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How many Jamaican businesses have a good online presence? Some business operators may say that they have a website. Others might point to their email addresses. Still, others might ask, what do you mean?
Functional Website to Boost Online Presence
A good online presence is vital for business survival these days. However, businesses should not rely on a dormant website. In a global space occupied by billions of websites, a dormant site won’t cut it. Also, a website built during the stone age is just as bad a representative for your business. Jamaican businesses have suffered lost customers as a result of a non-responsive website, missing contacts, and non-existent online alternatives for customer connection.
Over the last 10 years, significant innovations occurred in the world of websites. If your business does not catch up with these innovations it will be left out in the cold. For an effective connection with customers as well as growth and profitability, your business needs a functional website.
Although a functioning website is important for business, this is not the only tool for the online arsenal. Social Media platforms have dominated the way businesses communicate with their customers. So, to try to have an online presence without social media would be a gross and costly mistake.
Here is a quick glimpse of the data for Jamaicans who use social media. Data is provided by Statcounter.com. It reveals that from the approximately 800,000 Jamaicans who are mobile users or have access to the internet, their online use during May 2019 is
- Facebook: 73.15%
- Pintrest: 15.48%
- Instagram: 3.56%
- Youtube: 3.37%
- Twitter: 2.62%
- Reddit: 1.41%
These are good data for businesses to know. They can use this information to leverage their presence online. But, what are the options that Jamaican business could try?
Popular Online Platforms for Businesses
Popular social media platforms that are good for business include
This social media platform is a great way for professionals and business operators to meet each other and connect. It also allows for sharing of content and ideas, collaboration on projects and tasks, and for recruiting staff. With approximately 500 million members, in 2017, this social media platform is a huge audience for your business networking efforts. If your business is one that provides products and services to other businesses (B2B) then LinkedIn is the perfect solution. On this platform, businesses can promote their products and services, strengthen connections with other businesses in their industry and in related industries, and reach decision-makers in their niche. A LinkedIn account is free to set up, but for full features, the business must be on an upgraded plan.
Not only is Twitter the favourite social media platform for US President Donald Trump, but it is also a major resource for businesses to connect with clients. With over 300 million active monthly users, Twitter is also a huge platform for content marketing. If your business has information to give to customers, Twitter provides a quick and easy way to let it out. The main drawback in using this social media platform is ineffective targeting. To get the right persons to see your content, you must use hashtags relevant to your brand. You can get people to notice your business through Twitter. Also, it helps by putting a human touch to your brand – tweets are coming from you and not automation. Furthermore, tweets from Twitter engage your clients in online conversations. A Twitter account is free and easy to set up.
Online Presence with Facebook
Facebook has come a long way since it was launched in February 2004. It now has many useful features that allow businesses to promote products and services and connect with clients. In 2017, Facebook has more than 2 billion active monthly users. This is a massive platform for business promotion. To get the most out of your promotional activities, however, you would also need to target the users who will see your content. Facebook is a cost-effective way to promote your business and reach clients. It is also an efficient way for customers to reach out to your business and receive customer support. This social media platform is also designed to enable increased user traffic to your business’s website using your website address link. As with the other social media platforms, a Facebook account is free to create.
At first, Instagram was meant for sharing personal photographs among friends. The platform, however, quickly evolved into a multi-purpose medium that businesses can also use. With over 800 million monthly active users, Instagram is another useful online resource for marketing your business. Instagram has useful features such as live video streaming, hashtagging, and location tagging. Your business can reach out to followers with useful and positive content on this platform. On Instagram, businesses can leverage content generated by users including their clients (User Generated Content or UGC), increase interaction with consumers through hashtags, and share behind the scenes information for customer engagement. An Instagram account works well for mobile users, which is the fastest growing group of social media users globally. To set up an Instagram account is also free and easy.
Another solution to improve your business’s online presence is SlideShare. Unlike the other social media platforms discussed so far, SlideShare is strictly for business users. With this social media platform, that has 80 million professionals who are users (in 2017), your business can share presentations and other documents. Generally speaking, SlideShare is a convenient sharing platform for professionals and business operators to share information and build their knowledge.
With over 400 million active monthly users, Google Plus is another platform that your business should use. However, it is currently underused by business content marketers. Notwithstanding this level of use by businesses, Google Plus offers another useful alternative for creating a strong online presence for your brand. One of the best features of Google Plus is its effectiveness with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Whatever content you post within Google Plus, once properly optimized for search engines, it will rank high on Google. Your business gets noticed quickly and easily.
What would it take for you to invest in a strong online presence for your business? The social media platform options discussed are all free to set up and use. The main budget area will be in the creation of engaging and effective content. Whether the content is blog posts, videos, or images, you would need to carefully create these for distribution on whatever social media platform you choose. It is important to maintain a high standard in everything you do on social media, as every post, tweet, upload, and swipe represents your brand.
Also, regardless of whether your business is a brick and mortar outlet or an online store, your brand must compete with businesses that use online media. Otherwise, without a strong online presence, your business will be left in the dust.