When you search for a product, a seller or a service provider, you rarely visit the yellow pages anymore. And sometimes, you’re even too lazy to ask the people around you. And why should you? Search engines such as Google can easily provide with answers to almost every question, need, or want you have. Need to have flowers delivered? Search online. Need the number for the fastfood delivery service? Search online. Need a new phone or laptop? Search online. Want that coveted limited edition comic? Search online.
In this day and age, it is a must for all businesses, offline and online, to have an online presence. Businesses from different industries have their own website, forum, page, or blog. Or they hire or work with content managers and writers to create content about their business. It is not anymore a frivolous or vain thing to have and maintain. It is a must.
And not only must every business have a website, page, or blog… it must be a good one with all the necessary information that a potential customer, buyer, or investor needs. More importantly, it must have a contact system through which they can contact you. And you, the business owner or manager, must be able to answer all queries with due haste. And appropriately and professionally. No matter how stupid or nonsensical the inquiry might be.
And yes, you must include social media tools in your online presence. Facebook, Twitter, and other sites can greatly help you grow your business IF done properly.
Not only must you have a good website with good content and great feedback mechanism, you must also be aware of what people are saying online about you and your business. Businesses must know online business reputation management or must hire somebody to help him with it. Why? Because no matter how great your website is and how wonderful your customer service is, one angry customer can bring business down with an angry post in a blog or forum somewhere.
Having an online presence is definitely a must if you want to grow your business. But for it to be effective, you must make sure that it is done properly and it is backed by great customer service and a measurable amount of online reputation management.