When was the last time you picked up the Yellow Pages to find a reputable product or service in your area. Chances are, you can’t even remember. When you needed to find someone to find a new florist or car mechanic you did one of two things. You either asked a friend or family member for a referral, or you turned to the Internet.
Which is why it is critical for business owners to have strong online identities; branding yourself online can help your potential customers find you where they’re looking. If you’re a business owner who is still asking “Why Twitter?” that is one reason: to increase your online visibility. Think about it: the tweets and photos and status updates all create a massive digital footprint that tells potential customers what you do. Each time you post on your blog, update your status on Twitter, Facebook, or Slideshare, you are leaving virtual breadcrumbs leading potential customers back to your website to learn more about your business.
As you leave your virtual trail, remember to add something to the larger conversation. Choose the conversations you want to be a part of and take the lead. Inform your contemporaries on the latest products to hit the market. Showcase the latest methods. Write your own analysis of the most cutting-edge research. Once you capture your audience, continue to feed them helpful links to videos, articles, blog posts—valuable information that they otherwise would have missed. Make your followers come to you for information and see you as an indispensable resource. Do this by being relevant and timely, and filling a need; by leaving behind information that you would want to stumble upon yourself.
Here are six specific ways to create an online trail that will lead your ideal customers to you.