The term ‘digital footprint’ is becoming more prominent as the digital world evolves. Especially as we search for our place in the online environment and start to work out what it’s all about, your footprint is becoming more important than ever. In personal terms a digital footprint generally refers to your interactions online including shopping, websites, social commentary, images and affiliations. Essentially those components form part of your digital profile, your presence when interacting in the digital world. It’s something that is re-searchable, it’s something that leaves a permanent trail like an online DNA.
So how does a digital footprint become relevant to your professional services firm? The days of your business operating only geographically are gone. We’ve seen it in the Accounting industry with cloud based solutions and the need to offer value added services, and target the online consumer. Traditionally large and successful firms now need to compete for digital territory – it’s where a trickle of their clients are heading, and where the majority will end up. As a professional services firm for example, how can you build and shape your digital footprint so that it reflects appropriately on your business and continues to do so into the future to help you capture online opportunities. Where do you start?
At DuckMedia, we tend to look at how you can build your digital footprint in relation to your ongoing brand. We recommend planning and research to explore the options suitable for your firm, likely to reflect the culture and purpose of your offering. You want to create a footprint that enhances your future interactions online. The content, the methods the affiliations you choose should all form part of the bigger picture of what you would like your footprint to look like. We have created a short checklist as a reference point to ensure you have the right focus throughout the process.
1. Always ensure you digital (online) presence reflects your brand in each interaction – both physically (using the right logo, images, fonts, scripts and copy), and also in line with the company culture (approved commentary, official descriptions, content that enhances your position).
2. Have a planning session and regular tracking to ensure your digital message is consistent. Explore the options for communicating your message and formulate a plan for how that will be done. Monitor consistency of the content and release of content to become a resource to the online community.
3. Create a central point for development and control of your message. It doesn’t need to be a digital expert, it needs to be someone who understands the firm’s objectives and can work with a digital expert to build the online brand.
4. Staff output monitoring is now essential. Monitoring your staff’s output has become vital in protecting your brand. Their communications both professionally and personally with social media and the like can certainly have a big impact in the long term. A policy relating to staff reference of your firm or business pre-empts negative content being posted and the erosion of your digital footprint goals.
5. Search your own offering regularly. By reviewing and searching your business online, your brand and your products, you will understand where your footprint places you, how you rank and how the online world sees you. Search your business name, search your leaders, search your products – it’s often surprising and is your prospects reality.
Talk to DuckMedia to formalize your digital footprint, email@example.com