Your online presence is who you are online. It includes what you do, where you do it, and even when you are present. In total it is how you are perceived by those who find you online. To be successful you need to know your why and then develop an effective program to bring it all together; to establish your online presence!
Let's look at the individual questions that add up to provide us with the required answers that get us started on our journey of success.
While none of these can be considered totally in isolation, the first question that must be answered is who you are going to be online. In today's paradigm, where trust is paramount, and direct engagement necessary, it is important to be honest about who you present yourself to be. Creating a fake persona is difficult to maintain and can bring your whole operation crumbling down like a house of cards.
OK, you are going to be yourself. So why is there any question? Well, the real question is which real self will you be? If your purpose is just to explore and have fun online, then you can be fun-loving, or timid, or outgoing, even outrageous! Be the character your family and friends know you as. That's OK. But if you are going to conduct business online, things are likely to be a little different.
Your business persona shouldn't be fake; of course not. It should, however, be tempered, molded, to your business model and most especially to suit your target market. You can be yourself, but mostly be that part of yourself that suits the nature of your business and the people you wish to engage around you. Don't be fake, but watch and groom the edges.
What you present online is as important as the persona you choose to best represent you. Choosing content that supports and extends your purpose is critical to your success. Whether it is original material, or sharing content from others, you want it to be representative of both you and your business. It must support the character and the purpose of what you are doing online.
Once again, you don't want to be fake. Fake it 'til you make it is a fool's narrative. Replace that idea with practice until you perfect it. Research. Read. Study. Learn your craft and deliver the right stuff. What you present is an elemental part of a good success strategy.
At first it seems hard. There are so many social media sites, so many online opportunities, so many... it all seems just too much! But it really isn't, at least not if you have done your homework and understand who your target market really is. The first thing you realize is that you will need to go where those people hang out. That narrows the field considerably.
Next, you need to have a plan which includes an outline of the time you will spend online. Whether it is a little or a lot it will determine quickly the number of places you can be -- at least if you expect to be effective. This really is one of those times when less is often more!
Select online venues one at a time and try them. Explore, share, engage, but don't pitch, sell, or push. Find out who is there first. And then give openly to the group. Answer questions, share information, ask questions, explore ideas. Don't sell. Become noticed for your engagement. Draw others to you. Become the go-to person in your field.
When to be online, when to post, when to engage, should be obvious but results suggest it is difficult for people to target good, let alone best, times to be active. Once again, don't look at yourself for the answer. The best time is when the people you want to reach, those who represent your target audience, are online. Personal interaction is better than just leaving bread crumbs. But bread crumbs are okay too.
You may find that you need to modify your personal schedule -- your time with family and other related chores, even sleeping -- to make specific blocks of time available when they best match your online presence needs. You can automate some of it, even hire some of it done, but nothing will replace YOU in the equation. You need to be available in person at key times.
There really are two sides to this one. The "why" behind your being in business, and the why of developing an online presence in the first place. In the first instance it is your key purpose and needs to be both meaningful and well understood. It's not just to be successful or to make money, but what does success mean to you and what will you actually do with that money -- why do you want the hoped-for outcomes?
The other side of this is the "why online" -- you need to understand what you actually hope to accomplish and what the various platforms and avenues of the Internet juggernaut can do for you. When you make choices (places, services, posts, promotions, etc.) you should understand why you pick the ones you do. If you are just shooting in the dark, with no specific outcomes expected, you will really have no way to monitor results and your outcomes will tend to be empty.
This is really the crux of it all, and it is more than can be written in a paragraph or two. In fact, it is what this website, and the Wiz's personal commitment, is all about. It starts with a plan of action, builds upon the foundation of a domain name, a hosting account, and a self-hosted website. And then it expands into a full online presence that embraces key social media platforms, perhaps selected selling venues, even mailing lists, reports, and ebooks.
Ultimately you will develop the tools, mechanisms, and resources to market your brand, your products, and services -- whether that be through an ecommerce or professional website, one or more third-party selling venues, social media, a large or select mailing list, or other means. It takes a comprehensive and cohesive online presence to make it happen.
And that brings us back to the online presence thing... or at least to its foundation. Once all the planning is done and the other choices made, t is time to decide on domain name, professional hosting, and website. Since you are here at WizardsPlace I am just going to expect you will be using WordPress. You will want to watch each of the following videos to begin to understand the key foundational elements of your own online presence.
Click each of the links below in turn to open the indicated video in a new tab or window. Close that tab or window when you are done to return to this page.