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Making Your Online Presence Work For You

Making Your Online Presence Work For You

By Kirstin Miller

Just about every modern business nowadays juggles multiple social networking accounts, from Facebook and Twitter to Google Plus and YouTube. Yet too many do not fully leverage this online presence, instead either neglecting the marketing opportunity the internet presents or else bombarding followers with a deluge of annoying and trivial updates. How then should you as a business owner approach these emerging online environments? It can be very tricky to discover the right balance in terms of information flow and targeted marketing, but with some skill and experience you can make your online presence a huge advantage for your company.

In World War 2, radio and physical communication systems were so spotty and unreliable that it was a very rare thing indeed to witness a perfectly coordinated offensive, with artillery, air support, and ground forces activating and advancing at the perfect moments. Most often, coordination was non-existent, forcing NCOs to make calls on the fly in an attempt to get to the objective. So it is with modern business: while many companies pay lip service to online marketing, very few utilize the advanced communication and management software available to them in order to coordinate online activities with actual business objectives.

Without modern project management software systems, you’ll be unable to effectively coordinate your online marketing efforts with the existing workflows of the other departments of your business, from sales and estimating to operations and accounting. While you might not usually associate project management with social networking in the context of business, it’s completely necessary for those who wish to optimize their efforts in the online space. While most businesses have copies of Microsoft Project floating around, technology not purpose-built as online collaboration software won’t be up to the task.

What alternatives are there for those companies wishing to use their existing online presence to achieve their goals? If your organization has been fine with MS Project but wishes for more advanced features such as online document management, automated backup, hassle-free maintenance, and coordination as a key focus, you’ll need to look into upgrading. Whether Workzone, Basecamp, or Smartsheet is right for you is for you and your leadership team to decide, but the fact remains that coordination and collaboration across all departments is vital for the health of your sales pipeline and growth by online marketing.

The final key principle to incorporating your online presence is to know your customer base. You could have hundreds or thousands of followers on Facebook, but failing to understand their motivations for making purchasing decisions will render your efforts fruitless. You must attempt to understand their needs and what exactly they hoped to gain by choosing to associate with you on their favorite social networks. If you simply see these platforms as methods to speak to a captive audience without listening to and communicating directly with your customers, you’ll never see their benefits. Listen, understand, coordinate, and communicate.