This post looks at what a digital footprint is and why it is important to ensure it stays healthy.
Whether you realise it or not, your business leaves “footprints” across the internet wherever it goes.
Some of these prints are controlled by you, for example: the existence of your own website and social media, however a trail of data can be made by anyone, simply through comments and reviews left on other online platforms.
Why track my digital footprint?
It is important for a business to keep track of its digital footprint to stay on top of what is being shared, and to be aware should any damaging content be shared. Tracking your digital footprint means that you can also to stay up to date with customer thoughts and feelings.
A quick Google search of your business name will uncover references to your business but this alone is not efficient enough and will not give you all the content you need to see, especially not from social platforms.
It is worth searching for your business on multiple search engines and social media pages as well as looking up the common misspelling of your business. This will enable you to see a more comprehensive set of results.
There are a number of free and paid for tools which are available to assist you in your search for brand mentions and will save you a lot of time and effort.
Of course, you get what you pay for and the more your company is willing to invest, the more information that will become available to you. But it is worth playing around to see which works best for you.
Monitoring your digital footprint
Signal is a paid-for platform which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to collate content and brand mentions from billions of sources around the world and around-the-clock. The speed, diversity and volume mean your business can collect all the information you need at the right time and from the most reliable sources.
You can request a free-trial with Signal, which will enable your business to get a grasp on how the platform can assist with your digital footprint and media monitoring.
Mention is a free platform which pulls together all the sources who are talking about your business online. The tool monitors sources in real-time, including social media platforms, forums, blogs and the rest of the web.
The resource can set alerts so you can track your brand mentions as well as research influencers and competitors, which may be able to help you spread the word about your business. Access to the free account means you can have one alert (your business name) and 250 monthly mentions.
As a business you will want to get the most comprehensive overview possible, and to get this, it is a good idea to use these tools alongside additional free sources listed below:
Google Alerts is an alerting service that will email you when it discovers your key phrase being mentioned on the wider Google search network including blogs, news, videos.
Talk Walker Alerts is a similar service which allows you to create alerts that are sent directly to your inbox to keep you up to date.
Newsmeter gives you a wealth of information with one simple search. By looking up your business name or keywords, it will show you a list of articles you have been mentioned in, as well as the number of domains the article has been published on, the read count and the ad value (which should be taken with a pinch of salt).
Newsmeter also allows you to create personalised reports quickly and easily.
By monitoring your digital footprint, it means you can stay ahead of the game in terms of what your customers think about you and how potential new customers see you. Tracking your digital footprint will allow you to respond to customer reviews and queries which ultimately, will reflect well on your business by showing you value customer feedback.
It is also useful in the unlikely event that your business suffers a crisis situation, in which you need to respond quickly and appropriately.
It is worth setting aside some time to figure out which tools would be relevant and useful to your company, and investing even a small amount in tools that will help you ensure your digital footprint is healthy across the web.