A digital footprint is the information about a particular person or business on the Internet as a result of their online activity. Everything you do on the Internet leaves a digital footprint and each of these is stored and adds up to your overall digital footprint.
This can be further defined by meaning the various representations you have on the Internet and the activity you perform within each representation.
Your representations could include your website, your social media accounts, blog etc. then how often you perform an activity within each of these. For example the number of times you post on Facebook and even down to what you post e.g. reposting or original content.
Personal vs business footprint
As a business it is also important to consider the personal digital footprint of you and your staff. This not only includes activity on social media accounts but also the websites visited.
Is your digital footprint important?
Well yes it is. The larger your digital footprint the better chance you have of being found on the Net when someone is searching for the services offered by your business. However, just as importantly it needs to be a positive representation of your company because once you put yourself out there online it is very, very public.
Over time our persona on the Internet builds and builds from the websites we visit to our social media activity and emails we send.
Just as importantly, as a business, you need to be aware that your personal profile on the Internet and the personal profiles of your staff could affect your business’s digital footprint. The internet is all about collecting data and serving it back to users to give them the best possible result matching what they are looking for as well as making it easier for businesses to market to you. Part of this is extending the digital footprint by building connections from one online profile to another. No matter how personal and private you might think your profile is never post anything online you would not be comfortable having linked to your work profile.
It is also important to note most website will collect information about you using cookies so don’t think you are necessarily anonymous when visiting a website.
You want your business to have a large digital footprint but it must be a positive one. Of course no matter how hard we try there is always a chance someone will leave a bad review about your business on the Internet and they might not even be a customer but simply a malicious person. There is a right and a wrong way of dealing with this situation and there are things you can do about it. This will be addressed in a future blog post.
How can you improve your digital footprint?
The best way is to consult a digital marketing professional such as Spinoff Digital as the list of things you can do is quite extensive. However here are a few basics:
- Encourage clients to leave positive Google Reviews.
- Make sure your website is well optimised to rank on Google Searches.
- Post on social media regularly and often mixing it up with some reposts from a larger source such as a newspaper site while also posting some original content.
- List your business on appropriate online trade directories.
- Monitor social media and Google reviews answering any negative reviews with a standard non-confrontational response.
If you are active on the Internet, and you have to be, you are going to be leaving a footprint trail so make sure it is a positive one.