Self-employed and small business owners can cash in on the benefits of magnifying their online presence by using the same tactics and strategies as the big corporations, according to Sara Wood, CAE, director of NCRA’s marketing and membership department, and Steve Crandall, JD, CLVS, managing director and founder of ProMotion Arts, LLC, a full-spectrum new media company in Seattle, Wash. Wood and Crandall presented an insightful session to attendees about how to shore up their online branding and use such tools as Google analytics to help increase their Internet footprint.
According to Wood, individuals should know first and foremost how their online brands reflect them. She explained that a personal online brand is created by the social media sites individuals use such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
“You have a personal brand whether you like it or not, and it impacts your professional brand online. Your image on social media will define who you are. Know what you are putting out there before setting up an online presence for your business. Know how others perceive you and what they are saying about you,” Wood said.
Among the tips Wood shared to help improve online images (including maintaining them properly) were:
- Define your image and your brand, and stick to it.
- Conduct an audit of existing social media presence to know what is out there.
- Make conscious decisions about what to and not to post.
- Don’t feed the trolls or those searching for a fight.
- Ask friends to not post content to your social media outlets without your consent.
- Review your websites and social media outlets regularly to ensure efficiency and functionality.
“How you present yourself online matters to your business and to those looking to hire you,” Wood said.
During the second part of the presentation, Crandall provided attendees with a tutorial on leveraging Google by creating a Google account at www.google.com/adwords. He and Wood explained how businesses could set up affordable targeted and segmented advertising campaigns through the system and track how many hits their sites are receiving and who is visiting them.
“You can lose business just as easy as gain business online. You need a website. If you don’t have one, you are losing business,” Crandall said.