Establishing an Online Presence – Tips from the CWCC

By Lauren Hogan, CWCC Social Media & Communications Intern, spring 2012

Each month at the Chamber we receive compelling article submissions from our members who are leaders and experts in different facets of business. Establishing an Online Presence is the topic we’ve been talking, tweeting and writing about this month.  In that spirit, this article will get you started and provide you with additional resources from our well-rounded membership.

Marketing to the masses used to be a privilege granted to big companies who hired marketing firms to reach their target audience. Today we find ourselves in the midst of the evolution of online marketing. Facebook and Twitter, the largest social media sites, when used effectively, allow you and your business to reach out to hundreds if not thousands of customers and prospective customers.

The first step in starting your campaign begins with a cohesive content strategy. Choose your message and make sure that across all platforms it remains constant with what you or your business is trying to say.  Your next step begins with knowing who to target with your message. Unfortunately “everyone” is not the answer that will get you what you are looking for. Determine the appropriate demographic using industry trends, statistics and analytics.

Now for the fun part: using your social media tools. After you create a business page on Facebook or an account on Twitter, you are going to need likes and followers. To create the most effective Facebook page, there are free tools just a click away.  On your Facebook wall click edit page, choose the resource tab or icon and go to “Best practices guide to make your Page engaging.” Here you will find information to help you with advertising, developing your page and social plugins that allow you to add a like button. On Twitter you want to attract influencers.  Influencers are not just people with a large following. You are looking for people who engage in conversations or have a strong connection within the industry of your choice. You want to follow and be followed by people who will help you to join in on the conversation. Using these tools, a business or individual can market themselves to create hype for a launch or increase their visibility.

From this point on engagement is up to you. Build a community or use cross platform promotion or both. Add a blog, create a Foursquare account for your office or build a LinkedIn group.

Personally, I use the mantra “engage and listen”. Reach out to others and promote your brand; but remember listening to feedback, good or bad, goes a long way. Now get out there and establish your presence.

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