Over the last few years many business owners have recognised the need for a greater online presence, and the recent lockdown orders have emphasised the importance for businesses to have a strong online presence in order to continue connecting with their customers and desired audience. Online shopping has steadily increased over the years, but it’s no surprise that IBISWorld reported the recent COVID-19 pandemic has increased the predicted 2020 online sales growth from 2.4% to 11.1%- that’s an 8.7% increase in online sales!
So what should your business do to ensure it has a strong online presence to reach the increased number of online customers? We’ve put together a detailed Online Presence Check List for you to help you check your brand’s online strengths, and identify the areas you may need to focus on.
Social Media Accounts
If your business does not have a social media account then you are missing out on the opportunity to create greater brand awareness. By establishing a strong social media presence on the platforms best suited for you (and honestly we believe every business should at least be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest) you can engage with customers while displaying your products and brand in a non-invasive way.
Social media strategy
However a social media account doesn’t necessarily mean instant engagement. Every brand must have a good social media strategy, and this must be customised for each social media platform. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is at first, but once you have developed a sound strategy it’s worth it for the relationship you develop with your followers- and the sales the relationship will generate. The basic plan for all platforms is to: post visually appealing content, post consistently, engage back with your audience and with other accounts, and know your audience for each platform.
Google My Business
Google is the top search engine for internet searches, and Oberlo states that ‘46% of product searches begin on Google’s search engine’. Not only does Google My Business allow customers to find you on Google, it also allows you to list vital information (like your location, phone number and hours) on the Google search (make it easy to access this information quickly), and allows customers to leave reviews on your business on your Google business page, along with a 5-star rating. These reviews are especially valuable as customers can view reviews and average ratings through the Google search.
Your website is your brand’s online home. It’s the place where you can control exactly how your brand and your products are represented to your audience. You decide on the theme and colour of your website, its layout and navigation, the kinds of visual media you use, and the online store you use. Of all these, navigation is arguably the most important because if a customer has difficulty navigating your website, then they will have difficulty buying your product. Investing time and effort into your website is one of the most important things you can do for your business.
Up to date media
Finally, the one thing all these points have in common is that each one requires up to date visuals. We’ve written previously about the types of visual content every business should be posting across their online platforms here. Your visual content should be reflective of your brand, aesthetically pleasing, engaging and up to date. They should help your audience connect with your brand and understand your values, as well show how your brand fits into their life.
There are of course other factors to consider with the online side of a business- however these five areas are basic and foundational areas which establish your online presence. Building these areas up with good strategies and visuals ensures that when customers engage with your brand online, they are experiencing the very best your brand has to offer.