A Quick Primer: 3 Baby Steps You Can Take to Place Your Business Online : As a business owner you may be skeptical of handing money to “digital gurus” who promise you likes and follows with no solid ROI figures. The good news is that you don’t need a guru to test the waters. With a sensible mind and a conservative approach, you can take the necessary steps that will introduce your business to the online world.
Step #1: A responsive website
One of the quickest ways that high-tier consumers with internet access can find your business is by finding it online. Whether this is in the form of a free blog or a cheap R10 per month hosting service, you are literally 3 days away from owning your own site.
Of course, many of us are not technologically inclined! The good news is that you can pay other people to design, host and create e-mail addresses for your entire site. We are not talking exorbitant agency costs but simple online businesses that can have the site built (with hosting) for around R1650. Problem solved. Remember to make sure your site is designed as responsive, which simply means that it needs to be able to be viewed when users try to access it from the internet connection on their mobile phones.
Step #2: Twitter
Before taking on the responsibility of designing images, video and text for a social media channel, take your first baby step by starting a Twitter account. If you are the owner of a business, the profile should include your name as everyday consumers want to know that they are following a real person.
While you may be afraid that you will have five whole followers on your account, including your mom and dad, Twitter has solved this problem long ago. If you have a Gmail account, there is an option to invite your business acquaintances, friends, and family to join your Twitter network.
After inviting those you know, go into your databases, and find the e-mail addresses of clients you have dealt with previously. Send them an e-mail thanking them for their service and encouraging them to follow you on Twitter. You can include this message in your next letter as well. Remember to also add your Twitter handle (username e.g. @inforocked) to your signs, promotional material and business cards as well as your e-mail signatures (with links that e-mail recipients can click on).
Step #3: Google+
By creating a Google+ profile, you will be helping your new website gain ranking in the Google search engine, which simply means that when people search online for your business name or for services that your business does e.g. “Pool Cleaning”, your business website will appear before others. The higher the ranking, the closer you are to the prime spot, the first result on Google on the first page. Naturally, users don’t want to click through to page 20 of the search results that they receive on Google, so the closer you are to the top results on the first page, the better!
Back to Google+. Google+ is a content sharing platform that functions a bit like Twitter. Instead of followers, people add each other to circles. If I like the content my friend Joe adds to his page, then I can add him into my circle to be closer to his content. I can also +1 his content, which means that I recommend or like it. If people like your content then they will add you to their circles or +1 your content making you and your business more popular. You can also add videos and images and web addresses to sites you like.
Google+ is a valuable tool to get ranking (your website appearing higher up in search results), especially if you are listed as an author or content provider that is real, live and breathing. You see, Google was pretty fed up of people creating thousands of fake sites, stuffed with keywords, so that they would seem more powerful to the search engine and rank higher. Today Google ranks content that has a real author attached to it (like yourself!), especially one that has a Google+ profile and lets Google know that s/she is an original content producer for his or her website.