In today’s business environment, it’s hard to underestimate the importance of having a strong online presence. Between search engines, social media, and email, the online world is going to be one of the best ways for you to find new customers and recruit people to join your following.
However, often times when we talk about a brand’s online presence, we focus on how we can improve it. We spend a lot of time thinking of new ways to maximize the current formats to expand our reach and generate new leads.
In general, this is good. But it’s equally as important to regularly step back and audit your current online presence. This will help ensure that you each step forward you take isn’t followed by two (or more) steps backwards.
But there many more reasons why you should be taking to the time to audit your internet presence, and here are some of the most significant:
If you’re going to be anything, then it needs to be consistent, and this is especially true when you’re dealing with your online presence.
You can never really be sure where a person will come into contact with your brand. It might be on your website, a review site, social media, the newspaper, or wherever else you’re active.
As a result, you need to make sure you’re conveying the same thing about your brand at each and every digital touch point.
To do this, you need to audit your internet presence. This is because each time you branch out into a new form of digital marketing, you’re likely to tweak your strategy slightly based on what you’ve learned from past efforts.
This is a great way to grow, but it can cause your message to drift, and before you know it, you could be sending multiple messages to your audiences, which creates confusion, erodes brand authenticity, and makes it harder to build affinity.
When doing an audit for consistency, go through your different online accounts and ask yourself what message people are going to walk away with after having engaged with you on a particular platform.
Be critical of yourself, as this is one of the only ways you can account for the wide range of perspectives that people bring to the table.
In general, it’s okay for there to be some variation, but anything that is significantly different from your main brand messaging and identity needs to be changed or at least updated so that you can be sure your marketing efforts are having the intended effect.
Preventing Future Breakdowns In Consistency
Its’ not hard to see how correcting brand inconsistencies can be a costly and time consuming process. As a result, it’s smart to try and find ways to prevent this from ever happening.
Here are some things you can due to ensure your branding is always consistent:
- Hire a brand coach. Consultants who specialize in branding will help ensure that all content you produce is on-message, preventing you from having to rework things down the line.
- Create brand guidelines. Create a specific outline that details exactly what you expect from your branding. This will help employees responsible for creating content know when they have gotten things right and when they need to rework what they’ve created before publishing.
- Focus on employee engagement. Your branding efforts will resonate more when employees are committed to it, and this means that your company culture reflects your brand. Consider making some changes to boost employee engagement, as this will help people internalize the brand, which will prevent issues in consistency moving forward.
The double-edged sword of the internet is that anyone can say anything. This is a huge win for free speech, but it also gives a microphone to anyone who wants it.
The wide range of voices out there can create real problems for your brand, if you’re not careful. Someone who may have had a bad experience with your company, or who thinks they had a bad experience and who wants to use it to get attention, can write about you and create some negativity around your brand.
An audit will help you identify where and when this is happening, giving you the chance to address it whenever possible.
For example, if you find that someone wrote a bad review about you, it might be a good idea to read why they had a bad experience and then respond.
You may not succeed in changing the way that particular person feels about you, but you will help provide some context for future readers, which can make them empathize with you more when they come across a negative review or comment.
In addition to review sites, you’ll also want to spend some time searching about your brand on Google. Most people will do this when they find out about you, so you want to make sure there isn’t anything damaging out there.
If there is, you’ll want to address it. This can involve several different things, such as reaching out to the person and asking them to take down what they’ve posted, or engaging in an SEO campaign designed to push that bad search result off the first page and into search engine oblivion, aka the second page.
But no matter which strategy you pursue, it’s important you know what people are saying about you on digital platforms, and the only way you can do this by performing an audit of your internet presence.
Another reason to do an audit is to make sure the time, effort and money you’re spending to maintain this digital presence is really worth it.
Far too many brands keep throwing money at Facebook campaigns knowing that it is “important” without stopping to analyze the returns this investment is providing.
If it’s not already, make sure your Google Analytics page is set up and that it’s tracking all the relevant pages on your site. Then spend some time going through the data it collects to find out how people get to your site, what they do when they arrive, and whether or not they are converted into customers.
This information is invaluable for both helping you determine the efficacy of what you’re currently doing, but also for helping you figure out how to get better moving forward..
For example, social media may be doing a great job at driving traffic, but it’s not producing the same conversions as search engines.
This is a common occurrence, largely because people may click on something on social media out of general interest. But people who search for something on Google or some other search engine are often further along in the customer journey and are therefore more likely to make a purchase.
Knowing this would allow you to focus more energy on SEO, which will be better for the company as it will drive more sales. But you’ll never get this type of insight unless you spend time doing an audit of your internet presence.
Audit Today. Evaluate Constantly
If it’s been a while, then start thinking today about launching an audit of your internet presence as soon as possible. But then once you do this, it’s important to establish systems that will constantly evaluate your internet presence.
This will help you keep your finger on the pulse of the company, making it easier to address issues and jump on opportunities when they arise.