Building your online reputation has never been more important. 81% of consumers research a product or business online before making a purchase. Their perception of your business begins long before their first physical impression.
This is true even if you’re offering a physical product or service. 72% of consumers conducting local searches visit a store within 5 miles of where they’re searching from. Building your online reputation even impacts brick-and-mortar retailers and local service providers.
Digital marketing is increasingly intertwining with physical reality. Building your online reputation is an important part of an augmented marketing strategy. Digital marketers should be investigating every opportunity to spread the word about their businesses.
Digital marketing can be overwhelming. It can be hard where to know how to spend your time and energy. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a thorough tutorial on building your reputation online.
A Guide To Building Your Online Reputation
The Internet makes it possible for independently-owned businesses to compete against Fortune 500 corporations. Larger corporations are bound to have more resources than small- and medium-sized businesses. If you’re just getting started on building your online reputation you will need to work smart and hard to show up in the search engines.
Identify Your Unique Value Proposition
There are a lot of businesses on the Internet. It’s tempting to follow the idealistic adage “If you build it they will come.” That may have been true in 2001. But these days, there’s much more competition for nearly any niche you can think of.
If you’re planning on establishing a for-profit business, you’ll want to spend some time doing market research before you begin. Develop your buyer personas and identify their pain points. This will inform every stage of building your online reputation.
Establish Your Domain
The first step in building your online reputation is starting your own website. You’ll need to decide on a catchy URL that reflects your brand. Many domain names have already been claimed, so you might need to get creative in the naming.
The next step is to decide on a hosting solution. There are numerous free website hosting solutions, such as WordPress. These domains don’t have the same authority as a dedicated .com web address, so they’re not the best for building your online reputation.
Your website is likely to be a work in progress. Don’t worry about getting it perfect right off the bat. You can always refine and update as you go. You’ll even have more user insights to streamline your web development.
Design With Your Goals In Mind
Your website should reflect your business goals. Will you be hoping to gather sales leads? Are you promoting a product or service? Is becoming a thought leader in your industry your end game?
If you’re building email lists to gather actionable leads, you’ll want to incorporate pop-ups and landing pages into your web design. If you’re establishing yourself as an expert on a particular topic, focusing on shareable content is a better use of your time.
Identifying your business goals early on in building your online reputation will impact your content strategy and social media promotions, as well. It’s best to get an early start and avoid potential missteps.
Now that you’re online, people will need to be able to find you. Start off by listing your website with Google and Bing. There are other search engines like Yahoo, as well, if you want to get found by as many people as possible.
You’ll also want to think about search engine marketing (SEM), as well. SEM involves knowing what your customers will be looking for and creating that content using SEO best practices. This captures the long-tail search to make sure your content gets found for as long as possible.
Now that you’ve got some content online, you can start promoting your brand. Social media is one of the most powerful and popular ways to go about building your online reputation.
Social media marketing has been a boom in recent years. It’s the next gold rush, with similar claims of overnight fame and fortune. That means it’s harder to gain traction in a crowded marketplace. It’s harder to get noticed.
The first thing you’ll need to consider is which social media networks will your brand be using? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are the most popular and well-trafficked. Lesser-known social media networks can be just as useful in building your reputation online, if not more so.
Pinterest is well-known for generating revenue online, however. There are also many social sharing sites like Tumblr, WeHeartIt, or Pearl Trees. Even Reddit acts as a social media network in some of its functionality.
Lesser-known social media networks are frequently popular with younger audiences. They can be essential in establishing a brand as ‘hip’. Pinterest is popular with stay-at-home parents who tend to spend money online. They’re a powerful demographic to connect with, if it makes sense for your brand.
Knowing which demographic you’re appealing to will impact the way you present your online content. Pinterest has its own rules of engagement. So does Twitter. Getting your presentation right is an important part of building your online reputation. Getting it wrong can be disastrous.
Get Involved With Conversations
It’s called social media for a reason. The Internet is best for facilitating conversations between brands and consumers. You need to talk to your customers to build a connection. You also need to listen.
Identify some trending hashtags for your niche or industry. Some popular tags for businesses include #MondayMotivation, sharing ways to stay productive throughout the work week. Then there’s the ever-popular #ThrowbackThursday (or #tbt), to showcase your roots.
Pro Tip: If you discover some particularly healthy hashtags that are yielding high levels of engagement, you might consider automating those posts. This also makes your social media metrics more measurable, if you control for variables. Schedule your posts to occur at the same time, and measure the difference in performance.
Start A Blog
Inbound marketing is becoming increasingly important as customers are inundated with unsolicited advertising. Inbound marketing captures the people looking for you rather than the other way around.
A blog is a great tool for building your online reputation around pertinent keywords and search phrases. You can craft articles following SEO best practices, in whatever format that works best for your audience.
Buzzfeed-style listicles are particularly effective, especially in getting shared by your audience. Unscrupulous individuals have been leveraging this tendency to generate clicks around controversial subjects, however. Make sure to use this format responsibly.
Blogs are a great way to climb to the top of the SERPs. It also identifies you as a thought leader. It’s also an essential platform for commenting on trending news and stories to widen your audience.
Use Online Reputation Management
Building your online reputation has its drawbacks, as well. Just look at what a single negative Yelp review can do to a blossoming restaurant.
There are numerous tools to monitor your brand’s reputation online. Social listening is important to respond to criticisms as quickly as possible. Responding quickly may be the difference between a satisfied customer and a lifelong enemy.
If you’d like to know more about managing your online reputation, you can find more info here.
3 Quick Tips For Making The Most Of Your Online Promotion
Digital marketing and eCommerce is a gigantic topic. Countless books are written on the subject each year. It’s still accelerating and becoming more prevalent, as well.
To help you make the most of your time and effort online, we’ll leave you with three quick tips for mastering your online reputation.
Your online reputation revolves around timely, insightful content. Posting around a trending hashtag one day and you may be rewarded with thousands of shares. Miss the tag by a day and you might do more harm than good.
Posting out-of-date content can come off as tacky and insincere. There is always room for further commentary on an idea, however. If you’re posting about an older hashtag, make sure to bring something relevant to the conversation.
A consistent brand image is important in generating user loyalty. They need to know what to expect and what your brand is about.
Unfocused posting on your website and social media can confuse your users. They won’t know what your business is about. That means it won’t spring to mind next time they need what you’re offering.
Authenticity Is Key
Misinformation is rampant on the Internet. One of the most powerful aspects of digital marketing is showing your users who you really are.
Cultivate a unique voice and perspective as early as possible. This will help your customers to relate to your brand in a way that traditional marketing could only dream of.
An online presence can be incredibly powerful when it’s gone about in the right way. Getting clear on what separates your brand from the competition as early as possible will help you use your time wisely. Your customers will thank you with likes, shares, and promotions galore.
Ready To Take Your Online Presence To The Next Level?
It’s never been a better time to be an independent business owner. Digital marketing can place your product or service right beside multi-million dollar companies (or even above, if handled correctly.) Read the rest of our marketing articles to find out how!