13 Tips for Small Medium Entrepreneurs to Build Their Online Presence

Compared to the last decade, even 5 years back, the dominance of internet nowadays is immense. It is always important to make sure that your online presence is felt adequately. Especially when you are either in a service or a product sector where people search online for your brand and more details about you, it is important to have an online presence.

Using suitable keywords to optimize your website might take some time. However there are some other ways through which you can make sure that people who search for you do not move to your competitors because they couldn’t find anything during their search about you.  To do these things you don’t need to depend on your agency and there is no need to get frightened by their exorbitant quotations. You can do it by yourself.

1-    Create social media profiles and update them regularly. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, and Flickr are some of the sites you can use. Link the accounts together online. Example: If you publish a video on YouTube, and if you connect your social media profiles together it automatically updates on Facebook and Twitter as well.

2-    Always maintain the right balance when building content for the social media profiles. Also a consistent pattern should be maintained and your visitors, fans, guests etc should be able to link the content in any possible way. It may be by consistent usage of the brand logo, a theme music, theme colour, brand message, the core value of your brand etc.

3-    YouTube is the best interactive social media platform in terms of video presence. Use Aimoto free online video creation tools to update your video channel.

4-    Create a blog in wordpress for your brand. Generally wordpress blogs are search engine friendly. Start a blog with the name of your brand. Example: If your brand is “xx” create“xx.wordpress.com”. Update it regularly with relevant blog posts to your brand with keywords that people normally use to search for either your brand or such related brands. Within a week you will see your blog coming up in the search engine results for your brand related keywords.

5-    Use Google map and add your location. This is very useful especially for targeted keywords. The map will derive your business details and shows your map / details in the first result page.

6-    Find famous local directories and submit your business information with a detailed description. This helps to get your page listed in the search results within a few weeks, for your company name and other particular keyword searches.

7-    Use review sites and request your customers to write reviews about your brand / service / company etc. For instance if your business is a hotel you can create your pages in Tripadvisor, Holidaycheck, Lonely Planet, virtualtouristetc and add your hotel in all OTA agencies. Your page will be up for brand keywords very swiftly. In addition positive reviews would definitely win you leads.

8-    Try to get some free publicity through PR campaigns. Identify your local news partners and talk to them regarding this. Each week try to grab a free space in papers for your business publicity. If you can speak well you can get a space from the papers. The printed version will go online as well, which shows your post up for branded and related keywords.

9-    Use tags when posting / updating you social media profiles. Use proper keywords as tags when updating your social media profile. These tags will be shown in wordpress, Google listing.

10.Create your venue in Foursquare, ask all your employees to check-in when they come to the office. Keep active by uploading photos and videos to the forsquare page. In a few days your foursquare page will be up in the search results.

11.Submit your facebook page to socialbaker and relevant sites. It automatically updates the status with new fans coming in. Make sure you build some fans to your fan page.

12.Create your business profile linkedin and update it with relevant information. Request your employees to update their linkedin profiles with their current designation and job role.

13.Rather than creating a php / html site create a wordpress platform site for your company. These sites are search engine friendly and the number of pages crawled will be high and your pages will come on top for branded keywords.

If you implement the above tips you will see a gradual increase in the online presence of your company and brand. In order to do these, you don’t need to go to web masters or specialized agencies.

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Managing reputation online

Now it has become a practice for the people to search for a brand which they want to purchase on offline and online.  Whenever I want to purchase a certain item I always refer Google to get  the exact specs and the  brands that are being presently marketed.  Recently when I wanted  to purchased a laptop I searched a number of Sri Lanka sites to get the names of the companies who are marketing the particular brand which I wanted to buy.  This helped me find the company which marketed the exact brand I preferred to purchase and I must say I really succeeded in buying one to my satisfaction.

In Sri Lanka online business is not a big hassle because only few companies provide online service.  Also I would  like to point out that very rarely customers in our country search for information o n online.  In order to promote a brand it is always important to get the opinion of the customers regarding the product which they have purchased online or offline.  Although it is difficult for an organization to have a track on offline purchases word of mouth,  it is easy to have a track on online buzz about the brand.  It is possible to get the views of the customers through online but there is also danger in same as well.  For e.g. if there are more negative results posted by unsatisfied customers regarding a particular brand, the company tends to lose 70% of the business made online.  In order to overcome this, the company should have a proper strategy to manage the online reputation.

As a marketing manager of a company you will be happy to view positive comments regarding the products marketed by your company, but at the same time you will be very much disappointed when you see negative results in Google search results.  If you come across a situation like this, you can implement the following tactics in order to overcome this problem and in the long term this will give you good results.

1 – If you have a site try creating some of the subdomain to get listed in the search results. Make sure you do some link building activities in order to increase the popularity of the sub domains.

2 – Create other domains that  represents your brand name. Eg- If your brand name is genuine.com then think of registering other domain pointers like genuine.net, genuine.org, genuine.info and add some valuable content.

If the .com site is transactional then .info to tell something about your brand such as new releases , new features, press room, corporate information etc.

3 – Create blogs and optimize it related to your brand name. According to my experience a well written wordpress.com blog is well picked up by the search engines. Eg- genuine.wordpress.com. Add some good content and update it regularly. So once the search engines identified your blog as a useful one it will show  up  your brand keyword. You also can try the same for blogger.

After creating blogs representing your brand name now submit it to blog communities. Blogged.com, mybloglog.com, blogcatalog.com are some of the good communities where  you can submit. Make sure you create the usernames represent the brand name.

Eg – http://www.blogged.com/profile/yourbrandname

4 – Try creating social networking profile to represent your name. Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Dailymotion are some of the good sites. Try to avoid using nicknames instead use your brand name.

5 – Create company profiles in Linkdin, which will also highly valued content by search engines. Don’t you have a company profile in Linkdin, What you can do is create an employee profile and then add your company name. Once one entry is added you can see a page created for your brand. In Naymz you can also claim your company identity.

6 – Create a sample site in Webnode. It is a free web site creation tool but high search engine friendly. The inbuilt options give you the way to set up site maps, optimize the site. You can have some related content in the site and have some bookmarking.

7 – If there are blog, forum sites contains your negative comments, request them nicely to remove the posts. Just explain them the situation that you are in. In general sites wont remove those because it can be a breach of independent opinion. But you can have a try.

8 – If you see some good result in the second page try to get those pages up by doing some optimization activities.

9 – Do press leases and find out good PR sites to distribute it. These will be crawled quickly and get listed.

10 – If you can create widgets use widgetbox.com to create and submit. This will be also get listed quickly in search results.

11- Do some bookmarking as well

Just do the above by having an action plan. It will get you positive results after few months and you will realize most of the negative results gone down. For your brand keywords if the search results are not competitive then your job will be more easy. You can see the results very quickly.