Online presence
Online presence

How to Create an Approachable Online Presence for Your Business

The pandemic drove home the point to business owners everywhere that a website and social media presence are non-negotiable necessities. Tens of millions of customers in the US alone went from never or rarely shopping online to shopping online all the time. While some will certainly go back to some in-person shopping, eCommerce is now a fixed part of the business landscape.

Of course, putting up a website or starting a Facebook business profile isn’t enough. To really secure new customers, you need an approachable online presence. Not sure how you should go about that?

Keep reading for some key factors to keep in mind as you build your online presence.

Website Design

Your website design and functionality will do a lot in terms of how approachable customers find your presence. Think back to the last time you went to a business website thinking that you would probably buy something and then didn’t. What things drove that decision?

Customers expect a smooth experience with the user interface. Everything that disrupts that user experience makes your business seem, on some level, indifferent to customers. Here are key factors to watch out for as you build.

Navigation

What things do you expect will prove easy to find on a website? Are those things easy to find on your website? Your navigation options should offer easy access to high-traffic information like contact pages, about us, and FAQs. It should also make finding the service or product visitors want a simple affair.

Think of it as improving usability for your current and future customers.

Not sure how best to do that? Profession web development companies, such as innersparkcreative web development, can help you.

Speed

Your site load speed is a key factor in whether customers stay or leave. If it takes too long, your bounce rate goes up.

You can take steps that improve speed by reducing image sizes, combining JavaScript and CSS files, and using asynchronous loading. These reduce bandwidth needs and HTTP requests, which improve load speeds.

Speed also plays a role in how your pages rank in search results. Search engines rank slower pages lower. Again, professional web developers can help you with these tasks if you don’t have the in-house talent to deal with them.

Consistency

Your website needs a consistent look-and-feel across all of its pages. That means a consistent header, logo, font selection, and layout. Any break in that consistency can give visitors pause, as it might make them think that they were redirected or ended up on a spoof site.

Social Media

Social media is another power player in terms of your online presence. Some businesses chase after every new social media site that comes along, but that’s a fool’s errand. There are too many sites serving too many demographics with different goals.

Keeping your online presence accessible means picking one or two of the social media sites that already serve your target market and dovetail with your brand. Once you pick them, you focus your efforts there.

Picking the Right Sites

Before you start creating profiles, you should investigate who really spends time on a given social media site.

A site like Reddit skews heavily toward young men. A site like Facebook leans toward women but hits all age groups. Everyone visits YouTube.

Once you narrow down which sites serve your target market, you must consider the kind of product or service you offer. Does it lend itself to pictures and videos? If not, sites like Instagram and Pinterest won’t do you much good without a lot of creative thinking.

Once you narrow down the available sites by users, your target market, and which ones support the kind of content you will produce, you’ll probably only have a few left. At that point, you pick the top one or two sites left.

User Engagement

Social media depends on user engagement. You can’t post once a year and expect that customers will flock to your social media profiles. You must post regularly on each site so followers have something to engage with either by liking, sharing, or commenting.

Of course, user engagement goes beyond that. You must also respond, at least some of the time, to the comments your followers make. That’s the social element of social media.

That kind of engagement can produce surprisingly useful information about your product or service from the end user’s perspective. The golden rule is that you must always keep these interactions civil. Lose your cool on social media, and it can spread across the Internet long before you can do damage control.

Content

Good content doesn’t happen by accident. You need a plan. Your plan should always begin by considering the target audience.

That target audience will determine a lot of things ranging from tone to the technical depth of your content. Let’s say you provide advanced financial services for an upper-middle-class target market. Your content will skew toward a highly professional tone and probably employ some jargon.

What if you sell off-color t-shirts targeted at college students? Then your tone will head toward the offbeat and even borderline offensive.

Your ideal customer determines what kind of content makes you approachable.

You must also decide what kind of content you’ll produce. Will you lean into visual ads, blogging, micro-blogging, or video? Knowing which you’ll do will give you a better sense of how long each piece of content will take to produce.

That, in turn, lets you create a content schedule that ensures you keep engaging with your customers.

Building Your Approachable Online Presence

When it comes to your online presence, start with your website. It’s the central hub of your online presence. Do everything you can on the site to improve its usability.

Social media is important, but it’s just as important to get it right. Do your research and pick a site that serves your target market and leans into your strengths. Remember, you must actually engage on social media.

Get clear on your content strategy so your content appeals to the right audience.

Looking for more online tips for your business? Check out the posts in our Tech and Business sections.