Within almost every single business, there comes a time when it’s best to delegate certain tasks to professionals. Intricate things like legal protection, finances, taxes — and your online presence — should all be delegated to specialists. “Outsourcing” an online presence manager may sound like “just another expense” -but the truth of the matter is that you can’t afford NOT to hire one to manage your online presence.
Still wondering how an online presence manager plan works, how it actually “empowers” your business as a cost-effective resource without human resource hassle and why should no longer shy away from hiring one? Then let’s just read on to find your own answers!
Online Presence Management: The Fundamentals
Before diving into the details of online presence manager’s services as well as its incredible benefits, it’s essential to make sure that you have an accurate perception over the bigger picture – online presence management.
So, what is it?
To put it simply, online presence management is a new discipline of managing one’s business, brand or personality within the online landscape – or, on the Internet. Undoubtedly, the Internet has brought about a myriad of opportunities for companies of all scales to maximize their exposure to target customers.
Broken down, such a concept has three elements for us to clarify: online, presence, and management.
- Online is to make a clear distinction of the practice related to digital marketing channels and not print nor physical display advertising.
- Presence is the behavior of being present in a place or thing – maybe customers’ minds or their online shopping journey.
- Management is to handle with and deliberately control or influence the outcomes of activities.
Far gone were the days when only “big names” such as eBay and Amazon jumped into e-commerce, figuring out how to earn money selling products on the web. These days, almost all brick and mortar stores have got into this game, not wanting to miss such a golden opportunity. As a result, “click and mortar” stores were born, promoting an internet experience where publishers put their content on the web and users were readers.
Besides, the dot-com crash, which happened at around the break of the century, has exposed the unsustainable business models and left businesses with a leaner set of internet businesses where cash flows aren’t forgotten. The expanding capacity of networks means social networks would turn into multimedia sites and Internet users – customers – have been given a voice as well as an ability to broadcast their opinions.
Nowadays, social features are “table-stakes”. Continuous technical advancements have also added several mobile capabilities whose applications are an entirely new breed of customer interaction. The recent decade has witnessed a shift toward more personalized services, portable tools integrated with local /physical products and services.
Facing such social, mobile and localization trends, you’ve got yourself a diverse mix of factors to successfully reach out to your target customers – and more importantly, to impact the way they find businesses they would like to purchase from or partner with.
Online Presence Manager: The Scope of Work
Within such an ever-evolving online landscape, it’s a “must” that you’re well “armed” with a tool that can consolidate your online presence to keep your business image outstanding among the crowded the marketplace. And this tool gets a name: Online presence manager
So, what could you possibly expect from an online presence manager?
Generally speaking, an online presence manager will help you with controlling or influencing the Web presence, or Internet-based channels of your business, with the goal of igniting your online presence as well as overall internet efficiency. In other words, online presence management services will cover three major tasks:
- To know where and how you show up
- To control on-site factors with the intention of achieving goals
- To influence factors off-site
To be more specific, your online presence manager is going to go through some factors under your company’s control (such as Website or owned social media channels):
- Web design factors
- Content Marketing / Blogging
- Search Engine Optimization
- Email marketing
…. as well as factors that exist beyond the control of your sites across the rest of the internet, which do include:
- Internet Advertising
- Social Media Marketing
- Reputation Management
- Directory Listings
- Internet [Industry / Support] Forums
Running a profitable online presence is a multi-faceted and fairly detailed process. It’s full of technical challenges, nuances, best practices, and common pitfalls. Fortunately, with the aid of an online presence manager, you can direct your efforts towards into main operational activities of your business.
Not only does it help you in terms of taking away the complexity and “mystery” of handling these above-mentioned factors, a presence manager – as a rule – will regularly conduct a website audit to analyze all the factors that affect your site’s visibility in search engines (usually on a monthly or quarterly basis). Besides, it will of great help in continuously monitoring your company reviews across the web, alerting you of those that require your action. This way you can run your business and have the peace of mind that your online reputation is being managed.
Don’t Be a Hero: Work Smarter, not Harder
One common question that several businesses still wonder is: why should I outsource an online presence manager instead of handling it on my own?
It can, of course, work well when you manage your online presence by yourself. But… the truth is that you can yield endless benefits with “partnering” with an embedded online presence manager, which does overweigh your hiring expense.
1. You ALWAYS Have an Online Presence
In case your teams are too busy with operational activities to turn an eye to your website or owned social channels, you can be at ease with the thought that you always have an online presence.
Your brand, your products, your services or your company is being mentioned somewhere online and unless you want to give other people free rein over what is said about you, you need to be present and take charge of your online presence yourself. Fortunately, a dedicated online presence manager can help you with that!
2. Managing Your Online Presence is a Time-Consuming Job
Should you be planning on managing your online presence by yourself, you need to handle multitudinous lists of things – to keep your finger on the industry pulse, to monitor customer feedback, reviews or concerns, to attract new customers, and also to ensure that your customers know that you are listening.
Such types of monitoring, responsiveness, and promotion are extremely time-consuming and as a small business owner, you simply can’t manage all the positions.
3. What’s Your Degree in Again….?
It’s fair to say that a business will specify in their chosen field or be adept in their scope of work. Should you be great at selling cars, hopefully, you’re a car distributor.
Well, just as you excel in your working “sphere”, an online presence management service provider will definitely excel in theirs. Understandably, they have obtained the education, experience as well as all the essential tools that they need to successfully do their job.
If you ask your online presence manager to sell cars, you’re going to have a problem. This is exactly what happens when you try to undertake online presence management yourself. It can – but will be exceedingly challenging and time-taking for your team to master it. And more importantly, does it really worth it when you invest such a large amount of time and effort on this, instead of focusing on your core business value?
4. Let’s Douse the Fire Before it Becomes an “Inferno”
Once in a while, every business or brand is going to run into an unhappy customer, a ruthless competitor, or someone with an ax to grind. In practice, these situations can range from a simple complaint about the way they were treated in your store to an unexpected event that can completely slander your company’s image.
When some “small” fires break out online, it’s more than crucial to catch them and put them out before they become a raging inferno. An online presence manager that specializes in de-escalating these types of situations and bringing them to an amicable solution can offer you great help.
Why does this matter? No matter how trivial it seems to be, some uninviting or negative reviews can undermine your customers’ confidence in your products/services, more or less reducing your business revenue. After all, you must not want the first thing people see about your brand online to be one customer’s disgruntled comments on 50 message boards and review sites!
5. It Gives Your Small Business a Personal Touch
In fact, several customers do see companies and brands as “big wigs” who don’t care what they think or don’t have time for the “little guys”. When one business can prove that they are truly dedicated to building a personal touch through an online presence manager with personalized feedback, fast answers to questions, and simply giving thanks, they create a relationship with their consumers.
It goes beyond any doubt that customers with a well-established relationship with your brand are much more likely to be repeat customers.
6. You’re Not Just Telling, You’re Showing!
Sure, as a small business, you’re a great one with outstanding market offerings and you can tell your customers that until you are blue in the face…but at the end of the day, it’s still YOU telling someone that YOU are great.
Rather than JUST telling people how great, how different, how devoted your business is, show them with responsive service online, management of your reputation online, and whole-heartedly caring about your customer base by interacting with them regularly. These are all things that an online presence manager can do for you.
7. Don’t Forget to Demonstrate Your Authority
Actually, when your online presence manager maintains an appealing yet informative content publication and always stays on top of questions from consumers online, you confirm your company’s authority.
You do offer your customers the information they seek and you also let them know that you well understand your product/services as well as your industry which builds trust.
8. It’s A “Must” To Stop Poachers in Their Tracks
The competition within the ever-changing online world can be ruthless. If you don’t take advantage of your online presence, your competitors will. When your competitors have the opportunity to poach your local traffic just because you are not “present”, they can get away with all kinds of dirty tricks including using YOUR brand to get THEM traffic!
With an online presence manager by your side, you will be given a piece of mind as your dedicated “manager” will prevent these poachers in their tracks with constant monitoring of your traffic, your brand, and your competitors!
The Bottom Lines
In such an ever-evolving digital era, a solid online presence, whether in the form of a website, a social media page, a blog, or an e-commerce platform – preferably all four – is amongst the best things you can do for your small business, as well as for your customers. Modern businesses must 200% ensure that they are not left behind and an online presence manager can actually help them with that.
The sooner you hire an online presence manager, the more leads you can potentially generate and nurture! So, just take the leap, invest the time, and reap the many business rewards an online presence manager can provide!