The Importance Of Creating And Managing Your Digital Footprint
Anyone who uses the Internet for personal or professional purposes has a digital footprint. Many people don’t even know the expression let alone think about what it means. Before I go any further, let me define ‘digital footprint’.
If you go to Wikipedia, you’ll find the following definition. “Digital footprint or digital shadow refers to one’s unique set of traceable digital activities, actions, contributions and communications that are manifested on the Internet or on digital devices.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_footprint
As you can see, each Facebook post, email, Instagram photo, comment on a blog, YouTube video, Skype call, etc. you are leaving a trail that can be seen, searched, or tracked. Basically, all of your activity on the Internet leads to the creation of a digital identity and footprint.
Two Different Kinds of Footprint
Most people aren’t aware that there are two kinds of digital footprints – passive and active.
Wikipedia describes them as follows: “A passive digital footprint is created when data is collected without the owner knowing, whereas active digital footprints are created when personal data is released deliberately by a user for the purpose of sharing information about oneself by means of websites or social media. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_footprint
As you know Facebook company and Mark Zuckerberg are under fire and scrutiny since they shared the data of 87 million people with a company without the consent of its users. This is an example (while not necessarily a good one) of passive sharing. Examples of active sharing are users, themselves, sharing social media posts, blogs, videos on their website or their social media profiles.
As a business owner, if you don’t have a digital footprint, you virtually don’t exist. With more business being conducted online than ever before, you’re missing out if you don’t establish and manage your digital footprint.
Your online presence which is also known as your digital footprint becomes the heartbeat of your business. You can actually take the pulse of your business based on your digital footprint.
This leads me right to the very raison d’etre for digital marketing.
Digital Marketing Establishes Digital Footprint
Every time you post something online about your business you are contributing to your digital footprint. Every time someone clicks on what you’ve posted and/or responds to your post, that, too contributes to your digital footprint.
Take a look at passive digital footprints. They can be stored in many ways depending on the situation. In an online environment a footprint may be stored in an online data base as a “hit”. This footprint may track the user’s IP address when it was created, and where they came from.
Active digital footprints can be stored in many ways depending on the situation. In an online environment, a footprint can be stored by a user being logged into a site when making a post or change, with the registered name being connected to the edit.
Keeping Tabs On And Managing Digital Footprint
It might cause your head to spin when thinking about how to not only keep tabs on the digital footprint that you are actively creating, but also on what other people are creating and posting at about you without your awareness.
Not to worry.
There are several free tools that you can begin to use right away to track both your active and passive digital footprint. I’m only including two of the most popular though there are many more.
Google Alerts is a free tool that lets you monitor the web for content that you specify. You can set up alerts for your name as well as the name of your business. When you do this, anytime content is shared about you or your business on the web you’ll be alerted with an email letting you know what people have written.
Mention.com scans over 1 billion sources across social media, forums, blogs, and the web. You can track your brand, competitors and customers with your search criteria.
You can run an online search or choose to receive a daily email of your mentions from the previous day. You can also export stats to PDF or CSV, to analyze and share the data.
Make Your Digital Footprint Meaningful
Like I mentioned earlier, without a digital footprint you simply don’t exist. So, make your digital footprint strong and meaningful with great content that your customers and followers will share.