8 Steps to Beating the Big Brands – Step 4: Digital Footprint

If you aren’t online, are you even doing business? Like some millennials who practically live online say, “Post pictures, or it didn’t happen.” If you aren’t online, you are pretty much irrelevant to a huge market segment. These days people and businesses are online more than ever so it’s imperative for businesses to leave a digital footprint. Times are changing and if you aren’t online then you are living in the past. You need to take ownership and make sure you have an online presence.

Creating Your Domain
The first step is to create your own website for your customers to visit and reference. You need to pick a URL for your website; go to www.whois.com to check if it’s available or request transfer if someone has it.

If the URL is taken, you will have to ask the current website administrator for hosting to be transferred. You will have to use your credit card to purchase the URL and make sure your email is added to the account. You will want to ensure hosting offers redundant server back-ups and security update notifications as well.

Social Media
Social Media is another aspect that is incredibly important. When creating social media accounts, it’s important to determine what platforms your customers are on so you can focus on those and not waste your time on platforms where you would be speaking to an empty room.

For social media, you will need to be the first to claim the pages or handles for your business’s name. If it’s already taken, try slight variations of the Twitter or Instagram handles, but make sure your name is still recognizable to your customers.

You will want to claim your Facebook page so your consumers can check-in to your page when they visit your business. This allows their friends to see that they visited your business, and will hopefully create brand awareness and new consumers. Also, you will want to eliminate duplicates or user-generated Facebook pages; to do so, simply file complaints to Facebook and they should be able to help.

Online Directories
Another important factor for creating a digital footprint is online directories. You will want to select five to ten directories to update and monitor. If you need help identifying directories use www.yext.com. The following are some of the popular directories:

• Yelp.com
• Google Places
• Local.Yahoo.com
• Chambers
• Angie’s List

It’s important to prepare materials for these directories in advance of updating and schedule time to revisit them quarterly. Some of the materials you will want to include in the directory are:

• Brandmark
• Address and Phone number
• Photo or video
• Short description of your business
• Special offer

You also need to manage your reputation so it’s imperative to monitor your consumers’ reviews and comments. Don’t forget to highlight your positive reviews from the directories and social media platforms.

By following these guidelines, you will be on your way to creating a deep digital footprint for many years. Tomorrow, we will unveil the fifth step to beating big brands.

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