Our Digital Footprint
We have many footprints: the ones in the sand, dirt prints on the house floor, our Carbon footprints... and our digital ones. It takes a lot of different influencers and environments to create all these different footprints. There are no two that are made the same way, nor are do we seek to create them all in a similar manner.
Some footprints we don't want at all.
We can agree, however, that having a digital footprint is vital in today's world.
A Digital What?
What does "digital footprint" actually mean? According to the web (where we have it), a digital footprint is the trail of data you leave whenever you use the internet. Some consider it to be your metaphorical breadcrumbs. Whether it is done purposefully or unconsciously, any time you go online, you are contributing to it.
The Digital Hows:
Despite how sure we can be of our journey, it can be hard to know just what has the strongest influences on this footprint as it is cultivated in multiple ways. Especially since it is every time we use the web, there are some things we want to be given more weight than others.
Our digital footprint could be considered more important than our offline reputation as we continue to make our first impressions online.
Active actions that contribute include anything that we do underneath a login/user name. This includes social media posts, forums, reviews, subscriptions, etc. Versus passive contributions are those we aren't aware of; such as when we click on an ad and this causes more of them to be tailored to us (aka we know you are listening Instagram!)
Making the Print Work for You:
No matter what we will do, the footprint will be there. It's all about making it work for you. This differs based on your individual goals, as well as whether it's you as the individual or a "you" as a company that is seeking to alter or further your online presence.
One of the best ways for you, whether you are trying to be an influencer, get your work more out there, or are trying to expand the word-of-mouth about your company, then you are going to want to make sure you are active across omni-channels. What is meant by omni-channels is being present on different platforms, including having a website, social media platforms (Facebook (Meta), Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, etc.), video-based (Youtube), community-based forums (Reddit), etc. What makes being visible on omni-channels versus multi-channels is that the messaging is the same. There should be consistent messaging across the channels, but a careful note is to not overload it with the exact same content. You want the experience to be similar so that no matter where others interact with you, your branding and representation are the same. Otherwise, who you are may get confused and if they interact with you on a different channel, it can cause dissonance and make them not trust you. It is all about having your reputation the same but being able to convey it through different means.
Omni-channels: The use of multi-channels while maintaining the same messaging.
The hard part about being on different channels, both multi-channels or in the omni-channel manner is both consistency of brand and consistency of interaction. You don't want to stretch yourself thin and end up creating, for example a Youtube page, and never posting videos. Nor in this example do you want to make a Youtube page if creating video posts or tutorials aren't going to properly represent your image.
The positive is that it will expand your reach. The same people you are trying to connect with may prefer different communication methods. It will also allow you to represent all your sides; the same way you "speak" through text is different than through video. The tone will change and this can increase your connect-ability. We have all had the experience where what we said is misconstrued because we can't hear the tone over text. The same applies to the content you post online. A picture will be different than text and a video will further both. They all have their place; the key is knowing how to use each type.
Who Can See Your Print:
The hardest part, despite knowing the wheres and hows of your digital footprint, is actually being discovered. It doesn't make it any easier, but everyone starts on the ground floor with this. There are a few ways that you can improve your visibility once you have the platforms/accounts.
One is: PAID
There is the ability to pay to get visibility no matter where it is you are trying to get promoted. The most well known is paid advertisement. On search engines, this is demonstrated by the word "Ad" or "Sponsored", and these posts/websites are at the top of the page, right underneath the search bar. Other forms of paid ads include banners, display ads, social media ads, paid for click, sponsorship, ambassador and/or paying for influencer reviews, etc. If you want it, there is a way to pay for it. The benefit is that because you are paying, you get placed higher and can secure more views. However, at the same time you are paying. It can end up costing you a lot in the long run, but in the short run it can boost your presence if done properly.
The second is: UNPAID
Unpaid marketing for you or your company takes a lot more time. It can be a long-term investment, especially in regards to your time. Some complete this through active communication and engagement (e.g. reaching out to others, DMing, commenting on other's posts and trying to improve relations, etc.). Another strategy is employing search engine optimization. Search engine optimization--also referred to as SEO--is about gaining organic traffic. There are many components that go into this, including research, identifying trends, keyword research, optimization of the website, improvements on user experience, content building, and linking. The cons are that this is long term. You won't wake up in 24 hours and be suddenly at the top. However, you are getting organic traffic, which means that you aren't paying for each person you interact with. Long run, this will save you money and also give you a solid foundation.
The more challenging it is, the sweeter the victory, right?
LiveFive Web Design
We understand that when you are looking to get online, you aren't looking to not represent yourself properly. That's why each website we design, we ensure it aligns with what and who you want to be online. We also offer services to help you build up your digital presence. It's why we say, "Total branding for you and your business." Reach out to learn more.
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