Some years back, not all individuals or organizations really found it needful to have an image or activity online. This was because they still managed to achieve their goals without it. Hence the last phrase to find in their vision plan was online presence, lest online presence management.
However, in recent years, having an online presence has become key in excelling as a professional or business. With 97% of consumers using internet search to find businesses, it is expedient for you to be present online to succeed.
In fact, in our day, whether you choose to do it or not, it is likely to have your brand showing up somewhere on the internet. 9 out of 10 times, brands are having online presence whether or not they are conscious of it. This is because even if you don’t deliberately create something for yourself or your business, some people could be talking about your brand somewhere on the internet.
This is why you don’t only focus on how to create online presence, or how to increase your followers online. Learning how to properly manage your online presence is also very crucial to establish a strong brand online.
What is Online Presence Management?
Online presence management is the process of managing an individual or organization’s online identity, including their web presence and social media accounts. It includes activities like defining, developing, and maintaining a website, managing social media accounts, and maintaining a blog or other online content, and managing public interactions.
Online presence management influences the longevity and sustenance of your online presence and ensure that you keep the clients you attract.
What is the Purpose of Online Presence Management?
Having an online presence comes with many benefits for any person or business. Paramount among them are:
- Accessibility of your business
- Wider audience
- Increased brand awareness
- Credibility of brand
- Increased publicity of products and services
- Ease in building relationships with audience
The good news is that when you properly manage your online presence, all these benefits won’t be transient, but you will be able to enjoy them for a long time, or even forever.
The goal of online presence management is to ensure that an organization or individual communicates their core message to their target audience, develops a strong relationship with them, and maintains a positive digital reputation.
This leads to an increase in your number of followers and clients, resulting in revenue increase in the long term.
Components of Online Presence Management
A professional or business’s online presence basically comprises their website, social media pages and any other way they are seen or identified online. So for us to say a person or an organisation has online presence, it means they are making use of one or more of these channels.
Let’s take a look at some of the major channels and activities being used and managed by many individual brands and organisations to establish their online presence:
Website Creation and Management
Web design and development is the process of designing a website so that its content works well on various devices, including desktop computers, tablets and smartphones. This ensures that the website’s information can be easily accessed, making your brand more visible.
Creating and managing a website involves various activities such as audience research. keyword research, creation of website content. setting up analytics and measuring performance of site. You can find out more here.
Web designers also use HTML codes to create unique layouts and images. The general look and feel of the website is also important in connecting to readers and clients.
Whether you’re a professional, a coach, a business person or whatever you do, a website can be very effective in helping you establish your online presence.
According to Wikipedia, “Social media are interactive technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, interests, and other forms of expression through virtual communities and networks.” They are internet-based. Examples are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Social Media Marketing is one of the most popular channels in Online Presence Management. It refers to using social media to promote a product, service or brand of business or a person.
It can be used to achieve a number of objectives for both businesses and professionals, from raising awareness about an organization or product, to promoting a service or event.
Social media is also an ideal channel for businesses and professionals to engage with their current and potential customers on a daily basis – not just through posts but also through direct outreaches.
Nonetheless, to make the most of social media, one must ensure that he follows key social media dos and don’ts when using them to promote a brand.
Content Marketing is the process of content development and distribution. It is used to attract customers, build trust, inform potential buyers about products or services, establish thought leadership in a niche market and drive web traffic.
Content marketing produces many benefits for professional brands and businesses when executed well.
The most important aspect of content creation is to ensure that it has a focus on quality and it remains relevant for as long as possible.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of improving website visibility in search engines. The goal is to create content that will rank higher than other sites on search results pages.
There are two main ways to achieve this: Search engine optimization and search engine marketing. The difference between the two is that SEO focuses on helping users find content, whereas SEM includes paid ads in search results.
As defined by Mailchimp, Email marketing is the use of email within your marketing efforts to promote a business’s products and services, as well as incentivize customer loyalty.
It is a form of marketing that can make the customers on your email list aware of new products, discounts, and other services.
Online presence management in a digital world also includes the use of paid advertising. Paid advertisements have been around for centuries, but the digital age has made it easier to reach a broader audience.
Paid advertising means that you are paying for exposure. For example, with Google Ads, you will be charged based on the number of impressions (total number of times your ad is seen) and click-through rate (percentage of people who saw your ad and clicked on it).
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer various ways to showcase a brand or organization’s message through paid means.
Link building is strategically creating and distributing links to your website.
Links are an important part of online presence because they can help improve rankings, visibility, and conversion rates in search engine result pages (SERPS).
Some ways to build links are by using online communities, guest blogging, and link swapping.
Reputation Management is a very important component of online presence management. It means ensuring that wherever your company is mentioned online, it’s in a positive way. And if it is negative, it is responded to as soon as possible to prevent your brand or business from gaining any bad reputation.
There should be a system in place to find anyone who mentions you or your business on any popular social media sites, customer review sites or any place on the internet. A good reputation helps build good relationships with one’s audience and also leads to a lot of recommendations.
How do I Manage Online Presence Effectively?
So you could be wondering:
Looking at all the diverse parts that comprise online presence, how do I keep the pieces together running smoothly and effectively?
How do I manage my online presence?
As a professional or a business, how can I make the most from the internet?
I strongly believe you cannot really manage things properly if you didn’t know how to even create it well right from the beginning. Understanding the basics of online presence building go a long way in influencing its management.
Whether you have only a website or social media pages or doing email marketing, paid advertising or any activity to establish an online presence, these management tips can be helpful.
1. Define Your Audience
To properly manage your online presence, you must first know the people who are the reason for that presence. Who are you online for? Who you are going to communicate with? Knowing your potential audience will guide you on how to communicate and execute your marketing strategy.
To define your audience, you must think of the possible demographics and psychographics your potential audience could have. Demographics include age, gender, location, job description, marital status and the like. Psychographics include their interests, opinions, pain points, personality and values.
These outlined characteristics should be used to create groups within the target audience which will lead to the creation of personas. A target persona, as defined by Charlotte Thorp, is “a profile of someone who represents a key member of one of your target audience groups.”
These personas become representations of the ideal people you’ll engage with online. So you’re always guided in your interactions with them. You can use the free Semrush persona tool to help you create your buyer personas.
2. Define Your Message
After knowing who you’re online for, the next is: What do you have for them? What message do you want to communicate to them? Clearly define the core message you want your brand to communicate and tune it to suit your target audience.
If you’re not clear on your own message, how well will your audience be able to grasp it? After being specific about what you want to send to your audience, you should also break them down into topics or absorbable pieces.
Having a clear-cut message will guide all the subjects for discussions and information dissemination, help set expectations and prevent any misunderstandings.
3. Create a Style Guide for Communication
In managing your online presence, you should also know how you would want to communicate; how you would want to present yourself and your message. What unique characteristics do you want to be identified with your message in relation to your brand?
One of the best ways to achieve this is to prepare a style guide that would guide you to make all your accounts and online platforms easily distinguishable. Just the sight of your online platform or a post from you and people will easily associate it with your brand.
Some of the things you can consider are:
- The spelling of the brand name
- Colours and fonts associated with your brand
- The tone of voice for messages (should it be relaxed or serious, should it be interspersed with humour or straight to the point)
For example, our virtual assistant company has a unique way of spelling our brand name, that is, eJobsAfrica. As you can see, the capital and small letters have been arranged in a certain style. And this style goes for all platforms and messages we disseminate.
Your planned style guide could be kept in a brand book for your personal brand or your business.
4. Design a Content Calendar to Guide your Post Frequency
Aside knowing who, what and how to communicate, you should also know how often you want to communicate. You should have a laid-out plan to regulate the frequency of your communication and activities online. A calendar will help you achieve this.
One important thing to note is that each platform functions differently, and the people who patronise these platforms have particular times they’re available there. So it is expedient to plan things well in order to effectively reach them.
Also, having a calendar to guide your interactions will help you to be consistent with your posts. We’ll talk more about consistency under the next point.
5. Be Relentless and Stay Consistent
Keeping your consistency online is hard work. But it is so valuable to your online presence that you must achieve it at all cost. In a post on the Inc. website, John Boitnott outlined some key benefits of consistency of content to a brand as follows:
- Authority and credibility
- Brand awareness
- Audience engagement
- Lead generation
- Improvement in website traffic and SEO
As seen from the previous point, having a content calendar helps in this regard. However, it is not enough.
The calendar is just a guide, but you still need to go according to it and take action. That means, discipline is key here. You must resolve to be relentless and not allow any distractions that will lead to unnecessary breaks in post schedules.
So do well to go according to your calendar, and make your posts continuous and consistent. This in turn will increase your engagement and trigger the algorithms of online platforms for you to gain more organic traffic and exposure.
6. Be Interactive with Your Audience
Your relationship with your audience shouldn’t be broken at any point in time. This is because they are the major reason for your online presence. You want to be known by them, to connect to them, convert them and retain them forever.
We mostly keep interaction with our audience through owned media which we create ourselves and paid media which we generate by paying to some online platforms to promote our content.
But there is also earned media which refers to the content other people are creating in connection to your brand. It includes shares of your content, enquiries and comments on your online platforms, and customer reviews. Being interactive with your audience in this aspect is also key.
For you to properly manage your online presence, you should be able to track what other people are saying about your brand and react to them. Whether it is positive or negative, responding to your audience makes them feel acknowledged and sustains their relationship with you.
A negative sentiment expressed in a mention or comment but not attended to could spoil your brand’s reputation. And when trust in your brand is lost, revenue is lost with it.
So do everything possible to stay interactive with your audience.
7. Bring the Best out of Each Channel or Aspect
You must make use of all available channels. Aside from executing the previous tips, know what goes into whichever channel you decide to employ.
Each of these operates differently, so you must know how best to use that particular platform or procedure to effectively manage your online presence.
For example, your website must be modern and attractive. You must also execute your SEO with current trends in mind. With content creation, you must understand which type of content is fit for each platform and the various levels of the customer’s journey.
You should optimize your social media pages well. With Emails, ensure that your email signature includes a link back to your website. These are just to mention a few.
However, do make sure you stick to what you can easily handle. Having a lot of platforms not well managed won’t give a good image to your brand. So it’s better to have a few you can easily manage than a lot that overwhelms you.
8. Track and Measure Results
After doing all that has to be done, it is needful to know how effective the steps have been. You need to track and measure the results being generated from every activity you’re doing and every platform you’re on.
This will serve as a guide to let you know the activities which are really being productive so that you can focus on them and do more of them. It will also help you discover what you’re not doing right or what is not yielding enough results so that you make changes in it and relaunch or you abort it totally.
As a professional or business, tracking and measuring results will help ensure that what you do online will serve their intended purpose and help you fulfil your vision. It will help you sustain your online presence and help your brand remain relevant for a very long time.
9. Make Use of Online Presence Management Tools
At this point someone might be asking: so will I be able to do all these manually?
Can I really do all these myself?
The good news is you don’t need to do these manually, and you don’t have to do everything yourself. That is why I’ll be throwing light on online presence management tools and outsourcing of services here and under the next point.
For example, there is the HubSpot Persona Tool to help you create your target personas, Outranking.io to help with your content and Brand24 to help you track mentions of your brand and respond to them.
There is also Google Analytics to help you track results on your website and Hootsuite to help you with your social media; just to mention a few. There are more of such tools to discover and use for your work.
10. Outsource Online Presence Management Services
The reality is, you can’t manage your online presence all by yourself. The scope is so vast hence it is too huge a task to manage everything on your own.
Even if you have all the needful tools at your disposal, there is no way you can have all the time and requisite skills to manage all the various aspects of your online presence. Also, these tools are very expensive to purchase.
So it is helpful for you to outsource your online presence management services to experts such as virtual assistants. It will help you save time and money, and you will prevent a lot of stress.
You can scout for experts for each of the various aspects and assign tasks to them.
Better still, you can also outsource to an online presence management company. These agencies have dedicated digital professionals to handle all your tasks for you. One of such companies is eJobsAfrica.
eJobsAfrica: Your No. 1 Online Presence Management Company
eJobsAfrica is a virtual assistant company that is also into online presence management. We’re made up of a group of certified digital professionals who understand the nitty-gritty of online presence management. Above all, they are fully dedicated to work.
We have experts in website development, social media, content creation, search engine optimization and all other components of online presence.
At eJobsAfrica, quality is assured and your work will be fully executed with premium tools without you having to purchase them for yourself or your business. Find out more here and you will be glad you did!