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Kick-starting your online presence

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We’ve written several blogs advising how to elevate your online presence once you’ve set it up, but we’ve had people question where exactly they should start if they have little to no existing online presence.

It’s likely that even if you haven’t set up any form of social media or digital channels yourself, you’ll still have an online footprint based on other people’s posts and reviews of your business.

Kick-starting your online presence

Build your reputation based on online reviews

Any existing reviews of your business are good place to look to when kick-starting your online presence. Looking at what other people have said about you in reviews can give you a good idea of what people think of your brand and a rough idea of what your audience expect from you, and who they are.

If you’re in the hospitality industry, encourage your guests/customers to leave you a TripAdvisor review. Most people see TripAdvisor as one of the most reliable sources when deciding whether or not to visit an establishment, so the more good reviews you have, the more likely you are to gain bookings.

Invest in good visuals

The very first thing you’ll want to invest in if you’re starting your digital presence from scratch is a set of high quality images, branding and graphics. Once you have a bank of visuals, you can continuously use these across your whole digital marketing strategy. If you’re a hospitality business, high quality visuals are of high importance as you need to visually delight your customers.

If you’re not quite at the stage where you can afford a professional photographer yet, it’s possible you could find user posts on social media from your establishment and request you use them for promotional purposes (make sure to credit the user though, of course).

Get a website that looks good and works well

Next, you’ll need a website. One of the first places people will look to find you is through Google Search and even if they land on your social media profiles through this search, they’ll expect to be directed to a website at some point. Therefore, you’ll need to provide them with a website that incorporates all your photographs, branding and graphics (for brand consistency).

The website should be well designed so it looks good and is user friendly, to establish your business as reliable, authoritative and desirable to potential customers. It’s best to save up and invest in the highest possible website you can - preferably with an in-built booking system and the ability to process debit cards. This will save you money in the long run, as you’ll soon realise if you invest in a cheap website, the payoff won’t be particularly high.

Move onto social media

Once your website is in place, moving onto social media would naturally be the next step, as you can use social media to drive people to your website where they will hopefully make purchases/bookings. Facebook and Instagram are important channels for hospitality businesses to exist on since they’re both very visual platforms. If you only have time to focus on one platform, Facebook would be the most worthwhile with the biggest pay-off if you keep it updated regularly, promote offers and events and create tailored ads to grow your audience and increase brand awareness.

There’s many other aspects of digital marketing you’ll want to add to your strategy over time as you become more established and people expect you to be more present online, but as a rule the above points are generally a good place to start.

If you're kick-starting your online presence, explore all the posts on our blog to discover how best to approach your digital strategy.

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