Ways to Establish an Online Presence for Small and Large Businesses

By Marie Revenew, Director Client Services, S&D Marketing – Advertising & CWCC Member

Recently my hairdresser confided to me that he wanted to open his own salon. He’s very talented with hundreds of loyal customers who leave his chair looking fabulous.  He asked me how much it would cost to develop a website since that’s what he believed he needed to attract customers. I shared some budget figures with him but told him that just because he didn’t have thousands to spend on a website, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t pursue his dream. I advised him to establish an online presence for his salon using primarily Facebook and Twitter. They’re both free and with his database of customers, they would be the fastest vehicles to spread the word about his new salon and bring customers in his door.

In another conversation with one of my clients, a $25M business services firm that wanted to generate leads, I advised them to redo their five year old website and build an SEO focused site, launch Facebook and LinkedIn pages and set up a Twitter account. To gain Facebook followers quickly, they launched an online game with cool prizes, inviting people via email and encouraging recipients to pass the game along to others. The game was successful and their Facebook followers increased 400% in one week. They’re now exposed to many new potential customers. Now that their online presence is re-launched, they need to maintain this momentum by blogging, posting photos and comments, linking to organizations they are associated with and monitoring results weekly.

Those are two completely different organizations with two different online approaches, but they share a common thread of social media. Today all organizations from small operations to large corporations embrace social media to help them grow. It’s a seismic shift from years ago when a website was enough. The reality is that search engines like Google and Bing control how much online exposure companies get based on how chatty and active organizations are online. By leveraging your network of contacts through Facebook and Twitter, you can spread a message to hundreds of “friends” who will then share with their friends, who now become your audience of thousands. Google and Bing like audiences of thousands. When someone searches a term that is mentioned in something you post, the search engines notice and your ranking rises as does your exposure to potential customers.  By setting up a blog page on your current site you can share important, interesting, relevant and unusual information associated with your business. The more information you share or post, the more search engines “see” your company and you’re the more ranking increases.

Of course, don’t abandon your traditional marketing. But consider leveraging your online presence with consistent social media activities that are in line with your brand and business.  This is easier than you think.  Think of it as if you are going to a networking event. What are you going to talk about? What is your point of view? Who do you know that you can introduce to one another? This is what social media marketing is and it’s a great tool to establish your online presence whether you are just starting your business or wishing to grow your established one.

About the Author

Marie Revenew is Director, Client Services for S&D Marketing and Advertising, a 14-year-old, full-service firm specializing in strategic marketing solutions and efficient tactical executions for organizations in industries such as technology, health care, education, law and finance. Contact Marie at 303-785-3222 or visit S&D Marketing I Advertising at www.sd-advertising.com to learn more.