In this day and age, it’s possible to get a pretty good idea of someone from simply analysing what they do online. Whether you like it or not, whatever you do on the internet contributes to your “digital footprint”.
Much like their real-world counterparts, these footprints mark a trail of what you’ve done and your general habits. With this in mind, having a positive digital footprint is important for your brand.
What exactly is a digital footprint?
According to Dictionary.com, a digital footprint is “one’s overall impact, impression, or effect as manifested on the Internet; online presence or visibility, as of a person or company”. In tl;dr terms, it’s what’s left behind when you do stuff on the Internet. They include things like social media posts and shares, video calls, app usage and emails you’ve sent.
In the context of a brand or company, it pertains more to your digital reputation. People or other companies talking about your business, to what your employees post – these affect your company’s footprint.
How do I find out my brand’s digital footprint?
The first step to figuring out where you stand is to Google yourself and your brand. This will show you what most users can see when they look you up. Don’t stop at just Google, though – use the search engines on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Is the information out there positive, or negative? Or is there barely anything related to your brand?
Having a measurable positive digital footprint helps build your brand’s reputation. It takes time and effort to build a positive digital footprint for your brand, as well as lots of planning. Once you get the media, and people such as influencers talking about you, that’s when you start seeing more growth. One of the ways you can start is by having a brand voice.
Hang on, what’s a brand voice?
A brand voice, in the most basic definition, is the way a brand communicates its personality to its audience. It also represents your brand’s goals, values and missions. Despite the word “voice”, it doesn’t just mean audio – it extends to the written word, like emails, social media, or a letter. A brand voice represents a personality. It would have a specific vocabulary, and a certain way of using that vocabulary. You also will have different tones of that voice.
Tone of voice is not exactly the same as the brand voice. Your voice sounds the same, but your tone – the way you say it – will change. You don’t shout all the time in real life, after all. The tone of voice of your brand will vary slightly depending on what content you’re using it with. You don’t want to sound stern and serious on a lighthearted announcement.
While it’s your brand voice, your customers should like it as well. Having a brand voice that readily identifies your brand and sets it apart is great, but it wouldn’t do any good if your customers don’t identify with how you speak.
How does a brand voice help my digital footprint?
A brand voice defines your brand’s identity, and also affects how you communicate with potential customers across various platforms. It also keeps your brand identity consistent throughout these platforms. You want to build a digital footprint that is consistent, with a straightforward message. If your footprint is fragmented, it can get lost in the vast sea of the Internet.
Another aspect that brand voice helps in is your content. A good majority of digital marketing agencies nowadays focus on content. If you’re planning on doing content marketing to boost your brand’s recognition, then attempting it without a clear brand identity will likely result in failure.
Users are not going to trust a company that can’t seem to decide on what it wants to be. Social media plays a big part in modern marketing – your content needs to be appropriate, targeted and consistent. A strong social media presence is one of the keys to a good digital footprint, and without a brand voice to keep things together, it can fall apart quickly.
All right, but how do I establish a strong brand voice for my footprint?
Start by thinking about your company’s brand story. A brand voice reflects your company’s personality, and its values are part of that personality. If you don’t have a story, you should work on one so you have a starting point for your brand voice. After which, you should also do a content audit. Review content you’ve published, and see whether it fits your brand voice.
You should also conduct research on your audience – poll them and ask how they see your brand. What interests them? What do they like about your brand? What do they think you could do better?