How to Build Your Online Cred…for Real

Chances are if you run a small business then someone’s been looking for you on the internet. We live in a digital age where people like to research their options before making a decision and having greater access to companies via social media makes it easier then ever for a business to communicate to its customers.

But are you really using the internet to your advantage? That’s a point I make to a lot of clients who are hesitant about adapting social media into their marketing efforts. What they don’t realize is that the more of an online presence you have, the more credibility you have with your audiences.

That’s not to say that every company needs to get onboard with the latest social media platform. When creating your digital presence it’s always important to ask yourself who your customers are and where they’re consuming their media. Even if you already have a strong online presence, here are some things you may want to consider.

You have to have a website (or a website equivalent). Websites only work if they serve a purpose: for example, an esthetician client of mine needed one so that clients could find out more information about her services. On the other hand, a one-of-a-kind craft company I work with has such a high turnover of products that customers get most of their information- and buy most of their products- off of Instagram. Either way you’ve got to have some kind of main hub where potential customers or clients can find out more information about your company.

But If you have social media make sure you’re using it. Having one or two really great, active social media channels beats being spread too thin across many. You don’t have to post every day, but every 2-3 days is considered an active account.

Also, are you using social media to leverage your sales? Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram all offer tools for business that can help you sell merchandise to your social media audiences which eliminates the need for a website.

Make sure that people can find you in other ways. Let your Instagram followers know that you’re also on Pinterest. Maybe people who enjoy your blog want to be updated via Twitter. Just make sure that if you are hoping to attract audiences across multiple channels to make your content varied and interesting so people don’t get bored.

There are still other ways for people to find you online, even without social media. Even if you don’t have a bricks-and-mortar location it may be helpful to have a Google Business page so potential customers can find you more easily. Encourage satisfied clients to review on sites such as Yelp. Join an organization and make sure your business gets listed on their directory. Making sure your company name comes up in several different places increases visibility, boosts credibility and may even help with your SEO.

Building your company’s online reputation doesn’t have to be confined to building a website- in fact, your company may not need one at all! But by increasing your company’s digital presence and providing unique, relevant content across social media channels, you’re well on your way to building a company that appears professional, credible and on-the-ball.

Running a small business is a challenge and it’s one that everyone seems to faced with these days as companies shrink, more employees take on side hustles, and more people work for themselves. As the owner of a small business, I’m always looking for ways to manage my professional life, which I write about here. I’ve also worked in several offices, so I share some of my workplace strategies here. Looking for ideas on how to market your business? I write about that too.

Do you have your own business? Tell us all about it and the ways you manage your professional life by commenting below or emailing


The Greatest Marketing Campaign There Never Was


This little springtime marketing story is actually borrowed from a long-term client of mine. She has a large, beautiful garden that requires a lot of love and care, and it’s a huge time commitment for someone like her who is not only a professor; she also runs a small business in her free time. (You can tell why she and I get along well!) To help things run smoothly she employs a gardener to help with the general garden maintenance.

She told me this story about how a few years before I joined her company, she had found a beautiful chrysanthemum plant that had been left on her porch, along with a card wishing her happy spring. Obviously, she was touched at the gift but there was one problem- the card that arrived with the plant hadn’t been signed.

My client has a good relationship with many of her neighbors on the street so she asked around, thinking that one of them had dropped off the plant as a neighborly gift. It was a nice idea, but no such luck: none of them had left the plant, and no one had received a similar gift either.

It was spring and getting to be that time of year when the ground was warm enough to start cleaning up the yard. Normally the local gardening company she had employed for years would contact her to arrange a date for the annual clean-up. However, a few weeks went by and she had yet to hear from them, so my client took initiative and called them herself, hoping that they hadn’t gone out of business.

When asked why they hadn’t called her to schedule a date, the manager of the company responded, “Didn’t you get our card?”

“What card?” my client asked.

“The card we left with the plant on your porch.”

My client and her gardener had a good laugh once my client explained to her that they hadn’t signed the card, and the gardener admitted that it was a honest mistake to assume that my client would have known that the flowers had come from their company.

It’s a funny story but also a great lesson about making sure you’ve got all of the details of your marketing campaign managed before you execute it. The initial idea is great: for the price of leaving a glossy, impersonal calling card to drum up repeat business, the business owners chose instead to leave a unique, personalized gift as a way of thanking previous customers. But without leaving a call-to-action or a means of contacting them (let alone identify who they were), customers were left wondering whether or not they still had a gardener and whether or not they had a secret admirer on their hands.

The moral of the story? Great ideas are the way to getting people’s attention and standing out from the competition, but they’re not worth executing if you don’t get all of the details down first.

But maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe they just got carried away with all of the beauty of spring. Who could blame them?

KBwB-BFlower-50Do you have a marketing fail that you’d like to share about something that happened to a friend of yours that was most definitely not you? (Wink, wink). Comment below or send me an email at I promise I won’t name names.

For other thoughts about marketing and running a small business, click here. I’m constantly full of new stories to share!