What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

To understand the question, you first need to understand what web presence actually means. This isn’t the time to go consulting Wikipedia because, for some absurd reason, they have the definition of web presence backwards on the site.

Web presence, also called online presence or Internet presence, simply means your online penetration. This is the simplest definition anyone can give you. But for the sake of folk that might beg to differ, here is a list of interpretations we can go with:

  • Online penetration. I’ve already mentioned that.
  • Your online visibility.
  • Your digital footprint, which is a summation of all online files, destinations, and touch points you own or that refers to you.

So can we safely say that web presence is all about your online penetration, about establishing your presence or that of your brand online, about making yourself or your brand known on the Internet?

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to what makes up a successful web presence.

When people hear web presence, the first thing that comes to mind is a website. But then our interpretations above clearly suggest that web presence is more complex than that — in fact, as complex as a person’s public image, which basically entails where they are from, what they do, and who they associate with.

With web presence, you are basically trying to put forward content that promotes your brand’s public image and in so doing help you sell your products or services. Take a look at the table below.

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Looking at the table above, you can easily identify the core elements you need to focus on to build a successful web presence around your brand. And thus we have:

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Blogging
  • Email marketing

Let’s look at them one after the other

Website

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

As I mentioned before, this is your base of operation. It’s where your brand’s web presence begins and ends. Every other aspect of your web presence should direct people back to your website. Hence, you need to put a lot of thought into making your business website as focused, informative, coherent, and on-brand as possible. Learn more about setting up a website for your business.

Social Media

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Now that your business website is set up, you need to draw people to it so they can learn about your business and products and possibly go on talking about them afterwards. For starters, take your business to where consumers gather. Think social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Think forums like Quora and Reddit. You could try to connect and engage consumers organically or you could run paid marketing campaigns on these channels. A combination of both is a better strategy, and your efforts here have to be perpetually ongoing and consistent for you to constantly achieve tangible results.

If running multiple social accounts is daunting for you, then you might want to check out Social Republic, which offers a central dashboard for managing all your social accounts.

Blogging

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

You don’t just create a website for your business and then forget it. To achieve the goal of building a web presence, you need continuous participation. This is where blogging comes in. Sadly, many companies online don’t have a blog integrated into their websites. Even many of those that have rarely update theirs. Online presence is all about penetration and visibility, which you can then leverage to drive conversation and sales. For better penetration, more visibility, and more traffic, you need to continuously inject more relevant content into your digital footprint. Regular blogging can do that for you, just as ongoing participation on social platforms also can.

Email Marketing

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Say, your website and blog are booming and you have people flowing in from social media and search engines. How do you keep them coming back? Surely, if the content of your blog is valuable, many of your readers would want to come back. The question is: will they remember to come back?

This is why you need to be very proactive when it comes to retaining leads. These days, email marketing is the way to go. Simply sign up for a service like MailChimp, Aweber, and Mailgun. Then integrate an email subscription form into your blog and website and configure it to actively encourage your site visitors to join your mailing list. Getting them to sign up means you no longer have to wait for them to come to you. Instead, you can take your content, marketing offers and promotions to them.

Of course, there are many other elements of a successful web presence, but these four are the basics you need to cover before anything else. Do let me know what you think in the comment area.

This article also appeared in Macaulay Gidado Medium blog.

How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Business

How to choose a domain name for your business - Macaulay Gidado

When choosing a domain name for your business, you obviously want to get it right. A great domain name can make a big difference in your quest to make your business an online success.

How then do you choose the right domain name?

Many experts have come up with various tips on choosing a great domain name. Unfortunately, the sheer number of these tips has made it even more difficult and confusing to choose a domain. It’s now hard to tell which tips are the real deal and which ones are chaff.

You are not alone. Below, I have compiled some of the tips that have worked for Macaulay Gidado.

Your Domain Name Should Be a Branding Tool

Take hot-iron branding, for instance. People in the olden days used it to place marks of identification on things they own–for example, slaves and livestock. Hot-iron branding was all about identity.

Using your domain as a branding tool thus means using it to give your business an online identity. When people see or hear your domain name, does it remind them of your company? If yes, then you have succeeded.

Here are some ways you can use your domain name as a branding tool

  • Use your business name as your domain name. Just as Coca Cola, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook did.
  • Avoid names that are too generic.
  • Avoid including numbers in your domain. Numbers are not easy to remember.
  • Don’t use a name that sounds like that of a competitor.
  • You service coverage is limited to a specific location, then you might want to localise your domain name by adopting the country code top-level domain (ccTLDs) of that location. For instance, if your business only serves people in New Zealand, then consider using www.yourdomain.nz instead of .com, .org, or any other domain extension. This will improve your search engine optimisation and help your site rank higher for relevant searches originating from the country your business covers.
  • You might want to trademark your domain to safeguard it from competitors and squatters who might try to use variances of it.
  • You might also want to register your chosen name under various top level domains (TLDs) in order to prevent other businesses or people from registering them. For instance, don’t just register yourdomain.com. Also register yourdomain.org, yourdomain.net, and other domain extension you don’t want other people to register.

Make Your Domain Name Memorable

Make it easy for your customers to remember your domain name.

  • Shorter names are easier to remember.
  • Use a name that is easy to pronounce.
  • Avoid hyphens and numbers. They complicate things.
  • Avoid misspellings. Even though misspellings worked for Flickr.com and tumblr.com, they are tricky and can work against you.
  • Use a catchy name. Catchy makes for easy remembrance.

Never Use a Trademarked Name

Using a name associated with a trademark translates to cybersquatting. You will be basically infringing on another business’ trademark. You could end up in a lawsuit that will take away your domain and leave you paying damages to the trademark owner. Avoid trademarked names. Use this tool to check the trademark risk associated with your chosen domain name.

Is Your Chosen Name Available on Social Media

Before registering a domain name for your business, you might want to check whether the name is available on the top social media platforms. Why? Using the the name in your domain as your social media handle will help you:

  • Create a uniform online presence for your brand.
  • Make your brand easy to discover.
  • Improve your online credibility and authenticity.
  • Prevent other people or competing companies from stealing your brand’s identity on social media and doing God knows what with it.

Therefore, if your domain name is www.yourbrand.com, you might want to snag the Facebook and Twitter URLs www.facebook.com/yourbrand and www.twitter.com/yourbrand. Do the same for other social media platforms.

To check if your name is available on the top social media platform, use this tool.

Having acquainted yourself with the tips above, you mustn’t take all of them into consideration when choosing your domain name. However, making sure that your domain name conforms to some or most of them can improve your chances of snagging a domain name that makes all the difference for your business.

Protecting Your Personal Brand Online: Important Things You Need to Know

Protecting your personal online brand

Gone are the days when business owners and corporations are the only entities faced with protecting their online brands. That’s a truth that can’t be disputed. Individuals now need to protect their personal brand.

Of course, it’s easy to imagine that, since you don’t own a business, there’s no brand to protect. However, instead of imagining, first try to understand what a personal brand and brand security mean. How their absences can affect his or her personal life.

Personal Online Brand

Your personal online brand is your public image online. That is, what you represent online. How people perceive you online. It’s your online visibility. Your online authenticity. Your online authority. It’s that name you use across all online channels. It’s the opinion you share on various web platforms.

Online Brand Security

Online brand security, on the other hand, is all about protecting that image. It’s all about plugging all holes via which an unauthorised person can leverage or hijack your brand (or some aspects of it) as their own. Usually, such a person would be looking to achieve a dubious goal with your brand. Perhaps, one that profits them, harms your online reputation or presence, or even hurts you as a person.

Therefore, while you may not have a corporate brand to protect, there are still your online handle and image. If you think nobody could be interested in stealing them, then think again. The threats to a brand can come in many forms:

  • As a desperate corporate competitor looking for an edge over you.
  • A cyber squatter.
  • A scammer.
  • Even as a spammer.
  • It could even be someone that answers the same name as you trying to establish their own online brand. This can be especially damaging if the person posts ideas that go against your values.
  • Or as your abuse of the internet. For instance, what you post on social media today can hurt you tomorrow.

There are many other possibilities. And if one doesn’t poke a hole in your online image, another might.

Why Do You Need Personal Online Brand Security?

  • About 48% of recruiters check their prospective employees’ personal websites before deciding whether to hire or not.
  • Even if you have no need for a personal online brand today, chances are that the need will arise in the future. For instance, an aspiring writer could become a popular professional author tomorrow. It’s only reasonable to secure your name across all channels from the onset.
  • About 63% of recruiters use social media to learn more about prospective employees.
  • Secure your online name against cyber squatters.
  • Protect yourself from scammers.
  • Protect yourself from competitors.
  • About 8% of companies have laid off an employee because the employee abused social media

Hence, if your personal online brand is compromised, so might your chances at some great online and offline business or employment opportunities.

How to Protect Your Personal Brand Online

Secure Your Domain Name

Since you are looking to secure your personal brand, it’s ideal to choose a domain name that is closely related to your legal name. If possible, use your legal name. Thus, if your name is John Lock, then use JohnLock.com or something close to that.

Depending on your resources, it’s also ideal to register variations of the name or the same name under top domain extensions. Example, [dot]net, [dot]co.uk, and [dot]org. This will tightly distinguish and protect your personal brand from other people answering the same name.

You can also register free subdomains with WordPress and Blogger. It doesn’t matter that you might not use them. This will help prevent someone else from stealing your identity there.

Build a Personal Website or Blog

There are many reasons you need a personal website or blog as a way of protecting your personal brand online. Here are the major ones.

  • It’s a way to build your authority online. When you run a personal blog, and share original, compelling content—your expertise and experiences—you create awareness about yourself, people get to know you, and with time you could become established as an influencer.
  • You offer yourself a better chance at landing business and employment opportunities.
  • You increase your visibility on search engines and put your name out there. Hence, when people, an employer or a potential business associate, google your name, you site appears. This can be especially beneficial when there are many other people online answering the same name as you.

Secure Your Social Media Handles

Be sure to register your social media accounts using your legal name or something close to that as your username. It’s recommended that you use the same username across all channels. That’s including in your domain name. If you have multiple domain names, one of them should reflect your social media username.

Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn may allow you to answer the same profile name as another user. But then your username must be unique. And that’s what you should focus on securing. To simultaneously check for the availability of your legal or chosen name as a username on multiple social media sites, use this tool.

If there are social media platforms you don’t want to use, you can prevent someone else from registering your username. Simply create accounts on the sites for the sake of locking the username down.

Interconnect Everything

A very important way to establish and protect your personal brand online is by interconnecting all your online accounts. For instance, connecting all your domains to your website and connecting your social media accounts to your website and vice versa. That way, people can find your website via your social media profiles. Or your social media pages via your website. It’s a powerful way of showing your authenticity.

Select the Domain Privacy Option

When you register a domain, your personal information (that is, your phone number, address, email address, fax…) is publicly listed on the WHOIS directory. Other info like your domain registration and expiry dates is also listed publicly. This means that anybody can easily find your personal info by running a search for your domain name on the directory.

This exposes you to many security issues:

  • Scammers and spammers looking to take advantage of you and your personal brand.
  • You become vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Domain hijackers looking to take over your domain name.
  • It becomes easy for stalkers to find your personal information.

To protect your identity, simply elect the domain privacy option. That way, your registrar will have dummy domain registration info, instead of your true personal details, published on the WHOIS directory.

Finally, never stop researching more ways to build and secure your brand online. Because as the years go by, new threats will sprout. And you want to be ready for them. Leave nothing to chance.

Seven Important Questions to Ask Your Prospective Social Media Manager

Seven important questions to ask your prospective social media manager - Macaulay Gidado

Over the years, social media has grown to become a vital aspect of online marketing. It’s no longer just a place for people to make friends, share ideas, talk about what they ate the previous night, and so on. It is now also an avenue for content marketers, brands, salespeople to reach out to consumers in the hope of inspiring engagement and generating leads.

No wonder you want to hire a social media manager to help you leverage the marketing opportunities social platforms offer.

Unfortunately, it’s not everyone that claims to understand social media marketing that actually has what it takes to pull a social networking campaign off. This is why, in your bid to hire a social media manager, you ought to ask every potential candidate that comes your way these important questions.

What Social Media Platforms Do You Recommend?

You are asking this question with the expectation that, as a skilled professional, the candidate has already researched your company’s niche and its social media marketing potentials. If they haven’t done that, then the interview should end here.

Also, the answers you get don’t matter as much as the reasons behind them. If a candidate mentions Facebook, the ‘why’ behind that reply is what you want to know.

What Two Social Marketing Metrics Are Worth Monitoring?

The candidate should be very conversant with inciting ‘engagement’. Companies thrive on engagement. They must be skilled at creating social media content that arouses conversations about a business and among any audience. Also, they ought to have handled social campaigns in the past and successfully generated leads.

This is where their experience and past successes bare themselves. From their reply you should notice whether or not they can help your company incite engagement and generate leads.

What’s the Difference Between Social Marketing and Social Customer Service?

Your candidate should be able to sail through this question. It’s not very different from asking the difference between marketing and customer service.

The former is about planting a purchase thought in (prospective) customers’ minds. Then guiding that thought—and, hence, the customers—to the point where they make orders. The latter requires the ability to manage customers’ grievances on social media platforms. Mind you, social networking sites are where consumers express themselves the most. So if you can’t put a lid on a complaint there, it will definitely escalate.

How Would You Manage a Social Reputation Crisis?

News, especially bad ones, spread like wildfire. Social media platforms only fuel the spread. Your prospective social media manager should be able to contain the crisis.

A candidate who has handled such a crisis before would be more experienced than one who hasn’t. Whether experienced in reputation crisis management on social media or not, they should be able to detail down steps they would follow to get your company out of such a crisis, should it arise in the future.

How Would You Distribute Resources for a Social Marketing Campaign?

Available resources can entail time, manpower, finance, and so on. Your candidate ought to be familiar with social media marketing strategies that can help them manage the resources available to them.

When is advertising on Twitter better than using Google AdWords? What percentage of a budget should go into a Facebook campaign and how much should go into YouTube ads, and why? How would they monitor and determine the success of an ad campaign?

These and more are issues they have to address.

What Social Media Channels Have You Managed?

Your candidate should be able to point you to professional content they have written. Study their blogs, social media profiles, past achievements and, possibly, failures. Weigh their content. Does it suite the various platforms on which it appears? Is it compelling? Is it SE optimised?

What Would Be Your Goal If We Hired You?

People often mistake the number of Facebook fans or Twitter followers they have as their true audience. But followers and fans don’t carry much weight unless you are able to engage them. A thousand Twitter followers that lead to ten sales is better than a million that lead to no sales.

When you ask about your candidate’s goal for your company, the answer you want to hear shouldn’t simply be about number of fans or followers. It should be more about engagement. About likes, replies, comments, and about conversion.

Also ask how the candidate plans on attaining that goal of theirs.

Remember, whoever you hire as your social media manager becomes the online voice of your brand. Definitely you want someone who understands what you do or sell; someone who is passionate about your business; someone creative and innovative.

Hopefully, the aforementioned questions will help you make the right choice. You could also checkout our other blog post on social media marketing for more tips.

Ten Social Media Marketing Rules Every Business Needs to Adopt

Ten Social Media Marketing Rules Every Business Needs to Adopt - Macaulay Gidado

Experts have said it time and time again that in this digital age social media marketing is a vital aspect of marketing for businesses. The question is: why are many businesses not seeing tangible results in spite of their efforts to elevate their customer base and maximize sales through social media marketing?

Success with social media marketing involves more than just making efforts. To get it to work for you, there are basic fundamentals you must follow. Without them, you social media marketing efforts will all be a waste.

Here are the fundamentals:

Listen More on Social Media

Ten Social Media Marketing Rules Every Business Needs to Adopt - Macaulay Gidado

You want success with your social media marketing? Then learn to listen more and talk less. It’s only when you listen that you understand. Read the online content your target audience posts. Join their discussions. Learn the stuff that is important to them. Doing this will help you create social media content that add value to their lives. It will help you initiate conversations that they care about.

Focus

Ten Social Media Marketing Rules Every Business Needs to Adopt - Macaulay Gidado

What’s that popular saying? Yes, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” If you are this person, then you are wasting your time. Having a focused social media strategy and content will help your target audience assign an identity to your social brand. It will help you build a stronger brand, a more targeted leads pool, and give you a better chance at success.

Favour Quality on Social Media

Ten Social Media Marketing Rules Every Business Needs to Adopt - Macaulay Gidado
As Steve Jobs said, “Quality is more important than quantity.” Five hundred social connections that engage with and share your social content is better than fifty thousand connections that never engages with your content after liking or following your brand or social media. Always keep that in mind as you grow your connections.

Patience

Ten Social Media Marketing Rules Every Business Needs to Adopt - Macaulay Gidado
There’s nothing like overnight success. Success with social media marketing takes time. If you are looking for overnight success, chances are that you are the type that buys social media followers and likes and then end up regretting it in the end. Of course, it’s possible for a post to go viral and pull in thousands of followers or likes in a day, but it’s more possible that, like everyone else, you will need to commit months or even years of hard work to growing your social presence. Just be patients.

Virality

Ten Social Media Marketing Rules Every Business Needs to Adopt - Macaulay Gidado
When you build your social audience by publishing quality, amazing, and thought-provoking content, chances are that they will share your posts with their audiences. By so doing, they will open up new entry points for people to find you on social media.

Influence

Ten Social Media Marketing Rules Every Business Needs to Adopt - Macaulay Gidado
Search for influencers in your niche which have quality audiences that are interested in your product or service. Try engaging with these influencers, but be careful so that you don’t appear stalkerish or trollish.. Make relevant, thoughtful comments on their posts. Chances are that if you stick around long enough, they will notice you, check out your page, and possibly even share your content with their audience.

Value

Ten Social Media Marketing Rules Every Business Needs to Adopt - Macaulay Gidado
Direct promotion is a bad social media strategy. Social media is where people go to make friends and interact with one another. Direct promotion will only make you appear trollish. Sooner or later, people will stop paying attention to your posts. Some will even unfollow, unlike, unfriend, or block you. Instead of direct promotion or focusing on conversion, try creating and sharing posts compelling posts and building healthy relationships with your audience and influencers. With time, when these people become curious about you and what you do, this strategy will pay off.

Acknowledgement

Ten Social Media Marketing Rules Every Business Needs to Adopt - Macaulay Gidado
Nobody likes to be ignored. In fact, ignoring someone on social media is one of the easiest ways to lose their connection. Always reply to comments on your social media posts and wall. Even when you can’t reply, give the comments a like at least. Also, always check your social media messages and acknowledge people that send you messages. You might also want to talk about your audience and share their posts that you love. That way, you show them that they are important to you. People typically reciprocate kindness.

Accessibility

Ten Social Media Marketing Rules Every Business Needs to Adopt - Macaulay Gidado
In a way, this is related to acknowledgement. Never post content on your social media and then vanish. You have to be available, not just to monitor the conversation your post has initiated but also to participate in that conversation.

Consistency

Ten Social Media Marketing Rules Every Business Needs to Adopt - Macaulay Gidado
If you truly want your social media marketing to be fruitful, then you need to be consistent. Don’t post today and then disappear for a week. You need to post regularly. Better still, post at an interval your audience expects. Perhaps at 1pm every day or or two. That way, your audience will look forward to your next post, just as people look forward to the next episode of their favorite TV show.

There you have it. Follow these rules of social media marketing and improve the chances of your efforts yielding favourable results.

Find out how Macaulay Gidado and Republic Digital can help your business find success on Social Media.