6 Easy Ways to get Your Business Online

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Whether you’re starting a new business or working to build up an existing one, if you don’t have a presence online you’re missing out on the 3 billion people who are online everyday. Why would you want to do that?!

What does an online presence do for you?

Apart from helping you reach these 3 billion people, an online presence can:

  • give you a way to connect with your customers;
  • help you reach your customers where they are, at the time they are ready to be reached;
  • give you a way to advertise your products and services;
  • open you up to a worldwide audience;
  • allow you to stay open 24/7;
  • help people contact you and ask questions;
  • give you a way to showcase your expertise, and establish you as an authority in your field.

So, now you’re convinced you need to be online asap, but you’re afraid it’s too technical, or you’re not sure where to start, or you think you don’t have time, or <insert your own excuse here> 😉

Never fear we’ve got a list of 6 easy ways you can get online, and connecting yourself with more customers, pronto!

1. BLOG

Why have one?

  • A blog gives you a place to share ideas, designs, DIYs, etc, and gives you a way to interact with your audience on these.
  • It provides a regular source of fresh content for your site, and fresh, relevant content is a big boost to how well you do in search results.
  • It’s also one of the key ways to establish yourself as an expert/leader in your field.

Getting started:

  • Your blog can be part of your site (especially if using a tool like WordPress, which started out as a blogging platform, but is now used for full-blown websites by millions of companies around the world) or you can link to it from your site. Just make it really easy for people to find it.
  • Set yourself up a free account on WordPress or Blogger.
  • Set yourself a doable schedule. This can grow over time, but you want to find the balance between enough (to keep things fresh and useful for your audience) and overwhelm (If you try to do it too often you will end up not doing it at all.  And remember your audience doesn’t have all day to be reading your bloggy goodness, so to start with consistent less is always more.).
  • Use quality images, that you own or have permission to use.
  • Engage with those who leave comments.
  • Share your posts on the social media site/s where your audience hangs out.

2. FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE

Why have one?

  • A lot of your customers will be there too (ahem, 1.39 Billion people are on Facebook, each month).  If your particular customers are there you should be too.
  • It’s a good way for your customers to share your product and services with their friends (making them trusted referrals).
  • Facebook gives you access to a huge amount of data about your customers, allowing you to get really specific with targeted advertising.
  • You’ll probably find it an easy platform to use, since you most likely use it yourself already (1.39 billion/month probably includes you).

Getting started:

  • Engage with the people who engage with you.
  • Use your page to share inspiration, ask questions, get feedback, & give value to the people who ‘Like’ you.
  • ‘Like’ pages in your industry, or areas that interest you.
  • Be real and authentic with your audience. This is about building a relationship, not about the hard sell (save that for your website).
  • Share other people’s information, just like you’d want them to share yours.

Things to look out for:

  • You don’t own the content you put on Facebook.
  • They can change their rules at any time, and they are strict about enforcing them.  So you need to stay up with what’s what. (Follow savvy Facebook Ninja’s like Amy Porterfield, to keep up with changes, and understand their implications for your business.)
  • Use your Facebook page to get people back to homebase (your website when you have one), don’t rely on it staying just how it is now.

3. WEBSITE

Why have one?

A website is your own personal real estate. You own it and the content you’ll find there, so you don’t run the risk of logging in one day to find it all gone, or changed so dramatically it’s no longer working for you.

Consider this your home-base. All other online platforms should direct people back here. You’ll do your main selling here, but use the other mediums to bring people here.

So you might be thinking that a website isn’t all that easy & expensive to boot.  But you don’t have to start out with all the bells & whistles.  These days there is software that makes is relatively easy for you to get a simple site up and running without too much technical skill & cash.

And don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be the website you grow old with 😉  You can update and ‘spruce’ it up once you have more money, and you’re sure your idea is the one for you.  A simple site that gives people a way to contact you, and find out more about you, and a presence online, can be set up on a blogging platform, using pre-made templates.

SEE ALSO:  4 Ways to Grow Once Your Website's Live: Get an email list

Getting Started:

  • Don’t have the skills yourself? Hire someone to help you. (Google for experts in your area, or consider a service like Fiverr).
  • Create your own site using an online website builder (WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, etc).

4. INSTAGRAM

Why have one?

  • Instagram is a casual, visual way to engage with people.  And as we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • It allows people to get to know the person behind the brand, so is great for putting a human face on your business.
  • Again, use this platform to build relationships, and add value to people, rather blatantly pushing products. So when people need your product or service they choose you, someone they already know, like & trust.
  • Instagram easily fits into the flow of your day.  You just take a photo, add a description, and post it.

Getting started:

  • Download the app.
  • Choose a username (could be personal or business).
  • In the description link back to your blog or website (About Us, Home, etc).
  • Start taking pictures.
  • Follow people/brands you like
  • Look at the people they follow and follow likewise.
  • Like a high percentage of the images you see in your feed, but genuinely like them.
  • Comment on a couple of goodies per day, answer questions, generally interact with people.
  • Think about linking your Facebook account, and options like pulling photos from your Instagram account into your website. So people who visit your various platforms can keep up with what you’re up to.  (Remember, not every person in your audience will be following your every platform, nor will they all see all your content.  But, some will, so think about what you’re cross posting.)

5. PINTEREST

Why have one:

  • For products and services that lend themselves to visuals Pinterest is increasingly a huge driver of traffic for businesses.
  • It’s a fun, interesting platform, that again, chances are you’re already using.
  • It’s a really visual way for people to engage with you, and get to know your products & services.  Plus to share them with their friends.
  • You can use it in different ways, depending on your type of business.  For example, you could pin a picture of all your products, creating an online product catalogue.  You could use secret boards for planning & design with clients. Etc.
  • There are 44.5 million people on Pinterest.

Getting Started

  • Create a business account (this gives you extra useful things like stats, etc).
  • Create some relevant boards (industry, interest, topic related).
  • Follow people.
  • Pin, like & comment.

Things to look out for:

  • Copyright infringements.
  • Always credit the source. (Be careful when pinning from sites like Tumblr, as these pins often don’t have the source correctly identified.)

6. TWITTER

Why have one:

  • Twitter is a good way to engage with others in your niche & to keep up with what’s going on it.
  • It’s also a great way to build relationships with potential colleagues, and meet people in your niche that you might not come in contact with otherwise.
  • It provides another way for you to get feedback, or keep your customers updated with what’s happening (ie: is there a problem that your customers should be aware of, etc)

Getting started:

  • Sign up for an account.
  • Lurk about for a while so you get a feel for how things work, how people interact, and the kinds of things that are being shared in your niche.
  • Engage with people when you have something to contribute, retweet to share what other people are sharing, and generally interact in a natural, genuine way.

Things to look out for:

  • Don’t hog the conversation.
  • This is a relationship, don’t let it be all about yourself.

So, what do you think?

Is there something there for you?  Think about your customers & where they hang out, and then go play with them there!  Think about how you are most comfortable and effective interacting with people & choose the platform that suits that best.

Some final things to note:

  • Have fun.
  • Learn as much as you can.
  • Share what you learn.
  • Be generous.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others, everyone is different, and at different place in their business journey.
  • However, still look at what others are doing, and work out how you could use what they’re doing in our own unique way.
  • Be yourself.
  • Make a unique contribution.
  • Just because other people are doing the thing you love doesn’t mean you can’t too. Just find a way do it differently, put your spin on it.  As Marie Forleo always says, “The world needs that special something that only you can give.”

So, which one did you choose? Let me know in the comments below.

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