Online Presence: Footprints in the Sand, Leaving Your Own Star Trek

Star date: August 10th, 2012

It appears business is suffering all over the world. World governments are struggling to hold it together. Markets are volatile and currencies are in critical condition. Unless something drastic happens, the outlook is grim. It’s up to us to make our online presence felt. Maybe…just maybe…if small and mid-sized businesses work together, they can repair the mess their larger siblings have created.

That sounds like a monologue you could have heard Captain Kirk utter at the beginning of every Star Trek episode, except this isn’t some sort of science fiction/fantasy created by Gene Roddenberry.

With the establishment of the internet, businesses today understand they have to have an online presence. There are so many free tools out that make this possible. Of course, the internet can be expensive as well. I’m not going to focus on the more expensive methods to create your online presence.

Many business owners don’t have a clear and concise understanding how the internet works. They figure they’ll hand their money to someone who “knows” what they’re doing. I’ll try and simplify things for you. When you walk on a beach you leave tracks. Sometimes, you have to follow these footprints in the sand to find your way back. Other times, folks are forced to follow those same tracks to find out where you’re heading and where you have been.

The internet is the beach. You have to leave those footprints to make it easier to find you. Eventually, there are so many tracks that folks have no problem finding you. In many cases, they’ve already memorized your tracks. When that happens you’ve created your very own star trek.

Social media outlets are some of the best sources to create those footprints. Most are free to join, however there are a few exceptions. The major outlets, however, are all free to join. Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Youtube, Twitter, etc.

The problem is, with so many sources, it’s hard to keep track. With so many options, which ones do you utilize?

Think of it, in terms of offline and online networking. Most of us are all familiar with offline networking. We join the chambers of commerce, so we can stay connected with what’s happening in our communities. We try to get our business seen and/or heard by as many people as we can. We hand out flyers, business cards, free samples, etc. Why? We’re creating our brand…our offline presence.

Online marketing is almost exactly the same.

What would Captain Kirk’s footprints look like online? He’d connect with folks everywhere he possibly could. He’d save their emails and phone numbers? His contact info would be everywhere and he’d constantly inform his network of what he’s up to and where he’s heading next. He’d share information about his network with new friends and colleagues, as well as his past acquaintances. In short, his footprints would provide in depth detail about his star treks.

I highly recommend staying up to date with your networks. Let them know you’re interested and stay informed about what your colleagues are up to. This is often the best way to find fantastic new tools and devices, you’d otherwise never know about. At least, not until it’s too late.

Just because someone accepts your connection or friendship, whatever you want to call it, doesn’t mean you just sit on it. You’ve got to create that relationship. Why should they care about you, when they’re just a number to you? In short, they won’t. Then when you send them your offers, they’re thinking less of you already. That’s not a great way to develop your online presence.

There has to be value in your relationships. I’m sure many aren’t even aware that when they share information between one another they’re actually creating footprints for their businesses. In social media, while we may not physically see it, our messages can often be used by the network itself to gather and share information with several sources.

Interaction is a great way to create your footprints. Post a picture with a clever detailed tag, post a video with that same detailed information, post a keyword rich blog, join a chat, attend an online event, etc. Remember, with the internet you can be as creative as you want. More importantly, you have to provide details. Your online presence needs those footprints for your own personal star trek.

You’re never alone, online. Keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll find all the help you could ever ask for.

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