Do you know what your potential customers see when they find you online? How do they find you? CAN they find you?
Knowing your digital footprint has now become one of the most crucial aspects of running a business. Whether you want to engage online or not, the fact of the matter is if you want your business to be successful in today’s marketplace, you’ve got to have an understanding of how to engage with your customers online.
According to lexingtonlaw.com, Millennials (born between 1982 and 2000) account for a quarter of the United States population! That age group alone spends about $600 BILLION in the US every year, and 94% of them prefer to shop in a digital format of some kind!
And you know that little device they are always carrying around – the device they get such a hard time about because they’re “always on it”? Yep, I’m talking about their cell phones.
If they can’t find you on their phones, as far as they’re concerned, you don’t exist! And if you don’t exist, how much of that $600 billion do you think your business is going to get?
…do you see the importance of your digital footprint now?
Probably one of the easiest (and least costly) ways you can show up on the radar of your audience is by having a social media presence.
Now I’m not saying dive in and drown yourself in every platform available. Choose one or two that would benefit you by reaching the audience you want to reach.
Own a restaurant? I’ve found that Facebook & Instagram are great places to start in the social media realm.
Have a blog? Pinterest is the BEST way to gain followers! You can also use Facebook or Instagram here as well.
Find out where your target audience is hanging out, and BE THERE!
Having a website doesn’t have to be a cumbersome ordeal either. There are plenty of website creation options out there, and depending on the level of engagement you intend to have with your audience, you may have little to no cost involved in creating your business’ website.
If all you intend to do is have a presence online, telling the public about your business and where they can find you, that’s an option. You can include the business phone number and email address for your audience to reach you if needed, and you control what’s displayed on the site!
You can also fully engage with your audience through your website. Sell a product and want to offer online sales? Own a restaurant and want to offer online ordering? Your website can offer as little or as much engagement as you can handle.
So let’s say you want to fully engage through your website but are far from comfortable with computers. Uh oh, what do you do now? Do you give up and stick with your local radio, newspaper, and television ads? No!
There are PLENTY of businesses out there you can hire to manage these things for you. Find a local social media manager, enroll in services from a web site management company, hire out any aspect of your online presence that you feel someone else can do better than you can.
Have you ever visited a business and left a review afterwards?
Review sites have been proven to make or break a business in some cases, and the way you manage your business on these sites can make a huge difference!
Some popular review sites are Yelp, Google, Facebook, Amazon, TripAdvisor, Yellow Pages, Better Business Bureau, and FourSquare. I suggest checking each and every one of them to see if your business is listed.
If you find your business on a review site and you did not create the page yourself, CLAIM THE PAGE! Somewhere along the top of the page, there is usually something with the word “claim” or “this is my business” or something along those lines.
Claiming your business gives you control over the information that is out there (aside from the reviews themselves). Are your hours listed correctly? What about the contact info? If you have a restaurant, is your menu updated and correct? And the photos – oh the photos! What kind of picture is painted of your business through the photos that are posted? Post some of your own that show what YOU want your audience to see.
Once you’ve taken control of your business on these sites, invite your customers (especially the happy ones) to write a review! Offer some kind of incentive to them for the review as well – a percentage off coupon, a drawing for a free item of your choice – get them to help increase your star rating!
The fact of the matter is, many times customers do not leave reviews when they’re happy; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. If you want your business to be portrayed fairly, it’s only smart to encourage your happy customers to leave good reviews as well to balance them out!
These are some of the most important aspects of your digital footprint that need your most attention. Once you get a handle on these, you will have a much better understanding of how your customers view your business, and most importantly, ways you might be able to improve!