[guest post by Sarah Smith]

Building your online presence will create your brand awareness that could otherwise not be achieved. As millions of people now rely solely on the Internet for their research on businesses, if you fail to build an online presence, you will be failing to build your brand or have a reputation that doesn’t match what your business actually does. The following are five branding strategies that businesses of all sizes and types can utilize when learning how to brand your business:

Utilize the Skills of a Successful Web Design Company

Every business, no matter how new or old, should constantly be evaluating their website to see how well it is meeting the needs of their clients and customers. Utilizing the skills of a successful web design company can quickly change your outcome. It may be that the keywords you used in your page titles are no longer relevant to your business and need to be changed or it could be that your content is simply outdated.

SEO is Still Crucial

For years, search engine optimization (SEO) has received a lot of hype, especially from social media management companies. Many people have underestimated its value in creating a marketing strategy for their businesses and, if you were to analyze them, you would find that all the hype is not wrong. SEO is still and, probably always will be, a crucial part of your success in building an online presence. The right keywords incorporated into your title tags and content will make it much easier for your potential clients and customers to find you.

Set Up Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a tool that can quickly prove its usefulness to your business. It is easy to set up an alert so that anytime your business is mentioned or one of your competitors, you can be aware of what is being said. This tool will allow you to stay on top of what is being said about your business so that you can remedy anything that needs your attention.

Social Media Comments

Utilizing a variety of social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, will only be advantageous to your business if you actually interact with people on them. Always be aware of the notifications you are receiving from your social media accounts. If a potential client asks you a question in response to one of your posts and you ignore it, you are potentially giving them the idea that you do not care. Notification awareness is crucial as part of your strategy.

Get Listed in the Right Directories

Do an online search for your competitors. Which directories are their businesses listed in? Are your competitors easier to find than your own business? The key to creating a successful online presence relies on your ability to be found online. Apply for the largest directories and the directories where your competition is listed. No matter how large or small your business is, you want to have it listed right beside your closest competition.

To learn how to grow your business online, you first need to understand how the various search engines work. The Internet provides you with the opportunity to build your business brand, but only if you use it correctly. If you are not well-versed about the inner-workings of the Internet and the algorithms used by the top search engines, you are not alone. This is why it is crucial to utilize some of the tools that have been created by those who understand them. Whether you hire someone to handle this part of your business or you take the time to learn it yourself, the important thing to realize is that this part of your marketing strategy is one that cannot be ignored or it will have an effect on your online presence.

** About the Author: Sarah is a small business owner currently learning about marketing, using the internet. Aside from working on her own business, she likes to use social media and read travel books. Find her on Twitter.

What is your social media strategy? Share with us in the comments or on Twitter @flow_reader!