Nowadays, it is difficult to succeed at running a small business without having a significant online presence. Most people source information regarding businesses from the internet, with a 2020 study confirming that at least 90% of people buy or use services from brands they follow on social media. However, managing an online presences transcends simply setting up your own social media accounts and posting every now and then. Putting your business online can be a complex endeavour that comes with a host of side effects, and you need to make sure you have all these elements under control.
Make sure you do not overlook these aspects of managing your online presence:
1. 24/7 Accessibility—Be Careful What You Wish For
One of the greatest advantages of having an online presence is your customers’ ability to connect with you no matter the time or day. Businesses frequently tout 24/7 customer service abilities to entice prospective customers. However, you need to make sure this is a commitment that you can fulfil, and decide whether or not round-the-clock availability is actually something that benefits or is even necessary for your business. If it is not, there are ways to set boundaries such as automated messages after working hours to inform customers that they will be attended to when business hours resume. If you want to offer 24/7 accessibility but are unsure of your ability to meet those expectations, consider outsourcing those responsibilities to others.
2. Social Media Management—A Full-Time Job
24/7 customer service is one thing—expecting to fully manage your own social media while you are busy running other aspects of the business is a recipe for disaster. The reason why so many small businesses do not see results despite setting up their social media accounts and paying for a website is because online presence management requires thorough supervision, constant innovation, daily postings… basically, it is a full-time job. The power of social media should never be underestimated, but neither should the effort it requires. Many businesses have opted instead to enlist the services of social media companies to help them manage their websites and social media accounts. These companies can give your online presence the attention and effort it deserves, constantly coming up with new ways to promote your products, services, and brand, while monitoring the competition and keeping a trained eye on upcoming social media trends and best practices.
3. Customer Relations—the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
You have an amazing customer relations representative who always puts their best face forward, responding to every inquiry and comment. However, this is not enough. Among advertising experts, there is a list of Big Four sins when it comes to social media advertising and marketing: libel, slander, copyright infringement, and privacy invasion. When it comes to social media, it is difficult to know beforehand when someone might take offense at a posting or worse, decide to sue your company for one of the aforementioned sins. A lot of times, copyright infringements and privacy invasions occur without intent or knowledge on the poster’s part. Make sure your business is protected by investing in the appropriate General Liability Insurance. The last thing you want is unnecessary damage to your reputation and wallet because of a social media complaint.
The internet is an ever-changing and complex beast, and you will need to always be on your toes to make sure it does not do your business more harm than good. A sound online strategy is not just about having a theme, slogan, and a bevy of followers; it is also about protecting your brand, managing your resources, and making sure you properly capitalize on the opportunities the internet offers without getting caught up in its web.