3 ways to improve your online presence

Spend enough time in online marketing circles and you will undoubtedly hear a great deal about your “online presence.” It seems that if marketing your business is your goal, it is imperative that you have a strong presence on the internet. The only problem is that plenty of small business owners don’t truly know what this means, and many more don’t understand how to improve it.

Boiled down, the meaning is simple: Online presence measures how visible your brand is on the website and how easy it is for consumers to find you. Through a combination of social media exposure, engaging content and clever marketing, it is easy to increase your brand’s awareness and extend your reach.

Here are some essential methods for improving your brand’s online presence.

Substance over style
The easiest mistake to make in terms of your online presence is to assume that incorporating a few stylish, but ultimately meaningless, bells and whistles will have a dramatic effect. Peppering your website with social buttons and sharing options may make it easier for your consumers to spread your content, but this alone is not enough to extend your reach.

Instead, it is important to make sure your blogs, articles and infographics are share-worthy. If consumers want to tell their friends about a particular piece of content you posted, they will be able to do so fairly easily – regardless of whether or not you have plastered “share this” buttons on your site.

This isn’t to say that you should not take steps to improve the infrastructure of your website or brand page to make it more interactive. It is important to provide a feature-rich site, it is just more important to do so only after you’ve made sure the content of your site is engaging and attractive.

Enter the conversation
Regardless of how good your blog is or how creative your marketing strategy, you will have a hard time extending your reach if you don’t make a concerted effort to enter the online conversation that surrounds your specific industry or sector. Having a good understanding of the landscape of which you are a part is essential for becoming an important voice in the field. Therefore, instead of just being a blogger who produces content, you need to become someone who reads widely and participates openly in relevant conversations.

This can take a number of forms. You can comment on other blogs, appear as a guest writer on different websites or invite experts to post on your site. However you approach it, it is important that you are well-informed enough to be able to discuss a variety of topics. After you become an active participant in the conversation surrounding your industry, you will notice that a lot more people are interested in what you have to say.

Be more self-referential
Ideally, you will construct an online presence that involve a fair number of moving parts including blogs, articles, graphics, videos, social media pages and more. To get the most out of these efforts, it is important that you use each to promote the others. Not only will this help you make each piece of content more rich, but it will also allow you to keep readers in your thrall longer and allow you to build an immersive online environment.

You should feel free to get creative here. Include links to past articles you have written in your blog posts and fill your social media pages with original infographics and videos.

What steps have you taken to improve your online presence? Share some of your favorite techniques in the comments below!

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Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution for Cox Business social media & content marketing. Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.