Your digital footprint refers to the traces you, and more importantly, your business, leaves online.
Comments you’ve made on social media, things you’ve bought online, ads you’ve taken out, blogs you’ve written, articles written about you– all of this and more contribute to the growing portfolio of history that your business needs to gain credibility. More than ever, the public perception of YOU and YOUR BUSINESS heavily relies on your online presence. Sometimes, you can influence that perception by promoting the activities you’re proud of. Sometimes, bad press sticks and can negatively affect your web persona. The more information available for Google to pull from, the more you are able to steer people to the information you want them to read about you.
When performing a digital footprint assessment, an auditor (like me!) will evaluate your site against a checklist of digital footprint best practices. These best practices govern subjects like social engagement, consistent posting and updates, content effectiveness, and ratings, all of which affect how often your accounts and your business is recommended to and mentioned by others, and how trustworthy you are perceived by your target audience. As a general rule, businesses that post reliably, answer questions and complaints, engage users directly on social media, and otherwise respond to stimuli will have a better footprint.
Nowadays, your online presence is the “face” your business presents to the world. Consumers have limited dollars to spend, and they are more likely to spend with a brand they trust. Research shows us the average buyer will vett a brand via nearly five different touch-points (4.9…..close enough!) before making a purchase, and most of those channels (review sites, social media accounts, websites that recommend you) will have something to do with reading others’ opinions of you. If you want to convert viewers to buyers, you need to entice return visits to your site and accounts, and make sure you embrace reviews and referrals. Most importantly, your online reputation needs to accurately reflect your brand, lest you alienate potential revenue.
What’s more, social media ads are often cheaper and more effective than other forms of internet marketing, giving you just about the greatest ROI imaginable relative to the minuscule effort it takes to deploy them. For example, Facebook ads deliver 9x higher click-through rates on mobile devices than display and search ads. When you consider that the average cost-per-click of a Google Adwords campaign is $1-2 (that’s per click, remember), while the average Facebook campaign costs just $0.27 per click, it’s clear that a healthy, highly-invested-in social media footprint will help your business thrive. As of 2016, mobile commands fully 12% of the total time people spend consuming media, so it pays to be pushing out content users will want to engage with when they’re out, about, and not focused on shopping.
A digital footprint assessment typically looks for three things:
At minimum, a digital footprint assessment needs to tell you about three things:
The most important thing to remember about your digital footprint is that developing it takes time, effort, and consistency. In order to pull in prospects, you need an audience, and you need that audience to trust you. That trust is fostered by a strong and pervasive digital footprint that they can relate to. Don’t worry if you don’t get a good score right away.
As you continue to produce content and more people link to your site, your digital footprint will change. It’s best to have a digital footprint assessment done at least once per year, to make sure you’re still employing strategies that makes sense for your ever-evolving identity.