In an age where 1 billion people are on Facebook, over 300 million are on Twitter, and Google is a verb in the dictionary – it’s a given that the modern consumer will go online to find the services or products that they’re looking for. If you’re a local business that’s struggling to thrive, having a strong online presence can be the critical difference between failure and a growing, thriving business.
Although being visible online is critically important to business success in the 21stcentury, it can be difficult for small, local business owners to know where to start. After all, if you don’t have the resources to hire a digital marketing agency or buy online advertising, what should you do?
Luckily for small business owners, the online ecosystem rewards one thing more than anything else – fantastic content. If you can consistently produce timely, relevant, interesting and most importantly – helpful – content and push it to the right channels, you can greatly increase your online visibility, even with no digital marketing experience. Here are 3 simple ways that you can use your own expertise and experience to boost your online visibility as a small business owner.
1. Start A Writing High Quality Blog
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve been undoubtedly told that one of the keys to online visibility is having a blog. But perhaps what you haven’t been told is that creating a blog simply isn’t enough. After all, there are hundreds of millions of blogs on the web, but most of them would be lucky to get 1-2 visitors a day.
The key word here is quality. For your blog to help your business, your blog posts need to deliver content that’s unique, entertaining, relevant, and helpful. Produce content that solves the problems your potential customers want answers for, offers news that keeps them informed, and even light-hearted content that keeps them entertained. The same principles you use to build a grassroots following for your local business can be applied online. Be authentic, helpful, and interact with your community. If you can keep it up consistently for many months and even years, you’ll gradually build a loyal following you can leverage into more sales and growth.
2. Leverage Social Media
Like with blogging, you’ve likely heard that you should be using social media. But like with blogging, it simply isn’t enough to just create a Twitter account or Facebook page for your business. In order to use social media successfully to grow your online visibility, you need to offer tremendous value. Remember, every interaction with a customer you have on social media can be viewed by thousands of others. Every bit of value you offer will have an exponential effect, but it can take awhile to get the ball rolling.
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Use social media platforms to put out content, news, stories, and deals that your customers will find relevant. When you’re facing customer support issues or comments, you not only want to respond in a timely fashion, but you want to wow your customer. Treat your customers via social media the way you would if they were visiting your business – with concern, sincerity, and openness.
3. Harness The Power Of Guest Blogging
With the first 2 tips, we’ve given you platforms to create awesome content that people will value. But you still need to get people onto your blogs and social media platforms so they can discover your awesome content. While there are many ways to accomplish this – e.g. advertising your blog/social media accounts to current in-store customers, interacting on online forums, commenting on other blogs, search engine optimization – one of the most powerful ways to build your business’ online brand and grow visibility is through guest blogging.
With guest blogging, you post your content on other respected blogs within your industry. This not only gives you exposure to hundreds, perhaps even thousands of your target market, it also has search engine benefits for your own blog when you link back from a high authority blog. Start reaching out to other bloggers that might be read by your target customers and offer to write them great content. In exchange, you’ll get great exposure to their readership base, as well as a link or two to your own blog or social media profiles.
As always, remember to create content that’s relevant, helpful, entertaining, and timely. Growing your online brand will require a significant investment in time/thought, and the rewards may not be immediately measurable. However, with patience and dedication, you will gradually see your online profile grow, and your business will reap the benefits of a stronger brand, greater visibility, and more customers.
Nat is an SEO and blogger for WhoIsHostingThis – an Alexa top 10k web property. Nat is passionate about technology, entrepreneurship, and fitness.