Web presence is, in a nutshell, the combination of everything online that has to do with you.
Your web presence includes:
- Killer websites
- Email campaigns
- Social media networks and
- Your online content, including photos, videos, posts, status updates and more
It also includes intangibles such as your online reputation, reach (how many people your networks include) and influence (whether what you do causes change), which can be measured to some degree by sites like Klout.
When do You Need a Web Presence?
Well, truth be told, you probably already have a web presence. If you are reading this, you probably have a website and maybe even a blog. COLIBRI would be surprised if you didn’t have profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and maybe even YouTube. (Heck, let’s get crazy. Maybe you have a Twitter account.)
Even if you don’t want a web presence, chances are you have one. This is because, most likely, someone, somewhere, has mentioned you on the web.
So, yes, you need a web presence and you need it now.
More important, even, than whether you need a web presence is figuring out how to manage the one you have, and how much time and energy you can put into making it better.
What Makes Web Presence Great?
Questions you might want to ask yourself include:
- Do you have a positive web presence?
- If you are running a business, is your web presence strategic or is it just happening by accident, on its own?
- What could make your web presence better?
- What could make it worse?
The baseline of web presence is a killer website. A website is like a business card because it creates a sense of legitimacy (Uh-oh, that was a big word! It means people can take you seriously) and professionalism.
Depending on how you do business, the site can be as simple as an online brochure letting people know what your services or products are, how they can get them, and where you are located.
For most people and businesses, having profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook is a good idea. Having a basic web presence establishes professionalism, as COLIBRI mentioned, and provides networking opportunities.
If web presence is important to you, you will make it a point to be easily found on the web (COLIBRI won’t cover search engine optimization here, but know that it is an important part of web presence and Google it). Great web presence includes maintaining a blog and developing an audience with whom you can interact.
However far you go, here are some important elements to keep in mind:
- Professionalism: Make sure that everything you put on the web is well-designed and free from errors.
- User friendly: Check your website and other assets for clarity and usability. Don’t make using your site or other online assets a chore.
- Specific to target market: Your web presence will begin to approach truly great when you keep your customer in mind and tailor your web presence to what he or she needs and wants.
- Communication: You will start to go pro when you use your web presence for communication. This means that you listen to what people are saying on your social networks and your blog(s). COLIBRI will be extra impressed when you make it a point to respond to the audience you are developing.
- Providing value: The true key to great web presence is providing value. Although it’s tempting to think the web is all about you, successful businesses understand that the web is about the customer and they provide online content that is useful and compelling for people who might want to use their products or services.
How to Create Web Presence
As COLIBRI hinted, above, web presence is created through having and developing well designed and truly useful or entertaining:
- Email campaigns
- Social networks
- Online content (videos, posts, infographics, white papers and more)
It is also developed by interacting with people online. Interacting online means listening to people and responding to them. Your response can be direct, such as tweeting back when someone tweets you. Your response can also be indirect, such as improving your products or services based on what people in your network are saying.
Learn by Doing
COLIBRI has said this many times, but it’s true and doesn’t seem like it will change anytime soon: the web is a great place to be creative. Start by asking yourself how beautiful and functional your web presence can be.
Figure out how unusual you can be. The web is a great place for innovation. Don’t be afraid to dream.
And, while you’re considering strategy, start learning by doing. Get on the web and play because you can’t win if you don’t play.
Next week COLIBRI will cover networking. In the meantime, give us your thoughts on web presence.