Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Establishing Your Online Presence Without Social Media

Whether you are ready to leap into the world of social media or not, people are already talking about you online—and they may not be saying what you want them to say about you. It might not be that they are saying bad things; they just might not be saying what you want them to. By establishing your presence online you are able to influence what people are saying about you, by framing who you are and what your business can do for others.

There are two types of online profiles. In previous posts we discussed interactive profiles (aka social media) and the basic elements of an online profile. This post discusses non-interactive profiles (aka static profiles), places for one way sharing of information; you talk and your audience listens.

Some static profiles to consider are:
  • Online Business Directories: These are like listings in the phone book except they are online. Many postings are free and many sites may already post your information from what they can find out about you on the Internet. Start by doing an online search for your name and see what comes up. If you find yourself or business listed then you can then “claim” your profile and update your information. You can also create a profile on other popular business profile sites. Take a look at YellowPages, Goldbook, Hotfrog, Manta, CanPages, and ZoomInfo. Also take a look at listings that professional associations you are affiliated with may have. Be sure to record your login information for posting updates. As well, make note of the sites that have interactive features such as reviews and recommendations. You can encourage your happy customers to recommend your business for other customers to read. 
  • Website: A static website is a traditional website that posts company information and/or articles. It may or may not be updated frequently and differs from a blog in that it does not include any interactive functionality for engaging your customers—although some static websites do link to a blog hosted on another platform or other social media sites such as Facebook.
Social media profiles take time to maintain on a daily basis, but static profiles take time to set up initially, and then require maintenance only when something changes about you or your business. I recommend setting up profiles on as many free static sites as you can so your customers can easily find out what you have to say about your business wherever they look.

Miranda Vande Kuyt is a self-employed project and communications consultant. She is also the facilitator of the "Look Before You Leap: Self-Employment Survival Strategies" online course through