When it comes to creating an online presence for your business, there are a few generally agreed-upon standards across all industries: a well-designed website, social media accounts and responsive customer service. But if you’re following a set of broad guidelines like these without considering your specific business needs, you may be missing the mark.
“Not only is every business unique, but each one evolves and changes over time,” said Eric Mason, director of communications at website builder Wix. “One size doesn’t fit all [for best online practices], and in fact, one size doesn’t fit any dynamic and growing business. While there are certainly core fundamentals every [company] should consider when creating, managing and growing its business online, each needs to carefully balance these against its own very unique audiences, resources and goals.”
David Brown, chairman, CEO and president of website builder Web.com, agreed that building an online presence needs to be guided by the wants and needs of a business’s customers, especially when it comes to its social media strategy.
“Social media [use] should be evaluated to ensure you are using the channels that make the most sense for your brand,” Brown told Business News Daily. “If it’s a retail business, Pinterest might make sense, but if your business is more B2B focused, LinkedIn might be the right channel.”
To figure out the right social media strategies, Brown advised looking at which channels your customers are on and how they use each of them. For consumer-facing businesses, popular consumer sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest should serve as platforms for driving traffic to your website. To expand their reach, local businesses should also work on building up their presence on sites like Google Places, Yelp and local online directories, Brown said.
Even your online customer service tactics should be tailored to your specific business functions. While all companies should have a way for customers to reach them quickly and directly, self-service is a key component for Web-based businesses. This was the case for shipping application programming interface (API) EasyPost, whose founding team quickly learned that spending time fielding customer queries was inefficient for business growth.
“We started to grow, but found that our website wasn’t ‘self-service’ enough,” said Sawyer Bateman, EasyPost’s product designer. “It was great to have customers, but we spent six to eight hours a day on support. We made a major push to improve documentation [of customer issues] and make sure customers could do everything they needed to do on the site.”