I’ve just posted a book to a German gentleman whom I’ve never met.
Holger is interested in aircraft, and had therefore been looking at my Flickr site. One of the photos is of 1930s training aircraft. You can see it on the left. On Flickr, I offered a prize to anyone who could identify and name all nine aircraft. Holger identified seven, which was good enough to win. The prize wasn’t specified, but it was a copy of my father in law’s autobiography, Not Much Of An Engineer.
Flickr is part of my digital footprint. Holger has just slightly increased its size.
Your digital footprint is the size of your presence on the web. This means that Google will rank your name according to how much relevant content and inbound traffic is related to it.
Most personal business digital footprints consist of a mix of the following:
- Website and, or, blog
- Facebook, if you’ve got the time
- YouTube, if you’re using it to promote your services
I’ve been asked several times recently if any of these generate business.
The truthful answer is, “Not much.”
So, you might ask, why bother?
Well, you don’t really have much of a choice. I was being interviewed by a potential client recently who suddenly asked, “Was Bryan Greensted your father?” Since he died in 1994, this was an unexpected question.
“Yes,” I replied, rather apprehensively.
She hired me on the spot. It turned out that her husband’s grandfather used to fly with my father. She had made the connection when checking me out on Flickr.
Your digital footprint allows others to get to know you before you actually meet. It provides your credentials and gives reassurance to those who might want to hire you. But bear in mind that a face to face meeting is still essential.
In 2004, I had a meeting in Bristol with Carol, the then membership secretary of The Soil Association. I more or less grew up on a farm and have a fistful of Farming Proficiency Certificates from Merrist Wood, so I was very confident about my credentials. The meeting went well, but Carol said at the end, “I looked you up on the internet but couldn’t find you.”
She was was right. My digital footprint didn’t really exist then.
And, I didn’t get the job.