5 Essential Online Brand Management Tips for Small Businesses

In today’s world, every business needs a strong online presence to become successful. That means they’ll have to use wide variety of platforms, such as social media and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, to differentiate themselves from their competitors, promote their brand effectively on the web, and draw relevant traffic to their website to experience increased sales.

When your potential customer(s) hear about your brand, either through word of mouth or online mentions, they are more likely to use search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing to learn more about your company, products, and services.

Knowing how to effectively create a strong online presence and managing it on a consistent basis will provide countless benefits for your company (increased free traffic to your website and increased sales), which will in turn also help you to create a good reputation in the eyes of your potential customers.

Here are five (5) essential online brand management tips you can utilize to create a strong online presence, become more visible to your potential clients, and increase sales through your site:

1) Create professionally designed and user-friendly website

No matter what your target market is (local, nationwide, or international), every small businesses, including your own, number one priority should be to create a professionally-designed user-friendly website. Poorly functioning and amateur looking websites simply aren’t acceptable!

When designing a website, ask yourself these questions: does your current website offer a positive experience for your users? Does it effectively convey your brand image? Is the website easy to navigate and use? It’s always a good idea to be objective when designing a website.

To build your site, you can use user-friendly web design and development software tools; however, if design isn’t your cup of tea, it’s better to get help from a professional designer or a developer.

2) Use social media

Social media platforms are free to use, but they are also one of the best ways to spread the word about your company, products, and services. Managing your Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles effectively ensure that you can build trust and loyalty of your brand, something which is crucial for small business owners in this economic downturn period.

To get maximum results from social media, you’ll have to post interesting and engaging comments and tweets regularly to hook your reader’s (potential client’s) interest. Just make sure to include a link back to your official company website.

You can also include a company blog on your website to share new promotions, new product information, and press releases to your target audience.

Social media offers an excellent way of interacting with your existing and potential customers and also promoting positive brand experiences.

3) Optimize your site for search engines or SEO

Although having a beautiful and professionally-designed website is crucial for your success, there are more than 2.5 billion web pages on the Internet, so you could easily be lost in the search results of Google, Yahoo, and Bing. If you want to drive a significant amount of traffic to your website, you’ll have to make sure that it is properly optimized for Google, Yahoo, and Bing. That’s when SEO comes in to save your day.

SEO is all about achieving higher rankings for your website, or web page(s) and making it/them more visible to your target audience. This can be achieved by utilizing the number of on-page and off-page SEO tactics, which although may not guarantee instant results, are likely to improve your search engine rankings.

There are a handful of websites offering practical SEO tips, but if you cannot set aside a few hours every week for the task yourself, it’s better to outsource your requirements to a professional SEO company.

4) Create exceptional product(s) or service(s)

This step is really important. While you may have followed all the brand management tactics (discussed above), which will help your brand to shine for a while, if your product or service isn’t what it promises to deliver, or if it isn’t exceptional among the competition, the number of negative reviews about it will just keep on increasing. Soon, you’ll notice that your competitors will start to outrank you, even for your major brand terms, which is something you should avoid at ALL costs!

However, if you focus on creating a good experience for your customers by developing great products that actually delivers what it promises, they’ll have no choice but to write positive reviews about it, and that will help establish a strong brand image for your company.

5) Contribute to your community, regularly

When it comes to establishing a strong online presence, every small business owner needs an effective content marketing strategy. A lot of new startups and brands are now realizing how important content marketing can be, especially when it comes to shaping their online presence.

Instead of displaying negative reviews about your company, products, and services on search results of Google, Yahoo, and Bing, you can take control of it by becoming an authority figure in your industry. If you contribute regularly to authority blogs, discussion forums, or other information sharing channels like YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+, you’ll gradually start to build authoritative, content-rich profiles on these sites. Over time, not only will you start to rank higher for terms related to your brand, but more people will notice your brand when they search for you and may be more likely be interested in checking out what you have to offer to them.

Finally, a brand asset management system (like Filecamp) enables the quick distribution of digital assets, provides access to important brand materials, and improves brand consistency across marketing, design, sales, and PR teams.

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