The road to finding your voice in a saturated webspace isn’t an easy one; it requires a combination of perfecting the basics and keeping ahead of the new, all while remaining authentic and patient along the way.

By Hannah Whitfield

When every man and his dog (and his business) has an online presence, trying to engage with your audience can feel like shouting across a packed out baseball stadium. 

While 27 brass bands are playing. And there’s a thunderstorm. And everyone’s wearing ear muffs. 

Read on for our tips on nailing your social media presence, why you should invest time in your website, and what to look out for next: 

Be Smart with your Social Media

Start by working out which platforms are actually valuable to you. Does a law firm really need an Instagram account, for example? Don’t spread yourself too thinly: it’s better to nail one or two platforms than to try to cover them all.

Once you’ve decided which platforms to focus on, it’s time to build your following. 

In a world of polished editorial shots and ads with offer codes, authenticity stands out for all the right reasons: 

  1. Harness the power of user generated content (UGC) – If people are endorsing your business, share it! Shout about it! This is called social proof, and it’s hugely engaging.
  2. Connect with your audience – If people are chatting with you, or about you, get involved and interact. Showcase the people and personality behind your accounts.  
  3. Post, analyse, adjust, repeat – Collect data on everything you post, whether it’s an ad or organic. Learn what works, and repeat it. 

Remember that your audience’s feeds are already cluttered. Stay patient and consistent, and you will start to see results.

Stand out with Strong SEO

Don’t put all your eggs in your social media basket. It’s a risky approach. Not only are you overlooking all the other ways your customers are trying to find you, you’re also putting your business’ success in the hands of another corporation. Instagram owns all your Instagram content, for example. Your account could theoretically be deactivated at any time, without warning. 

Not simply having, but prioritizing your own website is critical, and making one has never been easier. Any traffic you can get to your site organically (i.e. through a Google search) has much higher intent than traffic generated from social media ads – plus, it’s free. 

So how do you make sure your site is found? It all comes down to the quality and relevance of your content, as well as how good your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is. SEO is all about how easy your site is to be read and categorized, or ‘crawled’ by Google’s robots. 

Here are a few ways you can keep your site SEO-friendly: 

  1. Keep your site speed down – Make sure you compress all your images before uploading them, and limit the number of gifs and videos you add to any one page.
  2. Think mobile first – Make sure your site adjusts to fit a mobile screen. The mobile user experience should be as good, or preferably better, as that of your desktop users. All the best ecommerce platforms and website builders offer fully voice-activated mobile-responsive templates as standard.
  3. Optimize your content – Find the terms people are searching for (aka ‘keywords’) that relate to your product or service using a tool like SEMrush. Sprinkle them sparingly and naturally throughout your copy to signpost its relevance to Google. 

It has never been easier to connect your site with your social media. Buttons are old news; now you can add an Instagram gallery to the bottom of your homepage, embed your Twitter feed and monitor your sales and inventory across multiple social platforms. Like peanut butter and jelly, one enhances the other. 

Stay Ahead of the Curve

Standing out is all about staying one step ahead, so here’s our hot tip: voice search is set to be the new mobile search.

Let’s take a look at the stats. 

In 2018, 17% of internet users owned a smart speaker (such as an Amazon Echo). A further 34% planned to purchase one in the near future. A massive 20% of mobile Google searches are made using a virtual assistant, such as Siri (which, let’s not forget, only launched in 2011). 

Optimizing your site for voice search will help keep you ahead of the curve. Adopting a conversational tone in your copy is a step in the right direction, but also keep an eye out for the launch of ‘speakable structured data’ (currently in its BETA phase). 

Standing out in today’s saturated webspace certainly isn’t a competition for which business can shout the loudest. 

Be smart with your social media, and invest time and effort into platforms you have full ownership of and control over. Read up on emerging tech and trends, and think about how you can incorporate them into your business.

The online world is a fast-moving one; staying one step ahead (by optimizing for voice search, for example) can be the difference between shouting until you’re hoarse, and switching on a microphone. 

Hannah Whitfield writes for Website Builder Expert, the number one resource for getting people online. Behind every successful online business is a sound knowledge of SEO, and Hannah wants to bring you the latest developments that’ll keep you one step ahead of the competition.

Search stock photo by Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock