How To Level Up Your Online Presence
Face to face in the real world, it’s fairly easy for people to get a feel for what it’d be like to work with you. But online, it’s harder to get the full picture of who you really are and what you’re like. And if you don’t have any presence online at all, it can be a red flag for someone who might not think you’re not a legitimate business because they Googled you, and the only thing that came up was your Xanga page from 7th grade (yiiiiiiikes!). So start here if you’re looking for a way to look more professional online, level up your online presence or maybe even just get started with the basics.
Invest In A Legit Website
Do you even exist in Internetland if you don't have a website? Sure, social media accounts have become microsites for businesses. But that doesn't mean that they're a REPLACEMENT for a website. With a website you can control the information you're giving and how/when your visitors receive it. With a well thought out user experience, you can guide potential customers through learning more about your business, give them the info they'll need to make the sale, and prepare them to work with you (which can help take work off your plate — think frequently asked questions or inquiry forms). On social media accounts, you don't have control over how/where you put your information and since they're almost all based on a newsfeed model that means every post will eventually get lost in the feed as time goes by. Plus, with complicated algorithms you really don't have a say in how many people you're reaching without paying for ads.
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Set Up Social Media Accounts
On the flip side, once you've got your website up and running, you really should get your social media accounts set up as well. Your website makes you legit, but social media shows that you're around and active. To get started, pick just one or two platforms that A) you enjoy using — because you'll continuously need to keep adding new content and B) you believe your ideal customers use. And don’t get super overwhelmed because you don't know what to post. You really just want to give your audience an everyday look into what you're doing behind the scenes or what you would want to communicate to people who may be interested in working with you. That might be with a formal introduction, a post about one of your services, a picture of your previous work, an inspirational message, or even what you're up to this weekend.
Get An Email With Your Domain
Any Steve or Nancy can get a free gmail account, but you get serious street cred (or in this case, web cred) when you've got an email address with a custom domain. That's an email that looks like it comes from YOUR website. Something like this: firstname.lastname@example.org. It immediately looks like you’re a big wig and run a real business. And it's really not as hard as it sounds. If you're working on step #1, then you'll already be getting or already have a domain. You can usually get email through the same provider and they'll walk you through every step of setting it up. My personal favorite is GSuite and if you use Squarespace, like me and many of my clients, you can do all the setup through the backend of your site. Super easy!
Take Photos Of Yourself
This is one of the areas that I get lots of pushback from people because generally we hate pictures of ourselves. But when you're an entrepreneur running a business — you are the business! And it's important for people to see you in order to build trust. Listen, I'm as big of a hypocrite as everyone else. It took me years to finally put pictures of myself on my website and social media. But once I did, the level of business I was able to do and the inquiries that I got changed dramatically. People knew that if I was serious enough to have professional photos, then I was a serious business owner. When you're just starting out even selfies and phone pics are better than nothing. But when you get a bit more comfortable and have the budget, you can hire a photographer to do a custom shoot. Trust me, it's worth it!
How you present yourself online is the only way a lot of people will be able to get an impression of who you are and what you’re all about. Make sure you’re putting your best digital foot forward and keep showing the world how amazing you are.
Do you have a great online presence? What are some things you’re doing to help build it up?