Using the power of internet and tapping social media is quite the norm for businesses and individuals. However in the world of search engines and social networking websites, that is easier said than done. Here is a look at the fundamentals of creating a solid foundation on which a sustainable online presence can be built upon.
Regular and Fresh Content
Businesses turning to blogs for promotion should remember that fresh content is the first step towards engaging users online. Firms and companies often start building blogs just because it is the norm to have one, and then forget about it a few months down the line.
While the blog address may be something to boast about on a business card, the lack of new content may very well tarnish the brand image. Users and businesses alike expect fresh content every time they visit a website and new content is a sign of continuous development.
Interactivity is another key aspect of building a solid online presence. A classic case of an Indian corporate honcho using social media to leverage brand presence is Mr. Anand Mahindra, Chairman and MD Mahindra Group of companies. He has more than 5 lakh followers on micro blogging site Twitter.
Besides sending tweets about milestones and achievements of the company, he often interacts with users and takes feedback. Recently a Twitter user going by the name Rakesh Kadam tweeted directly to him and said "parking structure outside your Nasik plant is an eyesore" He went the extra mile and even posted a picture Mahindra & Mahindra’s parking at its Nasik plant. Anand Mahindra was quick to interact with the user and replied "Will look into it…."
Technology has made it possible to send and post bot-like messages and computer generated replies. It is a refreshing sight to see individuals and companies being human and interacting with users.
Content gurus will go on and on about how their backdoor SEO techniques and keyword practices will take make a brand etched in the minds of netizens in India overnight. Without doubt, SEO techniques and keyword play indeed has a major bearing on the potential power of web based content. However it would be naive to assume that even page after page of boring content will develop a sustainable inflow of traffic.
Tricks and tweaks in content can very well be the short term boost that a company may want to accelerate its online presence. However in the long run it will need captivating content to engage with users.
For the uninitiated, this concept can be compared to that of a retail shop. A shop owner can lure in customers with big boards that say ‘60% off’. But if the deals inside the shop fail to live up to the promise, chances are that customers will walk away and refrain from returning even if the boards say ‘75% off’ next time.
Individuals and businesses alike should put in place filters and tread selectively when it comes to interacting with users and other brands online. A single misinformed tweet can tarnish the reputation of a politician while a poorly drafted blog post by a corporate giant can result in mockery of its PR resources.
How would it affect the brand image of a company if its CEO got into a verbal spat with a customer on Twitter? How would it affect the prospects of a politician if his misinformed rant on a blog went viral? The online community is quick to react and even quicker to share.
Whether it is something as miniscule as updating a LinkedIn status, interaction with users on social networking websites or something as critical as a media release via a company blog, operating filters based on defined guidelines are vital. For individuals, this may be as simple as deciding who to interact with and what to post. In the day of Twitter and Facebook, the age old saying of ‘Think before you speak’ has a new avatar – ‘Think before you tweet, think before you post’
There are quite a few other aspects in creating a sustainable online presence, but the 4 given above form the most important pillars, without which success will be hard to come by…