Embrace digital, and do it properly.
Embrace digital, and do it properly. Blainey Woodham

Navigating digital: What you need to know, what you don't

THERE are few small businesses that couldn't benefit from a digital presence, but for many it's overwhelming. Here are our tips on ensuring you are reaching the right audience, and not wasting time on content that will not grow your business.

1. Understand your market

As part of your business plan, establish who it is you're trying to sell to. Is it purely a business for locals and those passing through, or are you wanting to reach and/or sell to people in far flung places?  What age group are you aiming at? Once you know your market, you can tailor your digital presence to suit.


2. Do I need a website?

A website is essential if e-commerce is part of your strategy, because this is where people will come to load up their cart with your goodies. A website is also recommended if you are promoting your business with information (who, what, where, when, why) that remains fairly static.

There are companies offering DIY web sites for those with a medium level of skill, or you hire an expert to create one for you. Keep it simple, and hire a writer/editor to ensure your words, grammar and punctuation are sharp. It shouldn't cost you too much to buy a domain name and a few stock photos, and have people write, edit and build a basic two or three page website for you. 

3. Facebook

A lot of small businesses are using Facebook as their only digital presence, which can be risky, as the Facebook layout is not an ideal showcase for your company. It's also striking how many of these businesses don't use Facebook properly, such as a restaurant not having its menu, location and opening hours in a prominent position. Invest in a good Facebook strategy and you will see results. 

4. Instagram

Instagram is good for attracting a younger audience and promoting your products with pretty images, if your business involves things that look nice (cakes, clothes, plants, art, travel, beaches, etc).

Both platforms allow you to engage with your followers and that's what social media is all about - opening up a two-way street of conversation.    

WIN: one-on-one strategy session with Naomi Simson, worth $10,000 HERE.

5. Updates and engagement

The digital world is a beast with an endless appetite, and it's easy to lose valuable hours trying to create new content. When a business launches the temptation is to overwhelm with words, videos and/or photos, but this enthusiasm often wanes after a few weeks or months, as owners struggle for something new to say or photograph.

Keep a schedule with your posts (e.g., every Monday at 10am, or every afternoon at 1pm) and use social media as a vehicle for driving business with exclusive offers (e.g. 20% off all dresses from 2-5pm today).

Depending on how crucial your digital presence is to the survival of the business, put time aside each hour, day, week or month to prepare and execute your social media strategy.

Also, if you allow comments to be posted, remember that you can be held responsible if the comments are defamatory. If you don't have time for this, invest in someone who does. 

6. Curation

In order to ensure your website looks fresh and up-to-date, you need to curate it by removing or archiving content that is out of date. There is little as woeful as the homepage of a business advertising an event or sale that was on three years ago. Not only does it not generate business, it makes it seem like you don't care.

7. Images

Do not just copy images from a Google search and use them on your website. Photo agencies have software that can detect the use of copyrighted images, and you may find yourself being hit with a large bill for using a copyrighted photo.

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