Presence is existence, appearance, attendance, being there, showing up. Presence is attitude, charisma, behaviour, aura, conduct, personality, attraction. The word presence comes from Latin for being at hand. In short, having an online presence means existing on the Internet.
An online presence is how and where you can be found on the web. It's your online representation, where you exist. Besides web, online presence often includes other parts of the Internet, such as emails.
Online presence is much more than just your website. It's your whole existence on web and other parts of Internet. It includes your Twitter account and your Tweets, your Facebook profile and updates, you Facebook page and updates you've made there, your LinkedIn, your follows and followers and friends and contacts, your Instagram photos and captions and comments and likes, your email newsletter, your Etsy store and products, your Pinterest profile and pins... I could keep going on and on. It's everything you share online, it's everyone you follow and everyone who follows you, it's the way you describe yourself on your profiles, it's everything you write on your blog.
Your brand is included in your online presence. It dictates the way your presence looks, feels and sounds. However, brand is not an online presence. Brand is a part of it, as it is a part of a business. A good, strong brand helps creating a good, strong online presence.
The base of your online presence is, hopefully, your website. You can build your base elsewhere too, like on Facebook, Twitter or Etsy, but I highly recommend having your own site. First of all, your own site lets you customise much more than any of the other services. You can create custom content, and completely or mostly custom appearance. Then there's the fact that the social media services and such come and go. As we've seen most recently with the demise of the looping video service Vine, you never know which service will go next. Besides, as many users have noticed, the companies that own the services can deny you from using them at any time. Where ever you build your base, the other parts of your online presence will always point towards it.
Building an online presence begins with showing up. You make an appearance and start to be found on web searches, as well as on different social media services. Perhaps you create your own email list. And it doesn't end there. Showing up is only part of it. As I mentioned before, presence is, in addition to existence and attendance, also behaviour and attitude, personality and aura. It's not only passively coming by, but also choosing how you present yourself, and showing who you are. It's showing your personality, skills, knowledge, interests and values.
Your online presence doesn't stop in you. It's more than that. It's also about your contacts, the people who comment your blog posts, the people who share them, and the people who you talk with on different services and platforms. An online presence is about reaching out, as well as being there.
When you really become present online, you will actively keep showing up and being at hand.
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I'm Mervi Emilia Eskelinen, an artist and online presence strategist from Finland. I coach and consult indie businesses and bloggers to find focus with their branding, marketing and web. I have almost 20 years of experience, a bachelor's degree and some fun certifications in everything about digital media and marketing.