Category Archives: Good Practices

A Digital Marketing Ecosystem: What Are You Missing?

digital marketing ecosystem

Taking it back to middle-school biology, an “ecosystem” is defined as a system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.” In reference to the above definition, your Digital Marketing Ecosystem consists of 3 different spaces, which contain various interconnected elements. How effortlessly these elements and their respective spaces interact with one another will dictate your success as a system (aka a brand). We’ll address the three spaces that every digital marketing ecosystem should consist of and further explore the elements that make up each space.

Rented Space

Your rented space is where you play by the rules set forth by the environment. For example, blog post links are fed to Facebook, high-quality photos belong on Instagram, and ready-made infographics are at home on Pinterest. As marketers, we post at the opportune time with the ideal frequency and we never exceed 20% text in Facebook Ads. In our rented space, we use the features available to us in order to share our message, and ultimately send traffic to the place where we can dictate the rules.

Earned Space

Your earned space represents the environment’s thoughts and opinions of your brand. It’s anywhere people gather to retell your story and review your services. It may be tempting to pay people to say certain things or employ black hat tactics to rise to the top of search engines — but the truth typically emerges at one point or another. To ensure the healthiest relationship between your rented, earned, and owned spaces, it’s best to stick to the basics: offer a high-quality product &/or service, create valuable content and continue to network within your industry and community.

Owned Space

The only space that is truly yours is your website. You dictate the format and the messaging. You’re literally the king of this domain. Trailblazers beware! While there is always room for innovation, your audience expects things to flow a certain way. Your owned space needs to play nicely with your rented and earned spaces — meaning the transition should be seamless. At no time should he or she have to wait for a page to load or bounce around in search of a phone number.

Enough with the ecological metaphors, how does one ensure their rented, earned and owned spaces are all working together? Here are a few ground rules.

Opt for complete solutions.

As a digital marketing agency, we often come face-to-face with small business owners who are unwilling to let go of the wheel. They either want to maintain control of each piece themselves, or they have sought out piecemeal solutions thinking that asset diversity applies to marketing. On the contrary, your rented, earned and owned spaces should feature the same messaging, to the same established audience and funnel all of these individuals to the same destination. This isn’t a scenario where your right hand shouldn’t know what your left is doing — the ideal digital marketing ecosystem consists of groups and elements that are all working toward the same end.

Nurture each space.

Because each space and their elements are interconnected, you shouldn’t neglect a platform where your audience lives. It’s important to first analyze data to identify where your audience in fact lives. If business is booming and Facebook is only responsible for a negligible percent of your website traffic and conversions — by all means, pull the plug! However, if your content is sporadic and adds little value to your community, we’d recommend giving it an honest go before writing off a space where 1.9 billion users live…

Let data drive you.

If you’re still wondering how one “identifies where your audience lives” — it’s time to take a dive into the data. At Alter Endeavors, we don’t believe having a presence in every available space is the best approach. Our method is to select spaces based on where your audience currently lives online and where your brand can offer them value. While we customize the content for the functionality and the demographics of the platform, there is always brand cohesion. We incorporate analytics into our strategy to ensure users see more of what they engage with and are reminded of the owned space where they can easily purchase the product or employ the service they’re searching for.

We encourage you to audit your digital marketing ecosystem and identify which spaces may be lacking. If you’re unsure of how to go about this or know you’re missing key elements — don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll dive into the data and provide the ecosystem overhaul your business needs.

Social Media Trends vs. Best Practices

December and January bring blogs and articles that list outgoing fads, compile top trends of the previous year and outline new trends to try in 2018. This focus on new, fresh and of-the-moment ideas is not out of a place in an industry like digital marketing, where a dynamic landscape is de rigueur. Even Alter Endeavors is not immune from this focus, we recently published blogs on 4 Holiday Marketing Tips to Try and Your 2018 Social Media Resolution.  However, fads and trends will not help brands maintain and establish a sustainable online presence.  A superior social media strategy will combine experimental exercises with best practices.  How can you tell the difference between a fad and an experimental exercise?  What social media trends are worth trying and which should you leave behind? Ask these questions before trying any new trends.

Is it cheating?

If it seems too be good to be true, it probably is.  If the new trend feels like you are gaming the system, this is probably not a best practice.  You can buy followers for almost any platform, but will 15,000 new followers that aren’t relevant to your brand help you sell more products?  There are many services and bots that will allow you to quickly follow and unfollow other accounts or even post to Instagram from a desktop, but both of these practices could get your account shut down.  If you are ever unsure, consulting blogs, resources and guides published by the main platforms themselves like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a great resource.  This is not to say that platforms won’t implement new changes, for instance, Twitter doubled their character count from 140 to 280.  Instagram users may remember that originally the platform only allowed users to post square photos.  Subscribe to industry newsletters and follow platforms to stay current with new changes.

Who else is participating?

Before implementing a new strategy, take a look around and observe which other brands are participating.  It’s true that innovators and industry disrupters are often early adopters and what sets them apart is not following the crowd.  However, observing whether trustworthy brands are taking part, could help you decide if the new strategy is right for your brand.  Step one is having a good sense of your brand identity and how your brand is positioned within your own industry.  Following respected thought leaders whether they are within your industry or outside it can help determine whether any of these social media trends are worthwhile.

Will it help you achieve your goals?

Not every goal needs to be focused on long-term sustainability, but will this new strategy help you achieve a short or long-term goal?  If the trend is just something new to try and is not tied to any goal in particular, then implementing the new strategy may not be worth the effort.  This question doesn’t aid you in evaluating the value of new practice unless you have first taken the time to identify and set goals.

Asking these questions can help you evaluate whether these social media trends are worth trying, save you time and help you create a sustainable online presence built on best practices.  If you want to learn more about best practices, you can sign up to receive our emails and our free Social Media Best Practices White Paper!

6 Website Logins All Website Owners Should Know (Part 1)

As your favorite local tech support person, it’s a constant battle for us to maintain our client’s websites because so often our clients don’t know crucial access information needed to setup and maintain their websites.
Too often clients rely solely on a friend or trusted associate to handle all of this information. However, as time passes and people come and go in their lives or businesses, they often lose track of this information.
It’s important that you, as the owner of the web property, have accurate access information for these 6 key website logins that you or your tech support person will need. You should find out what they are, make sure they work and store them in a safe place.

Domain Registrar 

What is it?
Remember way back when you first reserved your domain name? Domain registrars are companies that are accredited to reserve, sell and maintain domains for you. Domain names are usually reserved in 1-year increments.
Why is it important?
A domain registrar serves several very important functions. Reserving and renewing the domain name is obvious, but just as important, the domain registrar is also where you specify the DNS host. We’ll talk more about that later, but this means it’s essentially the place where you specify the primary domain name server (like a phone book, only for a computer) which allows people to find your website when they enter your domain name in a browser.
Other facts about Domain Registrars:
When you reserve your domain name, you will be asked to specify contact information for the registrant (the person who owns the domain name), as well as administrative, technical and billing contacts. Most people use the same person, but you may want to include alternate emails in case they can’t reach the original email.
If you don’t know your domain registrar, you can visit a site such as WhoIs, enter your domain name and get a wealth of information about your domain, including who your domain registrar is.
Well known Registrars?

DNS Host (Name Server)

What is it?
A DNS host (name server) is a service that keeps copies of your DNS information on a bunch of different servers so that when somebody enters your domain name, it quickly returns the IP address (sort of like a phone number) to visitors so that they can find (call) your website. This is so that people looking for your website can remember visitmysite.com rather than 123.1.34.56. When someone enters visitmysite.com in a browser, it looks up that name on your DNS hosting’s server and provides the IP address so that your website can be found.
Why is it important?
If you move your website to a different server, for any reason, you have to have this information to re-point the DNS information to the correct IP address. Add it to your list of key website logins, you will definitely need it in the future.
Other facts about DNS Hosting:
In most cases your domain registrar will provide this service for free as part of their domain registration service, so your domain registrar and DNS host are often the same company utilizing the same website logins.
If you don’t know who is hosting your DNS you can usually find out with a WhoIs and look for the name server. Sometimes the name server is a bit cryptic, but you can usually figure out who it is by Googling the name server name.
Well known DNS Hosts?
Cloudflare, Rackspace, FreeDNS, ClouDNS and many major domain registrars such as GoDaddy and BlueHost.

Website Host (Control Panel)

What is it?
Web hosts are services that allow organizations and individuals to publish a website or web page on the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on web hosting servers.
Why is it important?
Clearly, if you need to make changes to your website, it’s important to have access to where the files and images are that make up your website. Without it, you cannot update your content.
Other facts about Web Hosting:
Websites with low traffic visitation are usually found on shared servers, often with dozens of other sites.  Busier ones may be on dedicated servers, with increased pricing. The login that controls your website is often called a dashboard or control panel.
Many domain registrars will also provide website hosting. So your registrar and web host are often the same company with the same login.
If you don’t know who is hosting your website, visit WhoIsHostingThis? and enter your domain. There you will see the name of the company who is currently hosting your website.
Well known Web Hosting Companies?

Coming next time: Website Logins Part 2 – FTP, WordPress, and email services.

Your 2018 Social Media Resolution

2018 social media resolution

 

2017 is officially over. Time flies, huh? It’s a great time to sit back and reflect on the year as a whole, namely your social media presence.  How many platforms have you been active on?  I mean really active on? What could you have done better (or more consistently?) How can you improve in the coming year? Let’s tackle your 2018 social media resolution!

Content Is King

The best way you can improve your social presence in 2018 is to make adding fresh content a priority. If you want to expand your page’s reach or more directly reach your existing followers, it all starts with content.  Keeping your page updated with fresh, relevant, and interesting information will keep your page growing and create the ideal environment for your followers to interact with your business (and each other) and share your content to their/other pages. You can’t expect new people to come to your page and want to keep up with you in the future if your page is only updated once a month, or if the content isn’t relevant or engaging. When it comes to your website, one of the best things you can do to boost your SEO is to create and add new content regularly. When formulating your 2018 social media resolution, adding fresh content regularly should top the list. 

Have Somewhere to Send People From Social Media

In 2018, you need to make sure that you have somewhere that your social media platforms are directing people to.  Whether it’s a Shopify store or a website, it needs to be high-quality enough that visitors don’t bounce immediately after landing on the homepage.  There needs to be thought put into all of the calls-to-action and anywhere that potential customers may be submitting anything (contact forms, specific requests, etc.)  Utilizing a Facebook Pixel for your site will be invaluable when measuring how effective your Facebook presence and/or ad campaigns are when it comes to conversions and getting people to your website. Using Google Analytics to track conversions and other activity on your site is mandatory if you’re serious about improving your digital marketing.  Long story short, add improving your website to your 2018 social media resolution.   

Facebook Ads Will Give Your Business A Boost

If your business has been on Facebook for any length of time, you’ve been bombarded with requests to “boost” certain posts to increase reach and engagement.  While you can do the equivalent of throwing money at the problem of lackluster reach/conversions, there are more effective strategies that you can adopt. At Alter Endeavors, we have multiple approaches (depending on your specific business, pass-through budget, and goals) that are formulated to have maximum effect while still being cost effective.  Facebook ads can definitely be a headache if you aren’t experienced, but if leveraged correctly, can help grow your business tremendously.  If you’d like to explore your options with Facebook Ad campaigns or just talk through your personal goals, give us a shout! We’re happy to help.

Reviews And Review Sites

As a business owner, reviews and review sites are important to think about.  In 2017, 93% of consumers read local reviews to decide if a business is good or not. Keeping that in mind, did you monitor your business’ Yelp page in the last year? What about your reviews hosted on Google? In 2018, dedicate a portion of your time to monitoring and responding to reviews. Facebook reviews are easy to monitor as they’re already on a platform you’re using and it’s easy to strike up a conversation or relationship with the person who left the review. Just because it’s the most convenient doesn’t mean it’s less important! Yelp and Facebook are the most trusted review sites for US consumers, and people visit your Facebook page for more reasons than to just check reviews, so make sure that you respond professionally and promptly to Facebook reviews! When it comes to Yelp, reviews cannot be removed or hidden by the business.  Because of this, your response is vital to creating a relationship with the reviewer, especially if the review was negative.  In short, managing reviews is a big part of your 2018 social media resolution. If you aren’t sure how to respond to negative reviews or just don’t have the time, give us a call!  We specialize in reputation management and will create a strategy unique to your business.

At Alter Endeavors, we love helping business’ improve their social strategy. Even more so, we love watching your business grow as a direct result of improving your strategy, utilizing ad campaigns, and improving your website.  If you have any questions about your current social media presence, or what the best way you could improve your digital marketing, drop us a line!  We’d be happy to talk you through your options and would love to work with you in the new year.  Happy New Year, y’all!

Social Media Resources for Small Business Owners

social media resources

The key to successfully navigating the digital marketing world requires accessing a simple, yet exhaustible resource: time. Even with an impressive budget dedicated to your social media platforms and digital ads — without setting aside time to research best practices, you’re likely throwing money down a black hole. Before you decide to go all-in, we suggest that you first spend time learning the rules. We’ve rounded up several of our favorite social media resources that we subscribe to in order to stay on top of our game.

Podcasts 

For those that are constantly on the go, driving from meeting to meeting — podcasts are a fantastic tool as far as social media resources are concerned. We suggest that you subscribe to the Social Media Examiner Podcast and tune-in for longer rides. This podcast is filled with interviews from industry experts and the occasional applicable gold nugget for your business. The Social Media Lab Podcast from Agora Pulse consists of data-driven content in short, digestible episodes. It’s an excellent way to test whether what you thought you knew as a digital marketer is in fact…fact!

Websites

The issue with solely relying on podcasts as your educational resource is that they do not require your undivided attention and valuable information often ends up going in one ear and out the other. Which is why Social Media Examiner and the Social Media Lab have website counterparts that you can quickly refer back to what image editing app is a must-download or a new Facebook Ad approach that could be a game changer. 

Newsletters

It’s important to set yourself up for success, and instead of assuming you’ll set aside time each week to continue your digital marketing education… why not have the education come to you? Dedicate a folder of your inbox to continued learning and sign-up for the newsletters that promise valuable information alongside their sales offers. Some of these include the Planoly Blog, Digital Marketer, and the Alter Endeavors Newsletter. And when it’s time to buckle in and take notes, you can easily navigate to your folder and see what’s new in the social media world.

Free Downloads

If you’re looking for a comprehensive document to reference, we’ve created this Social Media Best Practices Whitepaper to help you get started down the right path. We are committed to creating valuable content that helps bring back the human element to the digital sphere and are always available to help you get interactive!

If there isn’t time in your day to learn from these social media resources — we suggest you entrust the responsibility of managing your social media platforms to someone whose job is to do just that. While it’s often cheaper to be a “do-it-yourself-er,” the end result isn’t always the best quality… especially if you dive in with little experience and no guidebook. Our approach is to create a comprehensive social media strategy that addresses your goals and is both cost-effective and worthwhile. If you’d like to discuss ways we can help you achieve your business goals, reach out! 

4 Ways To Strategically Respond To Customers On Social Media

4 ways to respond to customers on social media

With the emergence of social media in the last two decades, anyone can mention your business in a quick Tweet or Facebook post and BAM— it’s there for everyone on the web to see. Once you receive a notification that your company has been tagged, you have a golden opportunity to forge a relationship with a potential customer AND others that happen to see the interaction. As a business owner, it can be a headache to keep tabs on all online mentions and posts regarding your company. Monitoring all of your platforms is not easy to do without dedicating a good portion of your time to it. Beyond the time it takes, you need to create the most important aspects of how you respond to customers — your strategy. There are a few ways that you can approach this: 

One of the most conservative social media strategies you can adopt for your online interactions is to respond to customers in a similar fashion, regardless of the comment.  While this gives your business a more uniform online presence and doesn’t involve a monumental time investment, you run the risk of coming across as a robot and missing the opportunity to connect with a potential customer.  If you reply to too many (or all) mentions/comments in the exact same way, people will think that you’re not even looking at their posts, just replying with a blanket response. Responding to everyone in exactly the same way should be avoided at all costs.

Do you remember high school when playing hard to get was a thing? Well, it’s back, but in response to online reviews and tweets.  Maybe you’ve seen the “clapback tweets” from brands like Wendy’s or Digiorno, but they’ve taken the internet by storm in recent years.  While they may seem cool, is it really a sustainable strategy long-term?  The social media landscape changes so rapidly that this trend may not last, and has a high possibility of alienating your followers and potential customers.  When you don’t have a giant audience, this social media strategy generally becomes too risky to be applicable to your business. Odds are this approach is not for you.

To make the most of all of your business’ interactions online, your best bet (especially as a smaller company) is to respond to customers in a personalized way.  Getting a response that is positive and tailored exactly to them will stick with a potential buyer. Others that see the interaction will be more inclined to do business with you.  You might be wondering “if this approach is so effective, why doesn’t everyone do it?” It’s because of one major resource – time. Unless you can set aside time to dedicate to social media strategy and implementation, you won’t be able to make the most out of your online responses and are therefore missing opportunities.

The easiest and most effective social media strategy that you can apply (especially if time is a constraint) is to have Alter Endeavors manage your company’s online presence.  We have experience in digital marketing spanning a variety of industries. At the end of the day, having Alter Endeavors manage your social media presence frees you from checking your business’ platforms multiple times a day and ensures nothing falls through the cracks. Your input helps us create the most effective social media strategy possible for your business, and we will respond to every mention, review, post, or tweet referencing your company in a personalized and professional way.       

A mention on social media is an opportunity to forge a relationship.  It’s imperative that your business is taking advantage of these opportunities by replying in a way that shines a positive light on your brand — even in response to criticism! If you’re not 100% comfortable responding to any potential post about your company, give Alter Endeavors a call.  We’ll work with you every step of the way to create a personalized response strategy for your brand and ensure that your presence online is uniform and professional.

4 Holiday Marketing Tips to Try This Season

holiday marketing

Holiday marketing may seem more relevant for some brands like e-commerce companies or businesses with a tangible product, but everyone from B2B (business-to-business) to service-based companies can participate in holiday marketing.  These 4 tips will help you get started with planning your holiday marketing strategy.

Put a Holiday Spin on Top-Performing Content

Don’t know where to start? Mine previous data for an idea of what works and what doesn’t. The holiday season occurs at the end of the year, so you have almost an entire year’s worth of data to analyze to find top-performing content and review what strategies work the best.  Google Analytics can be used to find the most visited pages on your website or your most read blog.  Use this information to put a holiday-spin on the information housed on those pages. You can also find top-performing content on your social channels by researching what posts on Facebook or Instagram received the most likes or engagement.  Take that newfound data and then strategize how you can recreate something similar for the holidays!

Publicize Your Holiday Traditions

Participating in holiday-themed marketing may be easier than you think. What are you already doing that is holiday-related? Does your office have a holiday party?  Is there a friendly gingerbread house-decorating competition?  Does your company attend or sponsor a community event like a tree lighting or a canned food drive?  Identify what you are already doing and then don’t forget to take pictures during the event, invite others to join you for the event and tag other community partners!

‘Tis the Season to be Service Minded

How can you help solve a potential client’s problem or make their life easier during the holiday hustle?  Frame your holiday marketing within the context of solving a client’s problem.  Product-based companies may have the right gift, but a service-based company could help free up time and energy for clients to spend more time with family or cross other important things off their to-do lists.  Is there some tax advantage or another benefit for the customer if they purchase your product or service before the new year?  For instance, there are tax benefits to purchasing a new website before the end of the year  You know the ins and outs of your brand, but many potential clients may be encountering your brand for the first time, so don’t shy away from foundational messaging that can help the consumer.

Read Holiday Marketing Guides from Relevant Social Platforms

Pay attention to the platforms that move the needle the most for you. The one constant of the social media landscape is change.  Many social platforms like Facebook and Pinterest publish holiday marketing guides to help businesses craft their own holiday marketing strategies. These guides can be invaluable when it comes to inspiration for new ideas or provide guidance for structuring things like your ad budget.  For example, Facebook put out this Holiday Marketing Guide. In this guide, Facebook shared the results of a survey, “an average of 62% of surveyed people report doing most of their holiday shopping in December. Among these people, 1 in 4 make their purchases between December 11–20.”  This means that you may want to dedicate the lion’s share of your Facebook ad budget to marketing efforts between December 11th and 20th!  You know the platforms that are most valuable for your business, so don’t ignore great advice made available to you.  

Need help with your holiday marketing strategy or want to get a head start on your 2018 marketing strategy?  We would love to answer any questions you may have and start a conversation with you, contact us here.

The Fine Line Between Social Sharing and Bragging

The Fine Line Between Social Sharing and Bragging

Recently, Hurricane Harvey attacked Southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast traveling thousands of miles and devastating communities with over 50 inches of rain and winds of over 130 miles per hour. Tens of thousands of people were displaced by Hurricane Harvey and it is estimated that damages could cost up to 180 billion!

Countless individuals and businesses rushed to offer aid in the form of physical help, financial and material donations, fundraisers, benefits and more, including several of our own clients. Throughout helping to broadcast and coordinate these relief efforts, we have encountered two schools of thought when it comes to social media and charitable involvement. Everyone wants to help, but not everyone wants their philanthropic efforts disseminated to the world. Some generous donors and do-gooders would prefer to remain anonymous, while others are okay with sharing about their donations. But, when is sharing about your brand’s charitable involvement considered bragging? And when is social sharing a means for inspiring, organizing and spurring others to action?

First and foremost, one should remember that social media is a tool. Like any other tool or resource, social media can be used for good or evil. Money is a resource that can be hoarded for greed or given to help others. Cars are a tool that when driven recklessly can kill, or when used responsibly can help deliver resources to those in need.  Similarly, social media is also a tool that can be used for bullying, bragging, tearing others down or it can be implemented to organize people and grow businesses. How the tool is used is up to the individual.

There are several pros and cons to broadcasting charitable efforts or keeping quiet about them, and the line between bragging and social sharing can get blurry at times.

Let’s start with a few of the negative aspects:

Bragging

What’s the point of your philanthropic efforts if you are just going to boast about them?  The point of doing something for someone else is not that you receive credit or brownie points for your work or donation, but that the organization that needs help, receives that help. Brands or businesses that prefer to give anonymously want to keep the focus on others and not on themselves. Posting about your charitable involvement could easily cross that bragging line, so businesses need to be careful how they portray and post about their donation.

Self-serving

Really, it all comes down to the motivation behind your charitable involvement. Are you giving or participating to serve others or to serve yourself? Giving can certainly help sales, but perhaps that should be a byproduct of your motivation and not the main cause for it. By keeping quiet about your businesses’ philanthropic efforts you avoid the whole mess of appearing to be giving for your own gain.  Before sharing about your donation or benefit, consider the source of your desire to give.  If the desire to help is genuine, then you are headed in the right direction.

There are several pros to sharing your philanthropic efforts with others too:

Inspire

By taking the onus to step forward and do some good, you can inspire others to do the same. Monkey see, monkey do isn’t always a good thing, but when it comes to charitable involvement, it is! If everyone else is helping out, social sharing can encourage other individuals and businesses to do what they can to participate too. Inspiring and spurring others to take action is definitely one of the more positive aspects of social sharing.

Publicity

By sharing your benevolent efforts with others online, you are helping to bring awareness to charitable causes and the need you are helping to fill.  Others may not realize that a specific non-profit exists or that there is a need going unfulfilled. You can bring good publicity to other organizations and your own business through the profess of social sharing.

Community Involvement

When you offer opportunities for others to help contribute to your charitable involvement, you are strengthening the community and providing others with the chance to partner with you to do some good for others. A strong community can help meet the needs of more people and a connected community can rally together to help a greater number of people. You can encourage your audience to buy your product or service, but you can also encourage them to join with you in a specific benefit or fundraiser for a worthy cause.

What it all comes down to is your motivation behind giving and how you broadcast that message. From the language, you use to the organizations that you choose to partner with and the causes that you elect to support, sharing your charitable efforts with others has the potential to inspire, spur others to action, bring awareness and strengthen the community.  Finding the right balance between social sharing and bragging can be tricky. If you need help navigating the field of social sharing and charitable involvement, we would love to help you get started!

The Importance of an Online Presence Audit

While the importance of having a website with useful information and resources about your company is a necessity, businesses often forget to periodically check that current information is accurate and consistent across all platforms. Completing an online presence audit every few months can minimize the problems customers come across while maximizing your chance for engagement and sales. Below, I will discuss the importance of conducting an online presence audit, and what exactly that entails.

Contact info

First, it is important to audit all of your owned, rented and earned platforms to double-check that the contact info on every platform is consistent and correct. Your contact info includes: website address, physical address, phone number and email. On some platforms like Yelp and Nextdoor, you may have to submit a request to change your info or verify your number. Keeping your contact info up-to-date is extremely important; otherwise, you risk either losing a customer or irritating them because they can’t get into contact with you and that could lead to a frustrated potential customer before you even have the chance to interact.

About section

Most companies have a slogan or a few sentences that they consistently use to describe what it is they do or the services they offer. But, a lot of the time that description changes over time with the company and it’s easy to forget to go back and update your bio sections to reflect your new description of your brand. This can quickly lead to your platforms having different and confusing versions and leave your customer with an incorrect idea of your brand identity. Creating a consistent brand identity and image across all platforms can help customers recall and remember your brand better.

Links and submission buttons

Though it may seem obvious to make sure your links and submission buttons properly function, a lot of the time we trust in technology too much and assume that these will work. Every once in awhile it is good to go back and confirm that your links actually take people where you want them to and that your submission buttons properly submit the information they’re supposed to. A common issue we’ve seen at AE is that many people will link to their social sites such as Twitter and Facebook and when you click on that link it takes you to the homepage of those sites and not the actual company profile. So, go through your platforms as if you were a customer or client and try your links and different buttons to see if they are properly functioning.

Audit time

Alright, guys, it’s time to start checking. We know this process can be tedious and boring at times, but trust us when we say it’s all about the little things. Those simple fixes you make on your online platforms can be the make or break between whether a potential customer actually makes it to you or not. Best of luck out there, and if you’d rather have someone else run your online presence audit, you know where to find us!

How to Build an Online Presence for Your Business

online presence

Building an online presence can be tricky if you don’t know where to start. Hopefully, this article will serve as a guide on how to get started online and tell you what we, at Alter Endeavors, think is necessary for every business to have online.

Pick your Platforms

Let’s start with the fact that in a world where there are literally endless social platforms on the Internet, you absolutely have to set limits. Which means you don’t have to be on every social platform. At AE, we suggest starting with a 1-3 approach. Meaning, at a minimum, choose between one and three social media platforms, and concentrate on doing those well. But how do you choose which platforms are right for you? First and foremost, your choice is based on WHO you are trying to reach. Who are your essential, must-have customers? Are they even on this platform? If your people are there, you HAVE to be there. Once you decide, you may need a basic guide on how to start a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Houzz account.

Focus on your Core Values

A major part of establishing a company is promoting your core values and your mission statement. When setting up your platforms, the “about section” should have a strong description that is unique to your brand. Consumer loyalty increases drastically when their values align with a brand they use, and this can be a key aspect of who your loyal customers are. Once again, consistency in your about section/bio is important across all platforms to enforce your brand’s image. So, when choosing your mission statement, be sure to take the time to develop it so that it exemplifies what is unique about your brand and what makes you stand out from your competitors.

High-quality Images

When starting to build your online presence, it is paramount to collect high-quality images and logos for your company. An example of high-quality photos that you may want to use on your accounts is pictures of the interior and exterior of your brick and mortar locations to use in your marketing efforts. Not only do you need easy access to these photos, they should be consistent across all of your platforms. Your brand must be the same in all of your marketing, or your customers won’t recognize it easily. Once you have high-quality photos of your logos, you can use them as your profile picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to help people recognize your online accounts as legitimate. By keeping your logos consistent across all of your platforms it will increase your brand recognition. After collecting all of your high-quality photos and logos to create your online presence, it’s smart to save them all together somewhere so that you have a source for content later as well.

 Sizing for Photos

When creating your online presence, make sure that your platforms are uniform and appealing to the consumer. Incorrect sizing can easily mess up the look of your photos. Whether it is your cover photo on Facebook or an Instagram photo, it is important that you use the appropriate size and dimensions, or your page could look unprofessional. For an easy guide on what dimensions you need to use on certain platforms, click here.

Add Updated Contact Info

If a customer wants to contact you and can’t find the correct information, it could quickly lead to bad PR. To avoid potential bad publicity, it is necessary to add a link to your website, as well as your correct phone number and address to your online accounts so that customers can reach you. By adding your contact information, you are able to openly communicate with your customers and hopefully strengthen the connection between your company and its customers.

Establish your Business

A good way to establish your business online is by claiming your business on Yelp as well as setting up a Google My Business account. While there are many benefits to claiming your business, the biggest one for growing your online presence is that it improves your search engine optimization (SEO). Your company will show up when searched for and potentially when someone searches by your location. By setting up an account for Google My Business, you verify your business information, help customers find you, as well as continue to tell the story of your business.

Ask for Reviews

Last but definitely not least, growing a positive image for your brand online is necessary. While people may find your product interesting and want to try it, many consumers go to your website, Yelp or other review pages to find out what others think of you. This is why it is important to reach out to loyal customers and ask them to leave a review. This extra bit of work may end up being what makes a person decide to support you or not. In a constantly changing online world, people expect to know if they can trust a company prior to buying from them. By asking your loyal customers for reviews, it ensures that your business is receiving positive and sincere reviews that can help your brand.

Start with these tips and you’ll have a solid online foundation for your business. Hopefully, this article was helpful in leading you to create your online presence. If you need more help building and maintaining an online presence for your small business, we would love if you considered Alter Endeavors!