7 Ways to Nurture Your Online Presence

We send off our writing projects, grateful they’re done. We forget them and move on to the next project.

This would spell doom when it comes to our online presence. The worst thing we can do is ignore our social networking presence and website.

I like miniature rose plants, but I only buy them at a deep discount because they die in a matter of weeks. One day, I decided to be a little more attentive. I took one plant and transplanted it. I’ve been watering and fertilizing it on a regular basis. It is now ready to bloom for the third time!

The lesson here is that I take a little time to nurture it and give it what it needs to thrive.

dead rose
Usually, my miniature roses whither and die.
healthy rose
Look what happens when I pay a little attention.

Here are seven ways to nurture your online presence so it continues to bloom:

Start Small

Unless you have a staff to monitor and maintain your online presence, start with a nibble instead of a chomp. Have a website of about three pages and choose two or three social networking sites that will best connect you with your target audience. This will give you a good idea of the time you will need to maintain things properly.

If you try to do too much too quickly, you end up getting overwhelmed and will do a poor job. You can always add things, but it is difficult to cut back.

Strive for Quality

If you always try to give your audience your best, you will stand out from the crowd. Remember that your online presence sets your reputation. Sometimes one well-written blog post a month is better than two poorly done daily. Just be consistent to meet audience expectations.

Add New Content

Social networking sites are great for telling what’s new with you. However, don’t forget to update your website, too. A website that is too static, that never changes, gets outdated quickly. Sites like Twitter are great for up-to-the-minute micro-posts. Facebook and LinkedIn are good for promotional posts and sharing. Blogs provide an opportunity to share information to a more interested, targeted audience. Websites are a more permanent presence providing a base of operations.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Make it easy for yourself. Connect your updates. You can update your blog post with an automatic link to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever. You don’t have to spend time posting to each site. You can also tap into social media management systems like Hootsuite.

Just make sure the links actually update. I’ve had problems with my blog not being updated on LinkedIn and had to go back to reconnect.

Budget Time

Like exercise, we look at our online presence and say, “I’ll get to it later.” Schedule regular reviews of how you appear on the Internet. All it takes is an hour a month to check your look, what your analytics are telling you, and what you need to tweak.

Consider Professional Help

You may need to hand things over to professional content managers. This is a big step because you lose total control of your content, which may affect your online reputation (just ask Shaquille O’Neal).

There are several questions to answer:

  • Is it economically feasible? (Will you make more money concentrating on your core services and products than what you are paying for the help?)
  • How much should you hand over? (Can you have someone just write major content and provide images?)
  • Can you trust those providing the service? (Is it a real person or some faceless organization? Do they have your best interests at heart or theirs?)

When someone else is working on your online presence, it is vital to continually monitor what they’re doing.

Never Just Walk Away

Sometimes life forces us to end one thing and move on to a new adventure. Don’t just walk away from your online persona since it could be in cyberspace forever. Let your audience know what’s happening.

A while ago, I tripped over a blog post that really interested me. I went to the author’s site and realized she hadn’t posted anything new for three years. But she had left a message explaining why.  She didn’t just walk away, and I felt better that she hadn’t abandoned me.

Just remember that a little time and effort goes a long way toward making your online presence thrive.

This concludes the series “7 Critical Content Concerns.” Anyone in the Charlotte, North Carolina or Rock Hill, South Carolina area can join Annette for her workshop “Design Your Online Presence”  2 p.m. Saturday, November 14. The Forward Focused workshop is held in partnership with Sunscribe Publishing and Happy Accidents Painting.