In the modern classic Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, hears a voice that tells him if he builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his corn field, “they will come.” For many business owners, that voice is the Internet, calling them to build an online presence. There was a time, not so long ago, when a business could survive without a presence on the Internet.
Those days have now come and gone. People no longer rely on phone directories for information about a business. Instead, they power up their cell phones, tablets and computers for details. Unfortunately, if a company fails to show up in search engine results, it doesn’t exist. That being said, the Internet represents a low-cost method of advertising products or services. With the advent of social networking, a message that reached only hundreds in years past now has the potential to reach millions. In order to successfully harness the power of the Internet, businesses need to formulate comprehensive social networking plans. Before you start drafting your plan, consider the following questions:
Does my business need a website?
A personalized business website can serve as a foundation for your Internet presence. You can control your business’s message and its content. Obtaining a domain name is a simple process, and there is a wide variety of web hosting plans to suit any type of business. There are also companies that can develop your website. Remember, when it comes to websites, content is everything. Update your content regularly, using keywords – words and short phrases related to your business – on your web pages for search engine optimization. Properly worded content can increase the chances links to your website appear in “organic” or natural search results.
What is the best social network to join?
Most businesses open accounts with Facebook and Twitter to maintain relationships with their customers and clients as well as to attract new ones. There are other social networks gaining in popularity, and specialized social networks limited to certain groups are also available. If you already have a website, blogging is another avenue to connect with clients and customers. The keys to successful networking are consistency and knowing your audience. There is no reason to have a social networking account if you don’t use it. In your plan, decide if you want to post messages or blogs on a daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. Some businesses develop content months in advance so it is readily available. The type of messages is also important. Some audiences like constant updates while others only want emails when a business releases a new product or launches a new service.
When you decide to expand your business to the Internet, you will invariably collect and use information from visitors to your website or social networks. It is crucial to develop and post website usage and privacy policies for your users. These policies will communicate what type of information you collect and how you use it. Some states have laws prescribing what businesses must disclose in their usage and privacy policies. Attorneys that specialize in business transactions are well-versed in the language needed for your policies.
The digital age has arrived. If your business has made or is going to make a commitment to have an Internet presence, a little planning now will help ease your transition into this constantly evolving frontier.
The Law Offices of Terry L. Gilbeau provides personalized counsel to clients in a variety of business and personal matters, including creditors’ rights, debt collection, products liability and international transaction issues. His office is located in Rocklin, CA, just outside of Sacramento, CA, near Roseville, Lincoln, Auburn, in Placer County and can be reached at (916-626-5539) or email Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for the firm website http://www.gilbeaulaw.com/