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We live in a world where almost all data is readily available online. More people than ever have access to powerful technology and the internet, meaning more people than ever are present online in one form or another. That’s both good and bad news for people seeking to succeed in business. In other words, you need to be mindful of your online presence, to curate your digital footprint, so to speak.
Online Presence: What is a Digital Footprint?
To put it simply, a digital footprint is everything someone puts on the internet. These are some of the things that make up your digital footprint: public profiles on social media (including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn, for instance), your online photos, or anything you’ve written or that was written about you on various forums, discussion boards, as well as in blog posts and articles. The more you use the internet, the bigger the need to put something on it. And every time you put something online, it increases your digital footprint. In other words, you have a larger online presence.
Companies collect this online private info regularly so that they can market what they do more successfully. Sometimes they retain this info for two or three years. Furthermore, it’s not just the companies that do this – private individuals can look over your personal info as well. All of this is because they want to see if you have a distinct “voice,” and whether you’re moving along and behaving professionally. Two or three years is a lot of time for a noticeable change, especially when you’re talking about your job or skill level.
You need to keep in mind that many different people will be looking for you. They could be clients, your potential or current bosses, your potential or current workers, and really anyone who has a stake in what you do. All of them are constantly looking at what you present digitally so that they can understand you better on a professional level. Moreover, your online presence will tell them precisely where you stand job-wise. The minute your digital footprint isn’t where it should appear online, consider yourself excluded.
Yes. That last statement was not an exaggeration. If you don’t maintain a decent online presence, you might lose a job or be prevented from getting one. For example, roughly half of the employers today will do an online background check on a potential employee during an interview. In fact, some will even scout potential workers just by browsing their Facebook or LinkedIn page. Today, anything as simple as a risky tweet can cost people their careers or even get them in legal trouble, and employers know this. Poorly maintained social media of an employee can damage the company image. In addition, social media is used to inform employers on who to hire after the interviewing process.
Make Your Digital Footprint Known
Now that you know the problems a badly run online presence can create, it’s time to improve it. There are several steps you can take here. First off, check for yourself what other people can learn about you online. Google your full name, or use a different platform to do this, like Facebook. The first thing you should see is the information about you that’s out there. This search is something you should be doing regularly. Using Google Alerts, you can receive results with automatic updates. Keep in mind, these aren’t just updates you yourself have presented. These are also updates which include information your family or friends may have added.
Platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook offer you the opportunity to post videos, pictures, comments, and blog posts. However, you need to be extra careful about what you post. Any information you put online becomes public property by default. That means that anything you’ve posted, any picture or comment, will stay online for anyone to find. Unless you set everything to private or limited viewing, of course. Having unprotected private info out there makes you a target for impersonators. Remember, a potential employer can sack you if they see your online profile and it looks bad.
There are a few more remaining steps for improving your online presence. Start by separating your professional profile from your private one. For example, don’t put holiday photos or memes on your LinkedIn page, and don’t talk about business info in an online Facebook group about puppies. Next, use a nickname or a pseudonym for your private profiles. In addition to this, set your private profile to be visible only to your family and friends. That way no company or outsider can see your private info, only your loved ones. Finally, go through your professional profile and remove anything remotely private. It’s worth repeating that employers have either fired or rejected people simply for telling a joke someone else found upsetting or “triggering.” Your safest bet is to keep those to your private profile and to keep your professional page focused only on business.
Capitalizing on Your Digital Footprint
If you build your online presence correctly, you can get many different benefits. The first of those is a decent, positive online presentation. It will showcase what you’re good at, what experience you have, and what interests you personally. That’s a great way of letting the employer or employee know what to expect with you on the job. There are even websites that allow you to control the flow of this information and hide what you think you should. The second benefit is a well-knit online profile. This profile should contain your CV that will get you more contacts. If you maintain your LinkedIn or Medium page, for example, potential colleagues will flock to you and ask for future collaboration.
The next benefit has to do with potential employers’ information. When they come to you and look at your profiles, you can do the same and research their own digital footprint. This lets you know what kind of company they are and if they’re worth your while or not. Finally, you can perform regular profile updates in no time and at no cost. All you need to do is perform those on a regular basis.
Judging Based on Your Digital Footprint
There are advertisers, PR firms, tech giants and media moguls that expect potential employees to have a healthy, vibrant online presence. As such, they will actively seek out what you do outside of your profile pages. They might look for your blogs, videos, or other profiles. Naturally, you can use this to your advantage. Strategize with what you post and where you post it. That Amazon review or that blog post can get you a high-paying salary and lots of new connections. Naturally, always go back to your old posts and remove whatever you deem bad or unprofessional. A healthy online presence is all about balance - adding new content and removing old, unworthy content. On a final note, always consider whether what you’re putting online should be out there, in other words, whether it really enhances your online presence or not. Then you can either post it or not.
Digital marketing has the advantage of being new, popular, and – most importantly – cheap. Both huge and small businesses are using it more and more in lieu of traditional marketing. If you have a small business yourself and need some brand recognition, you can benefit from using digital marketing. However, you need to pay attention and focus on your target audience.
You have a wide range of ways to promote your product, such as written content, videos, mobile and social media advertising. All of these will help you rank higher when people google your brand, and you won’t waste any time or money on them. The problem with new businesspeople is how to use these without feeling overwhelmed. In this text, you’ll find 15 digital marketing tips that will help your new company gain the brand recognition it needs.
Digital Marketing – the 15 Tips
1. Be Creative in How You Communicate
You already have a good product which you know will work well. The next step is for you to develop a decent, creative communication strategy. Most people will tell you that social media has fewer barriers, and that’s true. But bear in mind that your competition will be huge. After all, more and more businesses are using social media to promote their services. The best solution is to spend some time and develop an innovative, creative, and interesting strategy for communication. This way, you can expand your influence, and you will get great brand recognition for nearly no money.
2. Devote Time to Each Element of Your Strategy
You have a solid strategy now, so the next logical step is to make sure every single element is taken care of. So many companies are now using digital marketing, and a good number of them have the resources to further their message. As a new business, you probably won’t have nearly as many resources as they do. Therefore, you must relentlessly focus on your message. Beyond that, you must also focus on your target audience, as well as the channels they use which will deliver this message to them. These three elements are of vital importance to you, so focus your marketing efforts on them.
3. Develop Unique Content
It doesn’t matter what your business deals with – quality content is key. In other words, a businessman or businesswoman can grow their brand quickly if they produce decent content regularly. In terms of digital content, think of blog posts, guest articles, videos, social media content, and other web content. Any one of these can offer you a cost-effective way to promote your product. Of course, they work even better if you use them all together. A good video or riveting blog post can connect you with your customer on a deeper level.
However, quality content requires time. You ought to start producing it early so that you can get the best results when you move along with your work.
4. Meet Your User Base
You’re a new business, not a corporation. Corporations can afford to expand to every demographic out there, but you cannot. The best thing for you to do is to focus your digital marketing efforts on your small, but growing audience. Get to know them well, learn about their wants and needs, as well as how much they value your service. If you do, you’ll grow very quickly and will become a large brand to a tiny audience. Don’t misread the last sentence – that’s a good thing. Having a small audience which your brand has impacted hard is an amazing start that will make your business grow very quickly.
5. Positive Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Is Your Friend
Once again, you’re not that big to get your product or service directly out there and receive feedback. But it’s wise that you use the power of the oldest form of marketing, namely word of mouth. Think long and hard how your product can use word of mouth to its advantage. When you do, the next step is to promote good reviews about your business. The customers will start talking, and soon enough, more will come to you and buy your product. It’s an amazingly cheap and useful way to generate buzz for what you do, and most small businesses actually grow by using this method.
6. PR or SEO? Try Something in Between
New companies would ideally locate publications and web pages within their own niche. Remember the tip about creating quality content? Well, that content can get people to talk and, more importantly, write about you. Right there you have positive PR for what you do, which is invaluable to you. Make sure to do this long-term, and take note of where you earn proper links that lead to your webpage. If you do, you’ll find that golden balance between SEO and good PR. The moment you hit that sweet spot, brand awareness grows, and online traffic soars organically.
7. Your Foundation Is Key for Growth
If you want to maximize your limited budget for advertising, focus on any channel that has no minimums and no granular options for targeting. By doing so, you will get the “low-hanging fruit” and not waste money trying to reach an audience that doesn’t care about your product. Applying these tactics properly will set a foundation for your company. Marketing strategies will pivot in no time as your company learns and grows with each new business opportunity.
8. Combine the Data You Have With New Tools
Your startup company can leverage its own data. It does this from users’ e-mail lists, social media insights, and other elements. There are resources out there which you can use to create similar audiences, such as Google AdWords, MailChimp, and Facebook Ads. None of these require you to pay for their service, and they can generate a good cash flow. Use them to pay attention to analytics and reporting. These elements are crucial because they let you know if your brand is reaching the audiences you want it to reach.
9. Design Is Key, Too
Nowadays, you can find many media platforms that offer easy design solutions to websites. This availability made it easier for smaller businesses to expand and go toe-to-toe with bigger, established companies. If you want to make it in business, you must carefully choose your digital placement and brand in accordance to it. To some degree, your consumers will judge your services based on what they see on their screen when they visit your social media or your main webpage. It’s important to keep in mind that they do the same with your competitors.
10. Make a Referral Marketing Program
This ought to be the very first tactic in digital marketing that you must invest in. It won’t be enough for you to market your product to your customer base. Make a platform where they can share your links with friends and family. Then allow them to review your product or post about you on social media. Furthermore, you should take note of which customer has a lot of influence on newcomers. Contact them and activate them so that they can help you build organic brand awareness. The more of these customers you contact, the faster your business will grow.
11. Consistency Is Important
Never lose sight of your message. Make sure you’re consistent in that regard and maintain a consistent schedule of content creation. Otherwise, new users might be confused if you flip-flop on your message.
In addition, keep producing new content for your brand on a consistent, predictable schedule. That way your followers will keep in touch and remember you. Moreover, new customers will know what to expect.
12. Remember – Targeting
This tip more or less includes the same message as the last one – never lose sight of your target audience. Keep targeting them with ad placements on social media. They cost next to nothing and can give you great granular segmenting. When you do this, you can test out the market slowly and learn what sticks. The moment you do, invest in a harder campaign where you spot traction.
13. Promote Yourself
It’s simple – collaborate everywhere you can and promote your brand by promoting yourself. Get on videos, push your name through articles and posts – grow personally by being “everywhere.” Help out others with their own brands through cooperation, and the same will get back to you. This can be done in many ways, actual word of mouth, flyers, handing out giveaways like promotional keyrings, promotional pens, etc... That’s how smaller brands go, and that’s what will give you a leg up down the road.
14. Be a Target
There is an interesting hack which can help you market your business. Don’t go after broad keywords, as most major companies target them. You don’t have the money to bid on these, so go small. Target long-tail, specific keywords and save money. That will get you the search engine advertising you need.
Timing is crucial for digital marketing for small businesses. You can, for instance, coordinate a launch of a product on Product Hunt, along with a key influencer. Brand recognition can grow if you manage to use the so-called “customer evangelism”, like offering customers services in exchange for them sharing the media with others. If you use these content marketing tactics, you can build a powerful and loyal base of customers.