In the beginning, while a company only has a website or a profile on social networks, it is easier to manage its online presence. All it takes is a few professionals, a few tools, a couple of strategies, and some investments to make it all work.
But businesses want to grow. They gain visibility on the Internet, attract more and more visitors to their website, acquire more customers, make more sales, and open up new digital channels to communicate with consumers. This is the scenario you expect from a growing brand!
What no one expects — but inevitably comes along with it — are the demands and problems related to growth. As a brand grows on the Internet, it may also realize that the site cannot handle so many visits, the marketing team is unable to create so many channels, the customer service cannot handle so many messages, and many other issues.
Expanding your online presence comes with its benefits and burdens. In this article, we will assess the importance of online presence and explain why it is essential to develop yours. We will also prepare you for the changes that this movement brings.
Keep reading to learn:
What is online presence?
Online presence refers to the ways a brand exists on the internet. This can involve many different online channels such as websites, blogs, social media, email, search engines, paid ads, mobile apps, partnerships with influencers, etc.
Even if they don’t want or plan to, brands do have an online presence. Even if you don’t have a website or a social media profile, consumers will still talk on social networks about experiences with your products. Your employees will post photos in the office, and the websites themselves will register your data in business directories.
There is no point in avoiding it: your brand is already there. But, in this form, your online presence is not under your control. You are not there to respond, interact, tell your stories, and share your positions.
So you need to develop a planned online presence. A strategy that shows your brand identity, which speaks to your consumers, delivers some value to their lives and helps you accomplish your company’s goals.
Therefore, a brand’s online presence is directly related to Digital Marketing. Like any marketing strategy, it requires planning, execution, and measurement. The whole process depends on the definition of objectives, indicators, target audiences, personas, channels, and schedules.
This way, you ensure that your online presence fulfills its function in the company’s marketing efforts, generating positive results for the business.
What are the benefits of online presence for a brand?
An online presence that is planned and structured from Digital Marketing strategies brings numerous benefits to businesses.
Well, you already know that the Internet has no boundaries, right? So, by creating and expanding your brand’s online presence, you will reach thousands of people who would possibly never know about your business.
More than visibility, you gain interactivity on the Internet, so you can connect with these people and become closer to them. Even more: you gain potential customers, who can negotiate and buy from your company in just a few clicks.
You need to create an active and efficient presence in the channels where your audience is searching, interacting, buying, and finding information.
After all, the Internet is part of people’s daily lives, from the time they wake up until they fall asleep (or even while they sleep). On average, people use the Internet for 6h43min every day. So how can your brand not be there? If you are not, know that your competitors will be.
Online presence ensures that you are part of people’s lives, enables your company to trigger brand awareness at the right moments, and creates a relationship with the public. Through branding, you build a brand image that is reinforced at all points of contact with the consumer, differentiating your business from the competition.
What have companies failed to do when creating and expanding their online presence?
All right, you already understand the importance of creating and expanding your online presence. But when it comes to entering new channels, you need to be careful. If not well planned, this expansion leads to mistakes that can damage your plans.
And this is where many companies have failed. It is necessary to realize that growing a brand on the Internet not only brings more visibility and potential customers, but also generates demands that the company previously did not have.
Therefore, we will now analyze the main demands that may arise when expanding your online presence and talk about the mistakes many companies make.
Websites that don’t keep up with demand
One of the main channels for online presence is the website. It could be an institutional site, a blog, a news portal, or an ecommerce site, for example.
When a company starts working on its online presence, it is common to create a simple website with few resources. It is not necessarily a bad site, but it offers a limited experience to the visitor.
However, as the online presence expands, it is expected that website visits will increase, and new consumers will come to check your content. That’s a lot of people getting to know your brand for the first time. So they need to feel welcome.
However, sites are often not ready for this. They may, for example:
- go offline due to receiving too many simultaneous hits;
- load too slowly;
- not offer accessibility to all users;
- frustrate visitors who don’t find what they want.
And, when these situations happen, the brand’s image is already damaged. Therefore, the website creation and management must be consistent with the growth of your online presence.
Scattered communication between channels
Another common problem in creating new digital marketing channels is scattered communication.
Marketing needs to be consistent across all contact points with the public, including in the online presence. Of course, the approaches and formats can vary to suit each platform’s language, but the brand identity and focus on business objectives must remain consistent.
What happens, then, is that many brands expand their channels without any planning, with disconnected strategies between them. If the website says one thing and Facebook says another, communication with the public becomes full of noise. People don’t understand who the brand is and what it delivers. And thus, they are unable to build relationships with it.
Besides, scattered communication won’t help to fulfill business goals. Companies often create a new profile on a social network just because everyone is doing it or some marketing guru told them to. But does that channel make sense for the brand? Does it help achieve any goals?
Therefore, you need to plan an online presence that creates consistent communication with your audience, conveys a solid brand image, builds relationships, and meets objectives.
Abandoned social networks
Entering new channels without planning only brings problems. It is very common: brands get excited about new social networks, but then do not realize all the work they demand.
It is necessary to think about planning, content production, image creation, publishing, interactions with users, measurement, optimization, reporting, and other activities involved in every channel. And all this happens in cycles, always in motion, so as not to lose frequency and constancy (the algorithms demand it!).
Consider the fact that it is necessary to have professionals (or partners) to handle all of this. And companies do not always have them. As a result, there is a “graveyard” of profiles on social networks, full of brands that have not managed to maintain an active presence there.
This is a problem because it damages the brand’s image. The users who started following the profile are abandoned, and those who visit the profile to learn about the brand are frustrated. It may suggest a lack of professionalism or even that the company no longer exists.
For this reason, it is necessary to plan an online presence strategy that considers all the work involved in each channel. This way, you can make better decisions about which channels to include.
Overloaded service team
Expanding your online presence brings many people closer to your brand. More people start to follow the brand, visit the website, shop in its digital store, and sign up for its newsletter.
The more online contact points you have with your audience, the more people will interact with your brand. After all, digital channels, unlike traditional media (such as TV and radio), generate two-way communication. Remember that this is one of the advantages of digital presence, which you should take advantage of.
The problem is that when a brand gains visibility on the Internet, there can be an overwhelming number of interactions. The DMs, comments, and emails start to receive so many messages that the customer service team can’t handle it.
In this way, the consumer’s experience is damaged. Particularly in the CSC, if complaints are not answered, they can turn into a crisis.
So, it is necessary to scale and train the service team to meet the demands of these channels’ interactions.
Poor image crisis management
Digital channels, as two-way means of communication, give consumers a voice. This is interesting to get closer to them, understand them better, and build a relationship. But it also has its downside: they can criticize the brand with great power of reach.
When a brand is small and has only a few channels with a few users to respond to, it is easier to keep the situation under control. But as it expands its online presence, the brand becomes better known and more exposed. It is common, for example, that the increase in followers also brings a lot of haters who only want to attack the brand.
So, a complaint or a report will reverberate far more intensely and can develop an image crisis. Many brands don’t know how to deal with this, especially the first time around. And, with poorly planned measures and responses, they can worsen their reputation.
That’s why it’s also necessary to prepare the marketing and customer service teams to respond to negative interactions, which will start to pop-up more frequently.
How to solve the demands of your online presence strategy?
In the face of growing demand and the problems of expanding your online presence, what can you do?
Let’s take a look at some ways to ensure sustainable growth on the Internet so that you don’t waste resources and don’t have to keep correcting strategies over and over again.
Plan your Digital Marketing
From the first steps your brand takes on the Internet, you cannot leave this out: the Digital Marketing plan. It is important to plan strategies focusing on building a solid and consistent online presence that fulfills its role in the business objectives.
Planning defines the directions that an online presence must follow. But these definitions must come from a business and market analysis. This internal analysis allows identifying the team’s capabilities and prevents the company from taking steps it cannot afford, such as creating channels that generate excessive demand.
In addition, planning should think of the digital marketing strategy as a whole, and then break down actions and objectives in each channel. This way, it can integrate and align all channels around the strategy, creating a cohesive brand communication.
Create a style guide for online communication
Digital marketing planning helps to avoid the scattered communication that a growing online presence can cause. So creating a style guide for digital communication complements the plan.
The style guide provides guidelines about the brand’s communication on its digital channels. Based on branding definitions, this document informs the principles and standards that must be adopted in all content, be it textual or visual.
Uber’s style guide is a good example. The company explains that the brand’s global growth requires an efficient and flexible identity that adapts to the uses without losing its essence. So it brings definitions about several brand elements, such as logo, colors, illustrations, tone of voice, and typography.
Define a proper frequency of publications
One of the aspects defined in Digital Marketing planning should be the frequency of publications in each channel.
Consider that you can create a blog, an email marketing strategy, or profiles on social networks, which require an active online presence. The users themselves demand it, as they follow a brand to keep up with its posts on a daily basis. But the biggest demand comes from the algorithms, which stop displaying posts to the public if the profile does not post regularly.
But it is important to remember: when defining frequency, consider t your team’s capacity. A publication requires much more work than it seems — it is necessary to plan, produce, approve, schedule, evaluate, optimize. So the marketing team needs to handle it all.
You have to think about all this workflow when defining the frequency of publications so that your team can maintain an active, quality presence across all channels.
Design a site optimized for user experience
Ensure that your site offers the best user experience. Many newcomers need to have a positive perception of your brand, or they may never come back. So when it comes to creating a website or expanding your online presence, you should focus on User Experience (UX).
UX refers to the experience of user interaction with some applications. In this case, we are talking about your website, which should be attractive, safe, and easy to use, solving the visitor’s needs and eliminating any obstacles along the way. To do this, you should pay attention to elements such as:
- website speed, because the user doesn’t want to waste time;
- responsiveness, because the user can access the site on multiple devices;
- usefulness of the content, because the user wants to solve a problem;
- information architecture, because the user wants to find what they are looking for easily;
- data security, because the user needs to trust your brand;
- attractive layout, because the user should be delighted and involved with the site.
If you want help in this process, Rock Stage offers solutions for website hosting and blog creation that ensure the best experience for visitors. Your site gains much more speed, performance, and security, through plans tailored to your needs.
Make sure your site can handle the traffic
To meet the increasing demand for site access, you need a server capable of handling high traffic and support critical situations.
When a server is overloaded with many simultaneous accesses, the site may show the user an Error 503 (service unavailable) page. This means that the server is unavailable at that moment, and the site will not work. Thus, the visitor abandons the site, and you lose a visit and a potential conversion. Frustrating, isn’t it?
To avoid this, it is vital to contract a hosting service that can support high numbers of visits. Even if the company is small today, anticipate traffic growth so that you don’t have to change providers frequently.
Also, the service must offer immediate support. When the site is offline, you need it to return soon so as not to lose more visits and conversions.
At Rock Stage, you have access to dedicated WordPress support, by email and chat. Whenever you need help, you can call our specialized team!
Define protocols for customer service and crisis management
Among the problems we have pointed out in the expansion of online presence is the overwhelming of the customer service team, which can lead to image crises, increasingly hard to control. Therefore, it is also necessary to take measures in this direction.
Even when the brand’s digital presence is still developing, those who interact with the public on online channels need to receive some training. On the Internet, users expect agility, cordiality, and efficiency in interactions, especially in post-sales problems.
When the online presence grows, so does the demand for customer service. So it is necessary to define user support protocols, such as assigning people responsible for each case and creating standardized answers to common questions. In this way, the service becomes more agile and efficient.
When situations become more critical, it is also important to define crisis management protocols. You can’t respond arrogantly, delete negative comments, or silence users. It is necessary to have a plan for crisis situations, standardizing communication and defining the attitude that the company should adopt.
Use digital marketing management tools
Managing a growing demand for content and interactions in Digital Marketing only becomes feasible with the help of specialized tools.
Tools for marketing automation — such as RD Station and HubSpot —, social media management, or CRM, are allies. In a single platform, they bring together all the activities that the channels require, from workflow planning to the measurement of results.
With them, you are able to:
- schedule blog and social media publications;
- schedule email marketing messages;
- manage leads throughout the funnel in a customized way;
- create automatic lead nurturing flows;
- reply to messages and comments from different social networks on the same screen;
- and many other features.
This way, you can scale your company’s online presence and qualify your marketing and sales approaches, even while dealing with the increase in demand.
There, now you know the main points you need to watch when creating and expanding your online presence. The intention is that the growth in demand does not take your company by surprise. This way, your brand will be ready to take advantage only of the benefits of growing on the Internet!
Now, take the opportunity to know the solutions that Rock Content offers for those who want to expand their online presence with valuable content experience. Contact us!