A girl is searching online - Photo Francisco Osorio

If you’re a business owner or in charge of marketing, you know by now how important social media is for your company, but the demands of coordinating day-to-day business doesn’t leave much time to run multiple social media channels. Learning to build and manage an online presence can feel like a chore, but by following a few simple steps, you will help internet users find your business. Here we outline six easy ways you can grow your business presence online, without having to be a social media genius.

1 – Optimise Your Website

SEO Thumb with keywords

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) may sound like a bunch of techno mumbo-jumbo, but it’s a very simple process that can reap massive rewards for your company. If you are setting up your company website, using descriptive terms that define your business will help people searching online find you better. For example, if you are in the business of selling organic health food, you will want to make sure that your site has as many references to “organics”, “organic food”, “health food products” and the “health food industry” as possible. Be descriptive in your content, your titles and your links. The easier it is for Google (and other search engines) to find you, the easier it will be for people to find you on search engines later.

2 – Improve Link Building

Link building

Search engine sites like Google use search bots that travel around the internet finding content to be indexed; when you search on Google, the results you find are the work of search bots. Bots make their way around the internet through links, so create easy passages for them around your site with links.

Some ways to do this include:

• Link your most popular pages within your content. If web traffic stats for our organic health food example site show that their “shop” and “about us” links are the most popular, adding these links to blog posts, news releases and other topical content will help build strong paths around their site.

• Try using a sidebar plugin with links to your top pages and content. A sidebar shows visitors what is good on your site and is a way for your pages to be easily interlinked.

• Top navigation works too! Adding your most popular pages and links at the top of a page helps visitors navigate the site, find your best information quickly, and draws your pages together for ease of Google indexing.

3 – Talk to Potential Clients on Twitter

Two Twitter Birds

Joining in on a Twitter conversation is a great way to build brand awareness on social media. If you have just started your company’s Twitter, or wish to get more people following your account, try searching for hashtag discussions that are happening on the site. You can choose to do this using the “discover” function on the site, or through conversation aggregator sites like tweetchat.com. By engaging with people who are interested in elements of your business, you can speak directly to potential customers and make them aware of what you do. To use the organic health food company example again, try searching for discussions around #healthfood or #organicfood on the site and share your knowledge with people looking for answers.

4 – Create and Manage a LinkedIn Group

Linkedin Centipedes at 2010 Bay to Breakers
LinkedIn groups bring likeminded people together and help them build professional connections, and oftentimes group owners act as thought leaders in the group (who also get to feature their website URL in the group’s description!). To fill your group, you will need to add likeminded LinkedIn connections; you should also search the site and add people who you think may be interested in the topic you write about. If our organic health food supplier wants to find people in the same industry, searching “organics” and “health food” in the LinkedIn search bar are a great way to find people and groups to connect with. Once your group has a solid base of members, make sure to post interesting links and quality content that group members can engage with. The more conversation, the better the group – and as group owner, this reflects well on you and your business.

5 – Advertise on Facebook

Advertise on Facebook

We often hear that social media is not something we need to spend money on, but a few well-placed ads on the likes of Facebook are small investments that can offer huge rewards. If you are just starting your company’s page on Facebook, look into spending a bit of money on targeted advertising that will garner new likes. Targeting can get very specific – you can choose to target by gender, age, location and both broad and precise interests – but it will help you reach the people who want to know about your business, and better yet, bring down the price per click. Try a simple, cost-effective campaign to bolster numbers on your page and help people find your business.

6 – Expand Your Horizons and Target a Global Market

2 Girls with Smartphones

Social media does not begin and end with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. In huge global markets, social media markets are different – Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China, so more than 500 million Chinese internet users flock to Sina Weibo, while in Russia, local social media platform Vkontakte (VK) is the site of choice. While it might seem daunting to add Chinese and Russian sites to your social media management, bear in mind that ex-pat Chinese and Russian people living in Western countries still use these sites to look for local businesses.

Social media does not begin and end with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. In many important markets with emerging economies, social media platforms might be different. Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China, so more than 500 million Chinese internet users flock to Sina Weibo, while in Russia, local social media platform Vkontakte (VK) is the site of choice. It might seem daunting to add Chinese and Russian sites to your social media management, but bear in mind that ex-pat Chinese and Russian people living in Western countries still use these sites to look for local businesses.

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