What business doesn’t want to expand its online influence? As your influence grows, so does your profit margin. But that can’t be the only reason you’re participating online.
Today’s successful Internet businesses are not merely transactional but relational. They build trust by interacting with their customers and providing relevant information. In short, they care, share, and listen. And it’s this attitude that wins loyal customers, harnesses the power of referral, and establishes your company as an authority in the marketplace.
So how can you create that kind of influence? Commit to being a leader in your field, share your knowledge and experience, and offer inspiration.
Be a leader. Don’t be afraid to have a point of view. You know your business, service, or product better than anyone else. And you know what your customers value and the demands of the marketplace. Take a stand and become a leading voice. Carve out a niche and be visible and vocal online.
Share. Freely share what you know and what you’ve learned. Become a reliable resource for your audience. You can quickly establish yourself as an authority by informing, teaching, and offering free tips to your customers. This is also one of the easiest ways to build trust and grow customer loyalty. Giving away valuable content increases your following, and these followers will in turn spread your brand far and wide. This almost always translates into increased revenue. Whatever method of communication you choose–blog, podcast, video–share good content and do it consistently.
Inspire. This goes hand-in-hand with good content. Don’t just use your online platform to talk about you, but connect your product or service with the needs of your audience. Be willing to be a part of your customers’ stories. If you’re a realtor, you could offer a free report called “10 Decorating Tips Before You Put Your Home Up For Sale.” Or if you operate an HVAC company, you could offer “10 Tricks to Lower Your Air Conditioning Bill.” Contribute to making the lives of your customers better or more beautiful or more interesting. Have a story worth telling.
Generosity has its own rewards, of course. But one of the side benefits is that it expands your reach and increases your influence. And in business, this can convert customer interest into loyalty and sales.
Is your business cultivating an online presence? If so, what are you doing to reach your audience?
* Photo Credit: Victor1558 (Creative Commons)