Digital Identity Check: Are You in Control of Your Online Presence

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Digital Identity Check: Are You in Control of Your Online Presence

What we'll cover

    Everyone has an idea of what others are saying about them behind their backs. Then, one day, you actually get a chance to find out, and it’s nothing like what you expected. For an individual, this can be either devastating or sobering, and the effects can be the same for business.

    As a business, it’s your responsibility to control your own digital narrative. For this, you need to figure out where you currently stand and develop a plan that will help you improve your standing. Here are four necessary steps you’ll have to take: 

    1. Make a heavier investment in SEO

    The best way to truly check your online presence is to start with an SEO audit. 

    Here, you get to see how many people actually see your website, where they are coming from, and how the algorithm treats your online brand. Every site has its authority, and by checking this authority, you’ll see how a search engine ranks your brand against others in the industry.

    This is a great starting point because it gives you objective metrics that tell you where you currently are. They are also an invaluable resource for your SEO team, and you can use them as a starting point for the roadmap of your future SEO project. This is aimed to give you goals and a timeline by which they should be reached.

    Fortunately, traffic, DA, competitiveness of your keywords, etc, are all measurable metrics. This means that it will be pretty easy to express your objectives (the traffic is currently X, and in three months, it should be Y). The thing is that a veteran SEO specialist shouldn’t have a problem setting objective goals. 

    The thing with SEO, however, is that it’s an organic climb to the top. This means that it will take time, but the results of SEO will be permanent. Other digital marketing methods, like PPC, will buy you some time in the spotlight, but as soon as you stop paying, the effects will wither.

    This doesn’t mean that paid marketing is not worth it. In fact, it’s best when used to supplement your SEO strategy with some organic traffic. This way, you can facilitate the process and speed up the growth. 

    For this to work, it’s important that you set aside a bigger piece of your budget for SEO. Your digital marketing budget should already be 2-5% of your average annual revenue.You can use this budget to buy niche edit backlinks, invest in PPC advertisements, and hire skilled professionals to manage your digital marketing campaigns effectively.

    2. Gather user data in a lawful manner

    When running an online business and trying to make a good marketing campaign, it’s important that you do everything by the book. You’ll collect a lot of data, and your first responsibility is to see that you do it lawfully. 

    This is not as simple as it sounds. First of all, when running an online brand or doing business online, determining jurisdictions can be a mess. If your customers are from all over the globe, chances are that you have to comply with their regional laws, not just major international regulations.

    One example is the GDPR, which is valid for all EU residents; however, even those who do business with EU residents and businesses (which is almost everyone) have to pay attention to it. 

    Now, handling all these jurisdictions manually would be a proper nightmare; however, no one says that you have to do it manually. With the right platform, you can automate this quite efficiently. Not only that, but the majority of these platforms also make DSAR management significantly easier. This is especially the case when you have to address it in a timely manner. 

    Most importantly, you have to walk a thin line between collecting data you need to improve your online presence (prioritize platforms and networks your customers prefer) and having so much that it becomes a liability. There’s a reason why data minimization is a common data management practice; however, every business does this in its own manner. 

    Your customers have to consent to their data being taken, and you have to disclose the reason why you need them (the intended purpose). Pop-ups with terms and services are still one of the most transparent and efficient ways of handling things. 

    While handling compliances, you should also track your employees' data.

    3. Personally address the theories of AI

    AI generation is getting a lot of blame even where it hasn’t earned it. Is generative AI terrifying? Incredibly. Just take a look at deep fakes and AI voice generation, and you’ll be horrified once you truly think about the capacity of these technologies.

    Sure, presidents playing D&D is fun, but what if someone uses this to send a voice message from “you.” A text that doesn’t sound like you can raise some suspicion (due to an account takeover), but once they hear your voice, they’ll be reassured.

    Some people claim that they can see the difference between deep fakes and real photographs, while others recognize nuances in AI voice generation. Neither of these is truly dangerous IF you are looking for them. 

    If you consciously try to figure out if this is an AI-generated image or a voice, you should be able to tell the difference. However, what if it’s just a voice message (one of the dozen you receive from your friends every day)? What if it’s just a selfie like the one you received a few hours ago? Will you really be able to tell a difference?

    The key lies in keeping your videos, voice, and your image away from the internet. Generative AI still needs something to work with, right? 

    Well, keep your social media private and be very careful who you allow to see it. When you have to register somewhere that doesn’t require your identity, use a custom avatar instead of your own photo. 

    This is not your only option. You can also use images of pop culture characters, flags, or photos. However, a custom avatar gives you a chance to fight fire with fire - use AI generation to fight this type of threat.  

    4. Ensure that all your channels and personas align

    Chances are that you’ll have one brand message that you’ll spread across multiple platforms. Now, by their very nature, different channels require different forms of expression.

    For instance, while your emails and blog posts are formal, your social media posts, comments, and DMs are not supposed to be. If anything, more and more brands are embracing the idea of memeing as a content form. This has been a great way to humanize a brand and appeal more closely to your target audience.

    When creating content for various platforms, it's crucial to tailor your approach to suit each platform's unique format and audience expectations. For example, you can't expect the same video duration to work seamlessly for your YouTube channel as it does for your Instagram reel. Understanding the nuances of each platform and optimizing your content accordingly can significantly impact its effectiveness and engagement.

    Additionally, learning essential tasks such as how to archive reels on Instagram can streamline your content management process and ensure your content remains accessible and organized for your audience. Twitter limits the number of characters available more severely than other platforms, so your means of expression need to adjust to this, as well.

    What we’re trying to say is that while you need to express yourself differently, your messages need to remain the same.

    Doing otherwise would be like saying one thing in text messages and then taking a completely different stance when someone rings you up in a voice call. Sure, your brand is an entity only in the eyes of the IRS, but you need to play this game for your audience, as well. They don’t want to see you as another corporate cash grab. By humanizing your business, you’ll appeal to them much more strongly.

    You need to find the voice for these online personas. This is why it was so important to start with data collection. Once you know who your audience is, you’ll figure out what kind of language and knowledge level they’ll find most relatable.

    You might also want to start by checking your current messaging status. A quick audit will tell you where you currently stand. 

    5. Navigating the Online Realm with Intention and Control

    In an era in which our lives are increasingly intertwined with the digital realm, maintaining manipulation over our online presence has become paramount. Digital identity includes a complete examination of the statistics about oneself on the internet, ensuring accuracy, privacy, and protection.

    It encompasses diverse factors, including your social media posts, online debts, public statistics, and virtual footprints left throughout the web. It is being on top of things in your online presence approach, actively managing and curating the information that represents you online.

    It entails safeguarding private information, tracking privacy settings, and selectively sharing records to shape the narrative of your digital identification. Regular audits of online profiles and bills help determine and rectify inaccuracies or unauthorized access, mitigating the hazard of identity theft or reputational damage. Moreover, maintaining control over your virtual identity empowers you to leverage the advantages of the net global while minimizing potential risks.

    It lets in for intentional self-presentation, allowing individuals to show off their capabilities, achievements, and values in alignment with personal and professional desires. People can assert management over their online presence by staying vigilant and proactive in dealing with digital footprints, shaping a coherent and accurate portrayal of themselves inside the digital panorama.

    Improving your online presence starts with the audit of its current state

    As we’ve already stated, you need to start with an audit of your current online presence. What do the numbers say? Do people follow you on social media, visit your website, and look up your business? What kind of interaction are these?

    Second, you need to put it all down in writing and figure out the best way to proceed from your current point. Consulting specialists will give the best effect.

    Most importantly, you need to think about the long-run and consider scalability. You cannot disregard the importance of international legal compliance, even if, for the time being, your audience is still mostly local. Also, you want to invest in marketing methods that will have the best effect in the long run.

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