Samuel Agyeman-Prempeh’s thoughts … Footprints: Starting the journey on building an online presence for your brand


Before you read this material any further, I recommend you go to Google now and type in your name. Yes, do that now before we proceed. When you input your personal name or business name on any search engine like Google, what do you find? Is that the kind of information you want the public to know about you?

Do the search results give enough details to make customers first know what products or service you offer to even want to start a conversation with you? Well, I tried the search too: not only did I input my name or business, I went further to search with keywords that relate with what I do. What did I find? Does it leave gaps in what I want to communicate online? I realise I have some extra work to do.

Well, let’s find out about yours too. Knowing what you do and the kind of business you are into, what keywords will people who do not know your name search for when looking out for someone who offers what your business does? Just pause for a minute and look that up right away.

You are not alone. Just like me, you may not be satisfied with your search results and its potential to attract leads for you. We are not in this alone; the realisation for many people the world over to take our online presence seriously has been emphasised more in recent times. I wouldn’t say it’s long overdue, but certainly the time to start is now if you have not placed much importance and effort into translating what you do in your brick and mortar office onto the virtual space.

When we talk of online presence, what do we mean exactly you may ask. First of all, we are not only talking about your engagement on social media platforms – although this now forms a critical part of our discussion. The conversation of an online presence converges around the actions you take to get your name in the minds of your clients and create awareness for what you offer. Essentially, it is about building your business on the Internet.

How easy is it for your brand or company to be spotted on the web? Having a good online presence has a way of putting your brand on top search. When you are first or among the first on the minds of your clients, you have already gained an edge over your competitors.

The obvious challenges indeed exist; you may have to spend valuable time to achieve what you want. You may even wonder if it’s worth the effort – and sometimes, depending on the scale of what you are doing, you may have to spend some money investing in graphics or adverts. This, nevertheless, should not discourage you, as you will come to notice that individual and corporate brands that are optimising this space are not immune to these difficulties; only, they have patience to wait for the fruit to grow.

To put the foregoing into perspective, an online presence cumulates your name, person and the identity you have built in the virtual arena. It includes how you sell your products on the Internet by creating visibility and establishing reputation.

Here are three important road maps to get you started:

  1. OGs

In a 2018/2019 Premier League game between Chelsea and Tottenham, Kieran Trippier in his defending role absolutely misinterpreted a signal or rather intentions of Hugo Lloris and swept the ball beyond his own goalkeeper into the net – an action thast led Spurs to embarrassingly lose the match.

Scoring own goals (OGs) in football or any other sport can be metaphorically considered as an action that backfires on the individual or company undertaking it. Players who score own goals thrust themselves and their team into nightmares, guilt and shame as they are usually credited to the opponent’s score.

In your journey to build an online presence, it is important to have an objective so that all your efforts will be guided in that direction. Without knowing and understanding what you seek to achieve on the Internet, it is possible to have your actions backfire on you.

What you are doing online should be gradual steps in achieving a personal or business goal. When you are mindful of this, your tendency to set off in the wrong direction is reduced. Very importantly, you will not be intimidated by the actions of others. What you have to do is track your progress and be steady toward accomplishing your goals.

  1. Evolve

All over the world, except in Antarctica, butterflies are ubiquitous and dominant in the tropics. The intriguing observation anyone can make of butterflies is perhaps their beauty; but one more striking thing is how they change with time. Their origin and diversification is indeed a peculiar one. Caterpillars don’t stay as they are; they transform into moths or butterflies. Even adult butterflies keep changing too.

It’s one thing getting started on your journey, but it’s another to keep going. One guiding rule is to keep showing up as often as you can on your chosen platforms. Be intentionally active and engaging, interacting with clients. Don’t make a post today and show up a year later for the next one.

When you see a comment on someone’s post that you have an answer to, what prevents you from responding? Attempt to be a person of value. Although you ultimately want to sell and make money, it is prudent not to put it in the face of people. If you have expert knowledge on a subject, share. Add value to your followers as often as you can. As you do this, you learn, unfold and become more attractive; and then when you make a post about your brand, it flies like the butterfly.

  1. Mingle

Oprah Winfrey has not read any of my books yet, but I’m pretty sure she will soon. Let’s just imagine her reading my books – say ‘Hello Intern’, ‘Career Advantage’ or ‘Courting Greatness’ –   and recommending it to her followers! I’d become a millionaire in a second, and I’d be doing book-signings back and forth. You feel like telling me to keep dreaming, right?

In the online space it is challenging to succeed on your own, so you need to build good relationships. Find individuals who share the same interest as you and join their pages; follow them, like what they like and interact with their posts; you may be gaining traction with such efforts.

It’s easy to relate with like-minded people, so they may be the first group of persons you will be attracted to. In addition, try to find a community of people that use your products and engage them as well.

Very importantly, we may not all get Oprah to endorse our products or host us on her platform, but there are certainly many people online who have stronger platforms than you. When any of these people host you, they become your Oprah!

So, court valuable relationships with such persons who have a stronger presence than you; chances are they will invite you as a guest on one of their sessions, mention your products or business – and if they don’t, what do you lose by asking them to? So, mingle-smart to increase your brand visibility.

>>>The writer is a corporate trainer and professional ghost-writer assisting busy executives to write and publish their books, articles, and speeches. He has served as Head of Protocol at a diplomatic mission, Corporate Affairs Officer at a French multinational agribusiness and as Events and Media Correspondent for a digital ad agency. You can contact the author via: [email protected] or[email protected]

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