These days if you’re not online, you’re nowhere to be found. Sounds like a bit of hyperbole, but on a business level it’s actually as true as can be. The necessity of creating a strong online presence has never been more glaring than it is today, when social media seems to be rapidly displacing all our notions of marketing and brand construction.
So, in case you’ve been wavering recently about whether or not your business needs to invest in creating a robust online presence, here are 5 reasons the answer is yes:
Manage your reputation
One of the most important things you can do online is to actively sculpt how consumers perceive your company. By effectively using search engine optimization you can influence the context in which people see your business and how easily they can find you online. A company struggling to build or revamp its brand can use a combination of social media and SEO to ‘change the message.’ In other words, online reputation management is fast becoming a major utility of public relations and advertising.
Establish your niche community
The best use of social media is to connect with and cultivate brand-loyal consumers into a community. Your company may not even have established yet what your niche is. In today’s increasingly granular business environment you should be able to pitch a very specific product or service that only you can provide. Use social media to create a niche around that specialty and incentivize consumers to interact with your online profiles and posts.
Expand your sales
E-commerce is a major retail force that is expected to overtake traditional commercial sales. Without a strong online presence you’re essentially cutting yourself off from a massive revenue stream. Online stores, carts, and PayPal options can be easily integrated into your website or blog, allowing your customers to more efficiently and conveniently shop.
Evolve your business model
If your business isn’t evolving, it’s devolving. Your company must constantly look to integrate new functionalities and platforms. For example, are you mobile? In other words, have you invested in web apps that can be accessed via smartphones. Services like CRM mobile make it so consumers are not limited to your online presence only when they’re at home on their PC-they can access your wares anytime and anywhere.
Optimize your operations
Another aspect of evolving your business model is optimizing your current operations. Make all of your systems run as smoothly and efficiently as possible by investing in cloud based services, virtualization, and teleconferencing tools that will enhance your IT department, strengthen your communication abilities, and offer both your employees and customers new ways to engage with the company.
Creating a strong online presence is not an overnight task, nor is there a clear roadmap on how to approach it. But by taking some positive steps in that direction, you will be making a progressive, tactical business decision that could add years, possibly decades, to your company’s lifespan.