The 5 places you need to be online and why, part 1

Benita Samuels is a visibility expert and the founder of Visibility Solutions Group. In her more than 30 years of experience in brand marketing, she has worked with global organizations such as Nestlé, Pfizer and Liberty Mutual Insurance, private companies such as Forbes Magazine Galleries and numerous start-ups during the launch. and growing their brand. .

Recognized as a strategic thought leader, Benita has overseen countless digital and traditional campaigns, from complex website development and social activations to integrated campaigns for brands such as S.Pellegrino Natural Sparkling Mineral Water, Playtex Baby and many more. others.

Today, Benita leads a team of category experts serving the marketing needs of her clients, promoting and speaking about the importance of being seen digitally. She says having consistent and relevant online business visibility is becoming increasingly critical to business success.

I had the opportunity to interview Benita recently. Here are some highlights:

Jill Griffin: You present yourself as an expert in visibility and a strategist in social engagement. What are you doing exactly?

Benita Samuels: I was an early adopter of internet technologies, working on early brand websites and SEO. While effective at the time, this approach expected consumers to seek them out via search.

As consumers fully embraced the internet and joined social sites, marketing shifted from search to social media and content distribution to where we are today. Visibility – presenting yourself digitally to the right audience at the right time and in the right way – is now the desired outcome. It’s a fairly new term in this context. As a visibility expert, I help businesses become more “visible” through various online platforms and social media sites instead of relying on promotional and paid advertising. The principle is simple: greater visibility equals greater opportunity.

Successfully increasing your visibility requires a highly strategic and carefully orchestrated approach where best practices are applied. This approach includes understanding where you already present yourself in the digital and social media landscape, developing a clear strategic plan to increase your online visibility, and then applying your strategy through steps. concrete things that take you from invisible to visible.

For any business to grow, a more effective digital presence is essential because its target audience goes online first for information and resources. I help businesses struggling with digital and social media generate increased visibility that leads to qualified leads and customers. Ultimately, I teach them how to embrace and leverage this knowledge to connect and engage with customers, communities, partners, and potential allies online.

Griffin: Our readers are mainly business professionals. What kind of visibility do they need in business?

Samuels: Today, consumers don’t go looking for you, they just go where they want to go online and see who shows up there. You want to know where you show up, how you show up and even if you show up where your customer is looking.

This is where the philosophy of the Foundation of Five comes in. Simply put, there are five places you need to make yourself visible:

1. Brand website

2. Personal and Professional LinkedIn Profiles

3. Google My Business listings

4. Business directories

5. Recommendations and opinions

Let me explain how and why you want to focus on these five places.

First and foremost, you must have a website; a business without a website will lose opportunities and ultimately sales. The web has a far greater reach than any other advertising channel. Your website will be the center of your business’s online presence. This is where you market your business online and establish your credibility. Every type of communication, piece of content, or lead source you put online should be designed to bring the consumer back to your website. Your website should be search-optimized, mobile-friendly, and offer valuable, original content. It validates the legitimacy of your business.

Let’s talk about LinkedIn, the most used social site by professionals and the #1 social platform for generating qualified leads. Your customers verify your profile before taking any other action. Visibility on LinkedIn exposes your business to potential clients, recruiters, and job seekers. It drives more traffic to your website than other social platforms. Launched in the wake of Facebook, LinkedIn has positioned itself as the professional social network. Today, 98% of recruiters have hired a job seeker from LinkedIn. This is why LinkedIn tops the list of social media sites.

Next, make sure you have a Google My Business listing. Google loves Google and will elevate your business above others in searches through your listing. This is a free tool for businesses to manage their online presence on Google, including Google Maps. Installation takes about 10 minutes. Listings appear on the right side of Google pages and can display important information about your business, including hours, contact information, and your website address. You can post professional content; it is even the main source of customer reviews.

Fourth, you must be present in business directories and listings. These listings increase your search relevance, act as a referral resource, and put you in front of your desired audience. Contact the person who compiles the directory for each local and national organization and networking group you belong to – their members are your audience.

This fifth and final one is extremely important – online reviews. Your client verifies you online before contacting you and a positive reputation goes a long way. Word of mouth marketing has always been the foundation of lead generation; digital platforms have exponentially amplified the volume and reach of these essential recommendations. Ask your customers to write reviews about you and your business.

Your website and LinkedIn bleed through your Google My Business listing, through your directories, to your reputation. They are all connected, forming an interwoven foundation for your digital success.

Griffin: I understand why a website and why listings and reviews, but if I don’t have a storefront, why should I have a Google My Business listing?

Samuels: You absolutely should. Historically, Google only allowed physical businesses to have a listing, but that has changed. Take the chance. When registering, simply indicate that your business does not have a physical address.

Griffin: Why LinkedIn and not Facebook? I thought LinkedIn was about putting your resume online.

Samuels: That’s where LinkedIn started, but today it’s so much more. In 2016, Microsoft bought LinkedIn, recognizing an opportunity for professionals to create their own network, regardless of location. They extended the platform to a content distribution vehicle that gave professionals a place to collaborate. When they use LinkedIn to share your knowledge, readers are 62% more likely to connect with you because they feel like they already know you. Not that Facebook isn’t valuable, but LinkedIn connects you with professionals who are also consumers.

Griffin: It looks like there could be a bigger discussion here about LinkedIn?

Samuels: LinkedIn is my social platform of choice and yes, in itself, LinkedIn is unique compared to other social platforms. When used strategically, it is quite effective in shifting your social connections into sales conversations.

Griffin: Well, you piqued my curiosity. Let’s save LinkedIn for our next discussion.