Nowadays having an online presence is a given for most businesses. There are more than 3.58 billion internet users worldwide and this figure is only set to increase.
Having an online presence offers your business a whole range of opportunities including selling and promoting your products/services, building relationships with customers, establishing your brand, and much more.
However, to get it right and take full advantage of these opportunities, a business must be serious about its online presence and put in the required effort and resources. Any half-hearted attempts could end up doing more harm than good. Let’s look at the most common mistakes that businesses make with their online presence and how to avoid them, regardless of the size of your company.
Poor social media presence
Businesses are often encouraged to create accounts on all the major social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, Pinterest and others as this can help improve their website’s rankings. However, if they then just post the same boring marketing material across each platform, or leave some neglected then this is not going to have the desired effect.
Of course, the more social media presence you have, the better. However, it is better to use one platform well and master it than try to cover all fronts at the same time with mediocre content your followers don’t want to read. When creating content for social media try to make sure it is relevant, engaging and gives value. Look to build rapport with your followers and adopt a style that goes with the business’s brand.
Slow, unresponsive website
You could have the slickest, most amazing website ever, but if it takes a lifetime to load then people simply aren’t going to stick around long enough to find out. According to research by Kissmetrics, 40% people of people will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. There are many reasons why a website would take that long to load, but it’s often due to a sudden increase in popularity: When website traffic has increased to the point that its server can no longer manage effectively, it’s going to start loading slowly, even if it’s been otherwise optimized. One solution is to implement load balancing, a technology that helps disperse the traffic load across multiple servers and ensure that websites remain live and accessible.
If the quality of your content is low, then people will simply believe the quality of your products or services will be equally low. Pixelated images, amateur videos or unedited, rushed copy will not make the grade. Make sure the content is high quality and relevant to both your brand and target audience. According to an article on Forbes, two or three posts a week on company blogs are enough – and certainly better than more frequent lower-quality posts. Make sure you respect your readers’ time and they’ll respond with more attention and more respect for your brand.
Not updating your website
The information on your website, not only your blog and social media, needs to be up-to-date. This could be information on pricing, products, services or contact information. Equally important is keeping the design and aesthetics of the website up-to-date. It’s easy to get used to the format or design of a website, without realizing it’s coming across as old fashioned to new viewers.
Not responding to comments/reviews
Now it may get to the point where responding to all comments is simply not possible. However, when someone has a genuine interest in or question about your business it’s always best to respond. Customer reviews should always be responded to, even if it’s a simple “thank you” for a positive review. Look to find solutions for customers with negative reviews, even if it’s a customer just being difficult, it looks good to potential new customers who may be reading.
It seems that many of the above points are common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many companies don’t take them into account. That, however, also constitutes an opportunity: if your local or general competitors aren’t doing things right, you can appeal to their customers by improving your online presence.