Growing Your Digital Presence: The Basics and a Little More
Your digital presence is your organization’s online appearance and what people see when they search for your name. This includes content that comes from you, such as your website and social media platforms, but also content that comes from others, such as media coverage.
Even if you’re not a communications pro, most organizations recognize the benefit of maintaining a website and at least one social media channel. These are great places to start, but there’s a few other areas that will also help your organization’s digital presence grow.
Website (and SEO)
Even in the age of social media, an updated, user-friendly and informative website is still a must-have. When considering updating or redesigning, conduct a full audit of your site and list improvements you’d like to see. Keep in mind the strategy and goals you’ve brainstormed — and if you’re not past the planning phase yet, do that first. Be conscious of your branding too. Do you have consistent photos, videos, logos, colors and voice throughout the site? Also look at websites outside of your industry and see if there are opportunities to be a leader and incorporate new concepts.
Consider investing in improving your organization’s search engine optimization, or SEO. If you’re not familiar with SEO, it can seem complicated, but essentially it aligns the language on your website with key words about your organization so Google and other search engines can better recognize your website. The result: when someone is searching Google, your organization is more likely to pop up on the first search page. A website update or redesign, paired with appropriate SEO, will allow you both to be seen and to offer a welcoming and engaging landing spot for current and new stakeholders.
A common issue we hear from clients is they run out of ideas on what to post on their website and social media pages – often leaving these platforms static or outdated. This reduces the likelihood a viewer will engage with your site while diminishing your brand image. Having fresh content on your website will also help boost your SEO as you post more content related to those key words. You can read more here on how to plan your social media platforms, but the gist of it is: have a plan. Formulating a plan will keep content fresh and people will see your platforms as a resource. Hint: When you’re doing your audit of your website, pick out bits and pieces that could be used as social posts.
Are digital ads worth the investment? If your goal is to reach a new or broader audience, then yes.
Consider investing in an ad campaign that will help you identify a profile of prospective stakeholders, then buy space on media websites they are likely to be reading. The ads raise awareness and encourage these folks to reach out to your organization or to visit your website.
There’s also social media ads, which target new or existing stakeholders and create posts to reach them. Unlike traditional print or broadcast advertising, social media ads are fairly cost-effective and content can be tweaked easily to adjust for market changes. Facebook ads are typically the best value for your dollars, but it’s worth exploring other platforms as well.
As you plan on launching or expanding your digital platforms, it’s important to set expectations. I like to think of growing your digital presence like furnishing your home: rarely will you get everything you want at once. Start with what’s best for your organization right now and add to it over time when you can. Even if you do invest in all these tools and more, it takes time to grow a following and increase online engagement. You’ll hit small plateaus here and there, but as long as you continue planning and executing, you’ll keep growing.