With the most bizarre six-months just under our belt, there’s no doubt about it, the world feels more than a little… strange. And that goes for the online as well as offline world. So, just like you may be taking time to make sure your body and mind are in good shape right now, it’s also important to give your businesses’ online presence a little “me time”.

Have you tried Googling your business recently using search terms your customers might use (who’d ever think of doing that?!). Do you like what you see? Are you showing up in a similar place to where you thought you’d be or has the world moved on?

Two specific things have meant big online changes to SMEs. Firstly, a lot of smaller businesses made a transition to the online world recently; more than would otherwise have done if there had been a more traditional face-to-face marketplace for them. This disrupted the playing field by flooding it with new players. Secondly, many businesses really eased off their online activities as belts had to, understandably, tighten. This also had an obvious impact on how individual businesses fared online.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to help get your business to standout online online and the key is identifying them and dedicating the time to see them through.

Some time spent now will be well worth the investment going forward.

So what tips are there for gaining prominence online?

To begin with, there are three key areas that every SME wanting to shine online should take a look at…

1. Keep your website looking alive

When did you last write a blog or update any of the content on your homepage? Regular activity on a website is a really good thing. It makes your business look alive and healthy…and it helps you climb organic search rankings… Simple!

It’s surprising how quickly the information on a site can date. The main culprits being pages like “Meet the Team” and even lists of products and services. If your site doesn’t represent what you are currently offering your customers, it’s not doing its job. And don’t even get me started on broken links…

2. On-line now means so much more than search engines

There are a good 20+ social media channels you can choose for your business to be a part of, with new ones gaining popularity all the time. Take some time to look at what’s out there and then choose carefully and selectively for your business. When making this decision, it’s crucial to consider which form of media your customers are most likely to engage with.

Facebook is still a leviathan in this world, but it’s now a very traditional form of social media compared to some of the quirkier new players… if that’s a good fit with your desired customer base, then great. There are a multitude of features and strengths out there, for example, Instagram is a beautiful haven of dreamy images and unique hashtag opportunities, Twitter is THE HOME for breaking stories (and also a place where customer service issues are dealt with in a very public way), LinkedIn is super strong for careers and recruitment…

Don’t take on too much though! Any form of social media you adopt is going to need regular content posting. Adopting 1-3 forms of social media, and doing them really well, will stand you in good stead. And if you are already doing social media, take the time to have a quick audit to see if what you’ve chosen is still working – consider trimming the channels down if need be.

3. Use your platforms to the best of their ability

Anywhere you choose to showcase your business online represents your brand, so whether it’s Apple Maps, Yell.com, social media or a Google offering… do it justice. When investing time in a digital or social media platform, make sure you use all the features at your disposal. Fill in every bit of detail in information sections, check your business description for typos, have you put yourself in the correct business category? One that always surprises me is how easy it is to put yourself in the wrong country on certain platforms… so check that you put Windsor UK, not the one in Ontario, Canada as there are obvious ramifications…

It’s impossible to know what’s going to get picked up by all the complex algorithms crawling around online giving prominence to some websites and posts, and not others. But, you stand a far better chance of standing out online if you put out the maximum amount of (correct) content.

Final thoughts

Some say that it’s better to not be online at all rather than to do it badly. I think there’s some truth in that; but your business would be missing out on some incredible opportunities. The world is still a fair bit away from ‘normal’ and so online will continue to offer a valuable lifeline to businesses and consumers that cannot otherwise be reached. Give the online side of your business the attention it deserves.

Feeling like you need a bit of help to get started?

If you think you could do with a helping hand to get your business’s online presence boosted, why not take advantage of Ocean Associates Marketing’s Online and digital health check offer for just £99. We’ll assess what you are currently doing online, give you valuable feedback and recommend steps you can take to improve your online presence. Then you can take the plunge and get your business out there, better than ever before. Contact us for more information.