**Updated September 1st, 2018
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Build your online presence
If you’ve just started your business or are fairly new to the entrepreneurial world, then building your online presence can be time consuming and, at times, frustrating.
But it’s also very important.
Building your online presence can be time consuming because it’s not just something that happens overnight; it can be frustrating because… well, it’s not just something that happens overnight.
Your online presence is very important because it’s what allows people to find you, interact with you, and get to know, like, and trust you.
But building your online presence can be less time consuming and less frustrating if you know where to start.
What is an “online presence”?
An online presence is the sum of all the identities you’ve created (can be both personal and business-driven) and the interactions those identities have established, and participated in, online.
Your online presence has a very broad reach, and when built successfully it can spread brand awareness and gain you fans, followers, leads, customers, and anything else you could ever want for your business.
How to start building your online presence
Not sure where to start with building your online presence? You’re not alone.
There’s a lot that goes into building your online presence, from establishing your business goals, to actually creating your different profiles and accounts on social media, to building a website (your home base), all the way to figuring out the best ways to engage and interact across these different mediums.
To help with the overwhelm, let’s break down 7 ways that you can start building your online presence right now.
7 ways to build your online presence right now
1. Strategize: What are your goals, and how will you track your progress?
First and foremost, it’s important that you understand what your business goals are – both short-term and long-term.
As you start to build and grow your online presence, you should be constantly asking yourself how each of your online efforts is helping you take one step towards accomplishing your business goals.
Write your goals down – and make sure they’re SMART – so you can easily refer back to them and track and measure your progress at any point. You want to make sure that what you’re doing online is helping you take a step towards accomplishing your goals.
You should stop and track your progress at least monthly to make sure you’re on the right track. This will also prevent you from wasting time going down a rabbit hole that isn’t netting you the results you want. So schedule these progress checks in your calendar so you don’t forget to do them.
Don’t just build an online presence because you’re “supposed to”, build it strategically so that it can help your overall business goals!
2. Build a solid platform
For most small businesses and entrepreneurs, building a solid platform starts with your website (your home base).
Your website is your hub: a centralized place where people can go to learn more about what you have to offer, contact you, and interact and engage with your content.
Things like a clear message (what your business is all about), easy-to-use navigation, an opt in giveaway (so you can start building your email list), a contact page, an about page, and some type of valuable content are required.
SEO is also an important piece of the puzzle.
Not an SEO expert? That’s okay. There are a ton of great resources out there that can help.
You can also ask for help from those around you who have enough knowledge to help you get started.
The Google Keyword Planner is also a great resource if you want to start with at least finding out what keywords you want your website to rank for.
There is a lot that goes into building your platform, so much so that I’ve dedicated an entire post to it right here. Check that out to make sure you’ve got everything covered when it comes to building a solid platform.
3. Always be optimizing and improving
Don’t get stuck thinking that you can’t put something out there until it’s perfect – it’s never going to be perfect.
Just start, knowing that you will always be improving upon your content and what you have to offer. Continuously looking for ways to improve and optimize your site and your content post-launch is 100 times better than not launching.
It’s a process. The longer you wait to start, the longer it’ll be until you’re able to reach your goals.
4. Provide consistent, valuable content
Whether it’s via your website, an online community, your podcast, a YouTube channel, or via social media, you should always be looking to provide consistent, valuable content first.
What content are you providing your audience?
It might be a blog, a podcast, videos, ebooks… whatever form your content takes, make sure it’s consistent and valuable.
I put together a complete guide on how to put together a content creation plan for your business to help you get started.
This is one of the most important steps to focus on, because creating consistent and valuable content will help you gain credibility and authority in your industry or niche and also give people a reason to want to follow you.
Your online growth and visibility depends on you having a solid content creation plan.
You can also provide a massive amount of value in the online communities you manage and/or are a part of.
In addition, every one of your social media channels is an opportunity for you to be providing value to your followers.
You providing value first is the most important thing when it comes to building your online presence.
If you’re ever at a loss for what type of content to create, ask yourself:
What type of content or knowledge can I share with my community and followers that might not be my own content, but that will still be of value to them?
A mix of 70 / 30 is a rule I like to follow: share other peoples’ content 70% of the time, and your own content 30% of the time on social media.
This will not only build trust with your followers (they’ll start to recognize that you’re not just in it for yourself), it will also help you build relationships with others in your industry or niche (through sharing their content with your audience).
5. Be social and engaging
One of the greatest things about the Internet is that it allows you to be everywhere.
Disclaimer: I don’t agree with the be everywhere strategy on social media specifically; however, I do believe in testing and then choosing one or two social channels that work best for you and your business.
Being social doesn’t mean you HAVE to have a Facebook page, Twitter profile, Instagram profile, Google+ profile, LinkedIn page, Pinterest board, Quora blog, Medium page, YouTube channel, LinkedIn profile, and so on.
But being social DOES mean you should have at least one or two of these profiles set up that you regularly post and engage on. Consistency here is key. If you’re not able to manage your social channels by posting regularly and being a part of the conversation, then it’s going to be hard to increase your following.
Social media can be a GREAT marketing tool to help you gain fans and followers, and once you have those followers, it’ll help you develop a strong relationship with those who know, like, and trust you.
6. Start building relationships
Speaking of relationships… something that’s really important when you’re trying to build your online presence is, of course, “being seen”.
If no one knows you, then presumably they won’t be looking for your website, your Facebook profile, your Instagram stories, and so on.
So what’s the best way to draw people into your world?
Find a group or online community that is made up of individuals who share the same interests or who run similar businesses as you do, and therefore, are in your industry or niche.
Then, start building relationships with them through providing value and being an active member in that group.
If you’re just starting out, chances are these people are better connected than you are, and they might be able to help introduce you to others who are in your industry or niche.
You should also find a group or community of individuals who fit the description of your audience, or your avatar, because joining this type of community has the potential to give you priceless insights into what your avatar’s biggest pain points are. Knowing this can help you pivot and create the exact content your avatar wants and needs.
So find one or two communities that fit these descriptions, and commit to being present in them. Every single day for 5 minutes go into these communities and answer a question, provide a piece of feedback or guidance, and ask a question.
After a few weeks go by, you’ll have made several amazing connections plus given the members within that group a reason to want to know more about you and what you do.
Again, always start by adding value for others FIRST. When entering a group or community, it’s important for you to NOT advertise yourself or your business. Once you start building strong relationships with others in the community through following the steps above, they’ll naturally become interested in what it is you have going on, and you can start to share your content over time.
7. Connect with existing brands for guest posting and podcasting
Connecting with existing brands and requesting to guest post or be a guest on their podcast will not only help you build new relationships, it will also help you get your name and brand in front of a whole new audience.
But you want to be strategic when you go about requesting a guest post or to be on someone else’s podcast. Be sure you can provide value to the person’s audience, first and foremost. Then, confirm their audience will actually be interested in what it is you have to offer via your own platform.
Guest posting is a great way to get your name out there, build relationships with other bloggers, and show people the value you have to offer. Guest posting can result in increased traffic to your website, a strong backlink, and a lot of social love.
Being a guest on others podcast is also a great way to get your name out there, build relationships with other podcast hosts, and share some incredible value with that person’s audience. It’s also great practice for how you talk about your business, your brand, and your expertise.
Guest podcasting can also result in increase traffic to your website, a strong backlink in your show notes page, and a lot of social love.
You can start building your online presence today, but how do you know if it’s working?
Well, it’s important to test different things out, track your progress, and figure out what works best for YOU. I can share strategies, tips, and steps with you all day, but until you take action and go out and try them, neither of us will ever know if they’ll work.
As you can see, your online presence has huge potential to get you and your business known through various online channels. But it takes time, and so you have to be willing to be patient.
If you’re able to start building a strong platform, create consistent and valuable content, establish a presence on social media, and build meaningful relationships online, then momentum will be on your side.
Remember: the way you interact and connect with people online can help expand your reach (brand awareness) while simultaneously growing the number of fans, followers, leads, and customers your business has.
You don’t have to be everywhere online, but you do have to be somewhere online.
What’s one of the best pieces of advice you would offer someone who is looking to build their online presence? What’s one thing that worked best for you? Share with us in the comments section below!