Do you find yourself continually asking the questions ‘is there anyone out there’, ‘am I completely alone?’ and ‘will I ever see anyone again?’
No, you are not Tom Hanks in Hollywood blockbuster Cast Away; you are a business with a less than effective online presence.
Ironically for startups and SMEs the World Wide Web can sometimes seem like a dark, lonely, and desolate place; your business merely a deserted island, unlikely to be discovered by mankind ever again.
Riddle me this. If you did happen to find yourself in a Tom Hanks-esque situation, marooned on a deserted island, with only a blood splattered vollyball named Wilson for company, what would you do?
Would you simply resign yourself to the situation and settle yourself in for a life of coconut eating and rather one-sided games of charades? Or would you do everything in your power to let someone (anyone!) know the terrible fate that had befallen you?
That is how you need to approach the issue of boosting your online presence…you need to think like a castaway.
Here’s a few ways that you can escape from the desert island (and give your online visibility a little boost):
Send up smoke signals (Make good use of social media)
We’re not saying that you need to become the internet's most social savvy surfer, but nowadays having at least some form of well managed social media presence is one of the most effective ways of increasing the online visibility of your business.
The key term here is ‘well managed’ - there is no point in creating social media accounts only to let them remain idle; this could actually reflect badly on your business. Not all social media platforms will be suitable for your business but with sites like Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to choose from you are bound to find one that fits.
Whilst it would take us days to go into the details and specifics of each of these platforms, here are a few top reasons why making good use of social media can be a real boost to your business online.
It allows you to grow and develop a community of followers
It lets you check out the competition
It gives you an extra avenue for marketing
It creates a connection between you and your customers
It helps you to stay on trend and gather customer feedback
Put a message in a bottle (Do some blogging)
Blogging can be a fantastic way to boost the online visibility of your business, and is a great subtle means of introducing your products and services to a much wider audience. Whilst for many folks the prospect of creating a regular blog seems like far too much hassle, the more you do it, the easier it will become and the more benefit you will see from it.
As well as being able to air your opinions on a wide range of issues concerning your industry, having a well maintained blog can help increase your business’ legitimacy as an authority on these issues; thus increasing its standing within the relevant online community.
Pick subjects that are most likely to attract the attention of your target market and be as subtle as you dare in promoting your business within the content (people don't take kindly to content which is blatantly promotional). Above all make sure that the blogs you create have some kind of value for the reader, as this will reflect positively and your business.
Written content like blogs and infographics are great and all, but folks looking to make a really big impact are turning evermore towards video as a means of achieving it. Think about it, if a picture is worth a thousand words, just think how many words a video much be worth!
Seriously though, a staggering number of businesses have had their fortunes made through the video content they create, and there are a number of very good reasons for this.
Videos are easy content to absorb. There is minimal input required on the part of the viewer
Videos are easily shared through a wide range of social media platforms, and can be easily duplicated on web pages
Videos allow for really effective descriptions and accurate portrayals
Video’s can be a great way of describing concepts which might otherwise be tricky to grasp.
Video sharing platforms are visited by billions of people every day, making them one of the largest online resources for putting your business in front of a new audience
A video can make a very strong impact in just a few seconds
A video can help to add a personal touch to your business
… And the list goes on.
One of the best things about using videos to boost your online visibility is that they needn’t have Hollywood standard production values. Indeed some of the most popular video series on YouTube (and the like) are created with nothing more than a camera and a tripod. All you need is a little creativity and you will have a decent shot at success…certainly worth a try we reckon!
We’ll be back next week with another heavily laboured attempt to unite the themes of entrepreneurialism and desert island cast aways!
Mi-IDEA Manchester Networking Event
27th Sep 2016
The teams from CISCO and Manchester Science Partnerships have teamed up to create Mi-IDEA, a post-accelerator designed to foster and nurture digital innovation in the North West of England.