Welcome to my guest today, Alexzandra de la Iglesia. She is not only an accomplished business author and speaker, but also CEO and founder of Small Business Academy. I was delighted she was willing to share a post about online visibility she wrote recently for her own blog, The Small Business Café.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Find a way to set your business and yourself apart from others in your industry. You do not need a ton of cash to do this. Just get yourself and your business noticed by those who shape opinions in your niche market. These “Opinion Shapers” could be someone in your local area, someone online, or even someone in the national media depending on who your target market is. An opinion shaper is someone who is active online or in the media and followed by your target audience. We are not talking about your competitors here, but rather individuals who are equally passionate about your particular industry. You need to be aware of them and connect with them. They can help you tap into the audiences that you have yet to reach which can help drive leads towards your business and bring visitors to your business. Every industry out there has influencers. Your job is to learn how to find them.
So how do you do that? You are looking for people respected for their opinion. They are a trusted authority who adds value with the content they create and share. Start by looking for opinion makers in the media such as journalists and bloggers that write about your business field that are active online and may be willing to share your content to their followers.
Now that you know who you are looking for, you will need to make the most of the tools available to find them. Several paid services are available that will provide in depth analytics and draw out the crucial influencers for your industry. However, if you do not have the budget for this here are a few free tools and tactics to help you.
Klout is a great resource for finding influencers with a simple search. In the search bar, type in your keyword and the most search terms. A list of top influencers will be generated. This can take some trial and error when picking the right terms. The number beside each profile image is their Klout score – the higher the number, the more influential they are, although this isn’t a perfect metric, it is helpful for getting a rough idea.
Google+ Communities and LinkedIn Groups
Once again, with both of these networks a simple search will do. Find Communities and Groups relevant to your field and do a little research into the members – who are they and what do they do? How many connections do they have? Do they update and share content other than their own?
I am a big advocate of Twitter chats. These are hash tag discussions that take place at a given time where people come together to discuss a particular topic. Influencers are likely to either participate or lead these chats, and so they are well worth tracking down.
Get Noticed Online
For many entrepreneurs, the ability for your customers to find you online or other businesses is critical for success. However, when just starting out, paying to advertise a company website may be too costly. As an alternative, I recommend using free methods to attract visitors.
For instance, you can improve your site’s visibility in search-engine results, a process known as search-engine optimization, or SEO, by tagging specific terms as so-called keywords in the coding of a website. In addition, you can work to secure referrals in the form of links from other sites. It’s very difficult for someone to just stumble on your website, but when you have other people linking to you, who themselves have a following, that’s how you get new visitors.
Keep in mind that the job may require some trial and error. You may find that some keywords are more effective at driving traffic than others. What’s more, terms that are popular for describing a product or service can go out of style over time. You will want to change things up weekly.
Don’t forget about social media. About 40% of a site’s traffic comes from Facebook and Twitter business pages as well as from websites and blogs.
There are several free tools including Social Mention and Topsy where you can type in your brand name and look at where your website, business, product, or services are mentioned across the web. Alternatively, you can use a social media dashboard to monitor mentions. Tweetdeck lets you set up columns for your brand name and relevant terms so that you have a real time update of any mentions on Twitter.
How have gotten your business noticed? If you have a tip that has worked for you, click on the Facebook icon below and let us know. You can also add your questions or comments below this post. I read everyone and answer as many as I can personally.