[Beginner] Online Presence Management for SMBs and Freelancers

For small business owners (SMBs) and freelancers, managing your online presence and your web reputation is extremely important. Online presence management is a term that’s usually (mistakenly) reserved for big brands alone and refers to the process of attracting traffic to a particular brand using a variety of online management and marketing tools. These tools include social media, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and more. The process includes a multitude of different aspects, and is key for just about everyone – whether you are a student, small business owner, an educator, a project manager, or anyone else, regularly and comprehensively reviewing and managing your web presence is crucial.

By managing your online presence and reputation, you’ll attract more traffic, ultimately yielding higher return on investment (ROI) levels and increased profits.

What does the process of online presence management include?

Web presence management, as mentioned above, is a detailed process that includes multiple techniques and strategies for optimal success. For example, web design and development, blogging, SEO, reputation management, social media, paid advertising means, and link sharing are all the primary elements of online presence management. Most of these terms are pretty straight forward – reputation management, though, can be a little confusing to understand.

Reputation management is exactly what it sounds like – the process of influencing a business’s or freelancers online reputation. Monitoring negative comments, getting mentions on social media or other networking platforms, being proactive about product approach, publishing original content, and more are all things that help with reputation management. Great reputation management is key to successfully managing your online presence.

 

Tips for Managing Your Online Presence as a SMB or Freelancer

While you may understand the elements of web presence management, that doesn’t mean that you understand how those elements work or how you can improve your strategies regarding those elements. As such, here are some tips to help you effectively manage your online presence:

Start With the Basics

Improving the management of your online presence will take a lot of work, so to begin, start with the basics. Take a look at your website – Is it easy to navigate? Does it contain great content? Is it friendly on the eyes? Is it easy to read? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then the first thing that you should do is a little website clean up. Web design and development is a key aspect of online presence management and affects the frequency with which customers will visit/utilize your website for making purchases.

After you’ve cleaned up the basic design, go through your content and make sure that all of your spelling and grammar is correct. Not only does great grammar and spelling actually help your SEO (if your keywords are spelled incorrectly, how is a search engine supposed to pick them up?), but it will also help to make you appear as a more reputable and knowledgeable source of information. Before posting any future content, always ask a friend, family member, or colleague for editing help. (Editing for content, as well as grammar and spelling, is important, too!).

Focus on Maintaining a Good Reputation

It might sound unnecessary to say, but for great web presence management, avoiding doing anything that might harm your reputation is a key component. Data and information on the Internet get transmitted faster than ever before – if you post something inappropriate, snarky, rude, or otherwise damaging to your reputation, be aware that it will probably be seen dozens – if not hundreds – of people.  Even if you delete something, if even a single person has seen it, chances are it’ll be out there for good.

To make sure that your reputation is kept in check and that you stay in the good graces of your customers, always read comments, content, or messages before posting; keep all content clean and controversy-free (if the nature of your content is, by its very nature, controversial, just be polite); respond to negative feedback in a calm and collected manner; and above all, always remain professional.

Increase Your Activity Levels

We’re not talking about the number of miles you walk in a week; rather, in order to improve your online presence management, you need to increase your activity levels online. If you’re not using social media platforms regularly, it’s time to start. YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all awesome social media platforms for small businesses and freelancers, and you should be on all of them. Post regularly, contribute to discussions, like or share other people’s content, and keep your audience in the loop by providing them with relevant information about your product, business, services, or upcoming events/announcements. By some accounts, a strong social media presence is the most important aspect of managing your online presence.

Ask and Give

If your online presence management is suffering and you’re not sure how to remedy it, there’s a fairly easy and straightforward solution: just ask. That’s right, by asking your customers what they want, you’ll be able to provide them with exactly what they’re looking for, therefore significantly improving your web presence management. You can engage with your customers by asking them where they want to receive news updates and emails, how frequently they want to receive updates, what they’d like to see from your business, by holding product contests or votes, and by reading customer comments for ideas. Engagement is key for great management strategy, so make sure you take the time to find out what your audience is looking for, and then provide them with it.

 

The Importance of Web Presence Management

Giving your small business or yourself (if you’re a freelancer) a figurative facelift when it comes to your internet presence can help to improve your visibility like never before. Great online presence management leads to higher levels of brand building, increased accessibility to the customer, a greater audience, a more loyal client base, positive reviews, and the ability to sell and marketing your product more easily. Essentially, a great web presence management strategy can make your profits soar, and greatly improve the likeability and dependability of your business, services, products, or opinions.

To get started on improving your online presence management today, start by improving your website and website content, focus on being professional and polite, increase your presence on social media sites, and ask your customers what they need from you.

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