Starting your own business is a major project. There are numerous commitments, investments and organizational considerations to make. It is easy to overwhelmed when starting a new business an overlook one of the fundamental needs of a startup. Many business owners understand the necessary investment in marketing, however, in today’s marketplace, marketing and public relations are very different. A business — e.g. Veriti Consulting — can quickly grasp the importance of the internet and social media. A majority of consumers get their information online, whether through a traditional computer or thru new mobile technologies. Likewise, media outlets are going to rely on web sources when researching news stories. If you want to get your company’s brand and offerings in front of the public, you need to have a strong internet presence.
Even those managers who understand the importance of a solid web footprint may not understand how to establish an online presence for their business. They instinctively understand that the web makes marketing both cheaper and more immediate, but they don’t know where to start. It is actually much easier than they think. Whether starting a new business or managing an existing company, here are some guidelines to establishing a basic online portfolio to use for marketing and public relations.
Start by creating a website for the company, product or service – say fitness marketing. You can do this before you even establish yourself as an LLC or alternative corporation status. It’s easy, and in many cases extremely affordable. Visit various hosting sites, such as GoDaddy, Bluehost, Ipage and others. Some sites include free email, website templates and greater storage capacities. Depending on the size and resources of your company, you’ll want to compare price options accordingly. The site doesn’t have to win an award to be the best for your company, though that does testify to their quality. Depending on the size of your business, you may decide to design and maintain the site yourself or hire a professional designer and website manager. Make sure that the resulting design projects the image you want for your company.
In addition to creating a website for your company, you’ll want to establish your name, and associated product or service, with various social media sites. This is actually a great benefit to public relations in addition to another source of marketing. You can create a strong positive reputation based on your various postings and comments. Just be sure to keep your Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other pages professional in both appearance and content. It’s extremely important, especially for small businesses and freelance contractors to maintain the distinction between personal and professional site modes. If you’re planning to have both a personal and professional page, remember that they’re both available to the public and whatever you post can have an impact on your overall public image.
Public relations in 2012 means interacting with the public. Social media sites such as the ones mentioned, as well as Twitter and others are excellent ways to communicate directly with your consumer and maintain a connection with them. You can respond immediately and directly to questions, requests and even complaints. Remember that the manner in which you handle these situations will be publicly displayed and available in internet archives potentially forever. This makes dealing efficiently and appropriately with a complaint an opportunity to display your ethics and professionalism.
The internet is providing greater opportunities for both marketing and public relations than most people ever imagined. If you’re a business owner, manager or independent professional, you’ll want to make the most of these opportunities.