Having an online presence for your business has become standard practice these days. It doesn’t matter if that consists of a really snazzy website, with a blog attached and a slew of social media accounts to promote and support your business, or it’s using your personal Facebook account to advertise your wares on groups that allow for that. The bottom line is that any business that’s looking to make its mark in the market needs to exist online.
As easily accessible as it is to get online, most business owners and entrepreneurs, especially, are still faced with the challenge of figuring out what to do with their online presence. The possibilities are vast and, if done correctly, can potentially catapult your business to dizzying heights. But it does take time, dedication and a little bit of know-how. For the purposes of this article, I want to draw your attention to one particular element – your story.
Whatever tools you use online to market and promote your business, they all need content, all of that material – video, articles, social media posts, brochures, presentations – that you put out about your business for people to know about it. All of this essentially makes up the different bits and pieces of the story that you tell about your business. These are things you should be doing as part of your day-to-day efforts to entice new customers and keep the old ones. Replicating them online is not just about the written form, but also the visual appeal, ease of use for the reader and/or viewer as well as how seamlessly your various digital assets are integrated. Oh, and not forgetting how all of that fits in with whatever offline presence you have put in place for your business as well. It really defeats the purpose for you to spend sleepless nights putting together presentations to wow prospective clients and having well-packaged products when your website looks like it was designed in the 2000s and hasn’t been updated since it first went live. Are you starting to get the picture about the scope of your business story?
Another mistake we make as entrepreneurs is not planning our social media activity. If you haven’t caught on yet, that also makes up part of your story because it all reflects who and what your business is about in the digital space. Setting up an account is easy enough, so is maintaining it and making sure that it remains active. Again, you are shooting yourself in the foot if your updates are sporadic, there is no consistency to the topics that you are posting about and you lack cohesion when it comes to who you follow/like/connect to. Not only does this give the wrong impression about your organisation, it really limits the return on investment that you can gain from making full use of these tools.
So, getting back to content…it matters in a big way. Without that, it’s like running a restaurant with no food to serve. But you do need to apply your mind to the kind of content you will use to tell your story. Are you a fine dining establishment, serving only organic foods to health-conscious patrons? Are you more an upmarket, trendy hamburger joint catering to the millennial crowd? What is the ambiance of your establishment, the personality? The same type of critical thinking needs to be applied to your online presence. You really don’t want to limit yourself to talking only about your products or services and the latest special that you’re running. You need to give people more than that for them to feel enough of a connection to revisit/follow/like you online. Ideally, with a strong enough connection, they will then want to buy from you – because they enjoy your joke of the day or they appreciate the lengths you go to in order to produce environmentally friendly products. Or it could be that they really enjoy that fact that you take the time to interact with them online – respond to their comments on your platforms or seek them out on theirs just to let them know you like what they said.
Thinking about your business story online does not have to be a complicated process, but it is an important one nonetheless. Having consistency in that way takes you a little bit further than the ‘I’m just doing it because it’s the thing to do’ crowd. It takes more into the realm of ‘I want to build a relationship with my customers, existing and prospective, and I’m making the effort for them to like me’.
Think about it. What’s your story online for your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.