In the lead up to the launch of our new website, we conducted a bit of an audit of our current presence on the internet. You might be surprised to know that we have more than 50 branded user accounts and directory listings. From the common stuff like our Facebook page and our Twitter account, through to industry association pages such as our Australian Web Industry Association listing. But one that stands out to me is our acceptance as a Brands of the World brand.
If you don't know, Brands of the World has the world's largest collection of freely downloadable vector logos - so being accepted means we are now listed amongst a worldwide community of fellow designers. This is only one many examples of how a brand can be positioned online.
During the audit, we became aware of how daunting the task of managing this presence can be - particularly if you aren't as savvy as we geeks are. Do you know all the places your brand appears on the web? Did an employee set up some accounts a while back and now you can't remember your login? Do you have old listings in places you have forgotten with an old phone number or address that you can't change? We know this happens because we did!
But more important than simply taking control of your web presence (which you should do immediately) you should consider having a well thought out strategy about where you will appear, who will manage that presence, and why you need to be present in those places. Do you need to appear on the Bands of the World website? Probably not! But we do, because we are design geeks.
At the heart of your web presence should always be your own website
You have the most control over it and its where people can learn the most about your business and what you offer. But you should also carefully consider a strategy to expose your brand across the broader web through main stream platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube or GooglePlus. Having a presence in these places helps build your brand by putting your content in front of more people, in places they visit frequently.
If you haven't already, questions you should be asking are where should we be on the web? why should we be in those places? how are we going to achieve this? who will manage this broader web presence in the future? what are we trying to achieve by building a web presence? The question of what are we going to achieve by building a presence on the web is an interesting one - often people dive in to setting up an account with Facebook or similar and then ask why are we on there?
A web strategy should be tailored to each business individually, as one size definitely doesn't fit all here. Keep in mind that whatever you choose should be kept to a size that you will be able to manage. If you are the only one in the office who knows all the logins and you set yourself a goal of posting to Facebook or tweeting 3 times a day will you be able to keep up? Probably not! On the other hand a strategy that is right for you, and manageable over time, is well worth putting some time and effort into to build a greater web presence for your brand.
We know - we have done it - that's how you ended up here reading this post!