In our internet-driven world, it’s more critical than ever to have a robust online presence. Establishing your brand online used to be as easy as building a website, but in today’s technological world, you need to have a more significant voice online to stay visible and viable. This means refining your public relations strategy, being active on multiple social networks and having a comprehensive website outfitted with a consistent blog.
In the dictionary, “digital footprint” is now defined as, “a unique set of digital activities, actions, and communications that leave a data trace on the internet and can identify a brand.”
The use of social media for marketing is continuously evolving. Businesses used to go about posting on social media as if it were a daily chore, making sure to post at least once a day, so their account appeared active. Today, successful brands use social media to communicate their story, engage with their customers and even handle customer service or media relations. Paired with a healthy ad-spend budget, social media platforms have evolved into revenue building forms of effective communication.
Establish An Active Versus Passive Branding Strategy
Creating a digital footprint takes time, effort and planning. It takes more than a strategic roadmap for all of your social media postings to be successful. You need to ensure that your content is enticing consumers to interact with you so that it becomes an engaging conversation. You want industry leaders, social media influencers and the general media to take notice of your brand. This is what creates a measurable digital footprint that earns your brand a powerful reputation. You want to get other people talking about you in a positive light online through social mentions, articles or collaborations. Consider adding a digital footprint strategic roadmap to your business plan (or vision board if you don’t find value in a business plan).
Calling attention to yourself might seem second nature to you, or it might take you a bit outside your comfort zone. If it’s the latter, get ready to become an active participant in building recognition for your brand. How do you become an active participant in creating your brand’s digital footprint? Seek out top influencers in your industry. Follow their content and offer your voice and opinion. Use tagging or hashtags to get their attention and the attention of their followers. You should also follow and open up a line of communication with local media influencers and journalists who are possibly looking for a story or interview in your field.
Another way to build a larger digital footprint is to become a contributor to a blogs or media outlets such as Huffington Post. Get your name and company name into some bylines, get links to your website or social media accounts and become “internet famous” within your niche audience.
When I shifted my attention from generating revenue to building my personal brand, my business acquired new customers more effortlessly. At this point, customers are eager to work with me because I have appropriately established myself as an expert early in my company’s existence. Consider establishing yourself as an expert in your industry early and watch your cost to acquire new customers decrease drastically.
Content Is Still King In 2018
It is safe to say that between the internet and smartphone usage, your customers are consuming more content than ever. Content is now an essential way to learn, connect with others and increase credibility. Make sure that your digital media plan for 2018 is full to the brim with high-quality content that tells a genuine story about your company.
Short video content was the overall winner in business regarding consumer engagement in 2017, and it’s on trend to continue this level of success in the year to come. Highly noticeable and aesthetically pleasing graphics will also boost your engagement. You will want to use both to tell your story in a variety of ways, tailored to the type of media expected on each social media platform you are on. The best content can be spliced, edited and repurposed for a variety of uses and audiences. A viral video, GIF or meme can boost your footprint overnight.
Monitoring Your Digital Footprint In 2018
Planning, creating, sharing and engaging are undoubtedly essential activities, but you won’t be able to see your results without monitoring your brand’s digital footprint. Traditionally, marketers exclusively observed their number of followers or subscribers to gauge their success. More recently, brands have been focused on engagement activities (likes, comments and mentions) more and more. You can also monitor how often your brand is being discussed by others online using free tools like Google News Alerts. I also use Google Search to monitor specific date ranges to catch new media mentions that might have slipped between the digital cracks.
If you don’t see massive growth in your digital footprint, revisit and revise your digital content and your level of activity. Are you waiting for others to engage with you, or are you adding your voice to the vast sea of conversation that takes place online? Look for public relations opportunities, get involved with the community and, above all, tell your story in a meaningful way that makes consumers connect to your brand on a personal level.