Gaining exposure online by leveraging the internet and social media platforms is not just for big business with substantial budgets or internet experts. Small businesses and individuals can simply and cost effectively gain a following and raise their public profile. Artists, writers, bands and other creative enterprises can also successfully use the simple strategy explained below.
1. Have a website
Having your own personal or business site has several advantages.
You are easy to find (by customers, fans etc.)
Information about your offering and activities is freely available all day, every day.
It is an exceptionally cheap way to gain exposure for yourself and your brand.
If you don’t already have a website, don’t worry. A basic template-based site can be set up with little or no technical knowledge. Providers such as Weebly, Joomla, WordPress, Google and others will give you the facility and tools to create a free sub-domain website e.g. yourname.providername.com. Should you prefer to have a top level domain (TLD) site e.g. yourname.com (recommended as it looks more professional), then your provider should be able to sell you a domain name for a reasonable annual fee. There are also third party providers that can sell you a domain name and redirect (point) it to your sub-domain address. To the public this looks exactly the same as a top level domain.
2. Create and write a blog
A focused, interesting and frequently updated blog is a great way to share news, opinions ,etc. with customers, supporters and fans as well as get your message out to the world at large. Your website provider should give you the facility to easily create a blog (or even several blogs) as part of your site.
3. Have a fan page on Facebook
Your fan page should be used in tandem with your website rather than instead of it. If used correctly a fan page can drive substantial internet traffic back to your website.
4. Have a Twitter account
Use it wisely though, Twitter can be a terrible time waster and productivity destroyer if used incorrectly. Tweeting every mundane detail of your day may be a nice distraction from your work and real life and may even gain you some followers, especially those with voyeuristic tendencies. It is unlikely, however, to gain you valuable and profitable contacts. As with Facebook, Twitter should be used mainly to complement your website and as part of your overall strategy.
5. Set up your blog to update your Facebook page and Twitter account
The simplest way to do this is with a Facebook application called NetworkedBlogs. Once installed and set up correctly this application will publish the title, first few words and a link back to any new blog post that you write on both Facebook and Twitter. You will not need to log into either as this is an automated process. Anyone clicking on the item for more information will be automatically redirected to your website, thus creating instant traffic.
6. Respond quickly and politely to comments on your blog, whether posted directly on your website or on Facebook & Twitter
The greatest benefits from having an online presence come when you engage and share ideas with other users. Your blog can position you as an expert in your field. Being open to criticism and freely communicating with others will build trust and a loyal following.
Used correctly together the elements described above (website with blog, Facebook fan page and Twitter account) are a simple yet powerful way to build a following and gain exposure online.