Many people think that they do not need the help of an accountant until they start a business or work as self-employed individuals. They do understand the importance of having a trustworthy and reliable accountant when they require assistance creating financial reports, organizing their finance-related documents, and especially during tax season.
The moment they realize they needed an accountant, these people tend to go to the Internet for help. This is where your online presence comes in. You want to make sure that these potential clients will be able to find you and you can increase the chances of this happening by looking at your online presence.
If you are wondering what online presence is and are willing to take the necessary steps to boost your status on the Internet, keep reading.
What is Online Presence?
Before we go deep into the definition of online presence and how it contributes to the success of your accounting practice, let us first see how you answer this question: how long does it take to find your or your business name on the Internet? If your answer is 30 minutes or even just a few minutes, then you want to improve your online presence.
So, what is it? Online presence refers to all the contents and activity that businesses or individual practitioners have on the Internet under their name. This covers many different factors including your website, accounts, engagements, and any other details about your business or practice that can be found online.
To answer the question posed above, the first thing you should have done is to search your or your business name on the Internet. This probably showed you a few different results with similar names, unless you use an extremely unique name. If you appeared on the first page through this method, then you have a pretty good online presence.
One trick to get Google to show exactly what you are looking for, or at least show results bearing the exact wording you used is by putting the word or phrase in quotation marks. However, this may show more accurate results, but the reality is most users do not use these marks when searching.
In fact, your potential clients will not search for your or your company name directly, as they are still in the process of looking for an accountant. What they are likely to do is to look for “accountants near me” or “accountants in,” then insert their location. If you appear within the first page of the search results, then, your online presence is decent.
Why is Knowing Your Online Presence Status Important?
The problem lies when your name does not come up when entered exactly or when you try using keywords related to your practice. Remember, if you are having difficulties finding your name or your business name using simple Google searches, then chances are your potential clients are not finding you, as well.
If you think that appearing in the second, third, fourth, and fifth pages is a good enough result, then you should consider typical consumer behaviors. Technology has made everything fast-paced and the addition of the Internet has made information quickly accessible using any capable device. This definitely affected consumer behavior, which made even the most meticulous consumer impatient to find the right service provider.
Because of this, most people tend to click on the first few links for the first few accountants or accounting firms that appear on the search engine results page. Even when they enter the websites, they take a few seconds to look at the content before they decide to leave.
Aside from the short attention span caused by the fast-paced nature of technology, there is a notion that only the first page of Google results is worth looking at. This idea shapes online consumer behaviors. The interesting thing is if you did not know this before, then you know it now, which means that you will be more conscious about the importance and relevance of the results on the first page and the lack of importance and relevance of those in the subsequent pages.
The thing is this idea is not always true. There definitely are informative pages lost in the second, third, fourth, and fifth pages, but they are not shown as a top result because of poor optimization and online presence.
While you may have interesting and educational content on your website and you happen to land in the subsequent pages, your consumers would not see them because they also hold the belief that only the first page matters.
What Can You Do to Improve Your Online Presence?
So, what should you do? The best solution is to use a combination of digital marketing techniques designed to improve your online presence. You can start by doing an online presence audit. This is the process of evaluating the effects of your online activities and the strategies you implement on the platforms you use.
Before we proceed, it is important to understand that online presence has two types: owned and earned. Owned online presence is all of the aspects of your visibility on the Internet that you can control. This includes your website, social media profiles, the techniques you do to promote them, your content, and your engagement with your clients, just to name a few.
On the other hand, earned online presence covers everything you do not have control over. Particularly, this refers to what others say about you including social media posts, reviews, comments, and feedback.
Combined, both owned and earned visibility all go toward the quality of your online presence. Your name can be popular in online communities but have a negative reputation based on what people say about you or what you do on your platforms. You can also be popular with a more positive reputation and vise versa.
Now that you know the two types of online presence, you might be curious about what you can do to improve them. Here are some tips:
Optimize Your Website
Your website is one of the most important online platforms you can use. This serves as the one-stop portal for potential clients who want to know more about you and your business or practice. It carries all essential information about the accountant, their service, and even their rates. It can also contain informational materials that can boost your reputation as a high-authority site for all things accounting.
You want to make sure that you maximize your site to work to your advantage. Your search engine optimization is the best way to go. SEO is the process of using different techniques to boost your Google rankings. This involves using efficient metadata such as tags, descriptions, page names, page titles, file names, and URLs to help Google’s crawlers find your site and pages.
Increase Your Social Media Engagement
It is not enough to have a profile for every popular social networking site such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. You want to use them to the fullest by interacting with your followers through comments, reacts, and shares.
Replying to queries can also show that you set aside the time to answer questions and explain your services when needed. This makes them more aware of your business while assuring them that they can rely on you when they need you.
Create Updated and Interesting Content
Your website and social media profiles can never be stagnant. The moment potential clients see that your Facebook page, for example, has been inactive with the latest activity being a few weeks or months ago, they will bail. This implies that you have not been active on the platform and that you may not be around to answer their questions.
So, see to it that you post regularly but with not just any type of post. You want to make sure that your content remains relevant, informational, and eye-catching. To further market your services, use SEO and Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords, as well as hashtags to boost your visibility.
Do Online Presence Audits
Lastly, you can never be too complacent when it comes to your online presence. You should remember that your visibility may be high for a period, but can fall over time if you fail to do beneficial activities such as optimization, content generation, and social media marketing.
To know where you can improve, an online presence audit is a great way to start. This occurs when experts take a look at your visibility data and analyze the figures to see how your strategies fare.
Consider Using ORM
Online reputation management offers a way for individual and organizational entities to address issues they face online in terms of their image and how people perceive them, making it perfect for managing your earned online presence.
Remember that clients can leave all kinds of reviews on different platforms. Such feedback can range from high praises to reasonable negative comments, even unfair ones. It is important to make sure that you address them properly and deploy strategies that will counter the negative effects of bad reviews.
Online presence may seem like a concept used only by social media influencers but it is definitely a valid aspect of digital marketing for all kinds of businesses in all industries. To make sure that potential clients will find your services, see to it that you boost your online presence or you can seek help from professionals through a digital marketing agency.