Guest post by Leslie Harding

 

With 2,405,518,376 internet users across the world making the most of your online presence has never been more vital. (S1)

If you are thinking of starting your own business there are a few things to consider when it comes to your potential consumers and your own online behaviour.

 

Social media

 

It is difficult in this day and age to properly make a distinction between your private life and your working world. Social media is very much a contributing factor to this. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and many more all actively off you the opportunity to add details of your professional life, which is great – isn’t it?

Social media is a two-way street. You can actively promote your product and company via well-known source and many companies do use the likes of Facebook to do this. With 1.06 Billion (S2) monthly users on Facebook it could be a great business tool. But there are golden rules to consider when you set up your social media accounts.

Follow me, like me, share me! Golden rules.

Keep your personal and professional accounts separate. 

There is no need for your potential investors and clients to know you are suffering from last night’s party, they especially don’t want to see photos of you semi naked or in “compromising” situations.  By all means include photos of the team building day you had recently, let’s keep the ones of the boss asleep at the bar 6 hours later for ourselves.

Do use social media to converse with your customers.

There are plenty of reasons to use like of twitter to respond to questions or queries from your customers. People actively check their social media accounts throughout the day. Where it might take you a few days to respond via email it takes 140 characters to respond to a tweet. Do not use this as your sole source of conversation but initially this is perfectly acceptable – even big companies do it, O2 went from being in the dog house following network failures to twitter heroes within a few hours, don’t believe me? Take a look!

Dedicated social media team

I think the O2 example above is enough of a reason to employ someone whose job description involves maintaining your social media accounts – this way you can respond appropriately to the tweets and comments you will get. Having a team or singular person do this means you aren’t bouncing your customers from person to person, department to department.

 

Websites

Every company needs a website, not only for visibility but for ease of access and many other reasons. With 70% of online searches leading to action within one month – if you’re not online you’re not in the game.  A massive 85% of consumers use the internet to search for local businesses so there are a few things to consider when creating your website. (S3)

Don’t forget!  

Your website is an extension of you, your brand and what you have to offer. Don’t just buy a small piece of real-estate on the internet and slap on some random colours. Try and follow the rest of your brand – include your logo and your company’s colours. Help forge your company’s identity online by following your real world look and feel of your business. Use the same language you have on the rest of your marketing materials and reinforce your company’s continuity.

Make it app’ed!

Make your site mobile friendly! With 6 billion mobile phone subscriptions out there the world really is in our hands. (S4) Mobile friendly website or apps have the potential to take your company that little step further. The infographic below says that 90% of mobile phone searches led to action being taken and over half of them leading to sales.

Make it easy

Don’t forget why you have a website – you want people to check out the site and then hopefully become customer or convert to sales. Don’t make it difficult for this to happen, have specific and easy to navigate pages.

Get SEO savvy! 

Don’t underestimate the significance of SEO. It is a powerful tool but like any tool should be done properly or you run the risk of upsetting Google and falling of the search pages all together. Information about Google guidelines and SEO is readily available and you don’t have to look far for it – Ihubbusiness talk about SEO here.


Author bio:

Written by Leslie Harding .

Sources:

1. http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

2. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57566550-93/facebook-by-the-numbers-1.06-billion-monthly-active-users/

3. https://biz.yelp.com/blog/survey-85-of-consumers-use-the-internet-to-find-local-businesses

4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19925506

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Ihubbusiness is an information hub for small businesses who wish to learn about internet marketing. The site was founded by Lola Bailey in 2010. Lola is a member of the Institute of Digital Marketing and has over 20 years sales and marketing experience. She is also a full-time copywriter at www.write-upcommunications.co.uk, a copywriter consultancy which she founded. Email: editor@ihubbusiness.co.uk

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