinterest.
In all, try to be active each and every day on your social media accounts. You don’t have to blow people away with each and every update – you just need to be there and give some form of value whether it’s a simple “good job” when responding to someone or offering your feedback about someone’s project.
Push out your content from your site and bring people back in to your email list and sales funnel. Keep the process going, connect, and bring real value – keep the social in social media.
Part 3: Networking Fundamentals
Networking is integral for building your online presence even more so than much of your efforts with content creation and sharing your expertise (though your networking is mostly reliant on these two).
Networking opens the door to bigger and better opportunities for growing your business. Take a look at those that could be considered major industry players and look at their associations – you’ll find that many markets are dominated by a tight-knit group of individuals.
Small tribes of experts may hold a grip on much of the industries but there is always room for new players especially if they bring a fresh look and set of value to the market which has been neglected by the present authorities.
Networking is simply about getting in touch with other members of your market and exchanging value.
Here are some of the simple ways to begin networking:
- Build a list of industry blogs and continually leave comments
- Email the owners of the bigger sites and start up a conversation
- Attend conferences and mingle with fellow industry experts
- Follow and chat with people on social networks
Go to them with something of value such as your feedback, listing a resource, guest post, or simply aiding their promotion of their content. Gain their attention and express your thoughts, ideas, and opinions on how you two can work together on bigger and better goals.
Stick with people during the ups and downs and each member of your ‘tribe’ will ultimately come out on top because the networking allows for it.
Part 4: Authority Actions
This last section won’t be long because they require a considerable amount of effort and resources which cannot be fully detailed in this part – but it will provide you with a “moving forward” mindset that will ultimately become some of the most important, powerful actions you take within your industry.
Three things you should do to take your work to the next level:
- Create a product/service for your industry
- Interview and work with other major players
- Expand into horizontal or vertical markets
For starters, a product/service will not only earn you additional income on top of your affiliate earnings but it shows that you’re going for the long-haul in your market. Having a product builds authority and allows you to craft a list of buyers which can be tapped time-and-time again – it solidifies your placement in the industry.
Second, doing interviews and working with others in joint partnerships will gain you access to bigger and better connections. These connections can excel your momentum into the spotlight for your industry because of your association with these major players.
Third, start looking at horizontal/vertical markets you can explore. Take a portion of your time and budget to introduce new products and services to your online presence. Start a new brand and siphon a few of your major community members to aid in building the new presence. A new venture can quickly become successful when you already have authority so keep this possibility in mind when looking toward the future.
Getting found takes time and patience but it will become a reality when you start the day working on the major actions that will aid in building an online presence. Continue to work at it and try new things, connect with people on a real level, and grow your brand by delivering exceptional value.
What strategies would you share for getting found online? Leave a comment.