6 Ways To Make A Great First Impression Online

View of a man reclining and using a laptopWe live and work in a social media crazy world.  Over the past decade the tools we use to communicate in our business and personal lives have greatly changed, and our first encounters with other people are often via an online profile, status update, video clip, blog post, or tweet.

Will Rogers famous quote “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression,” is even more meaningful in the age of Google, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and all the other online communities.  What we say and do can have a lasting impact on how others will perceive us in all our social interactions.

The first impression merely sets the tone for what others will expect in the future. Some worry about working on a personal brand as they are fearful of looking like they are part of a phony marketing activity, but the opposite is true.  According to Art Markman, Director of the Program in the Human Dimensions of Organization at the University of Texas at Austin and Professor of Psychology and Marketing, “Most people think about standing out on-line as doing something flashy that will get attention.  The organizations and people who truly stand out, though, are the ones who gain the trust of their audience over time. Wikipedia is the least flashy site on the internet, but it is also one of the most heavily used.  If you want to stand out, act authentically and create trust.”

To make a great first impression you must be consistent in all your actions, online and offline.  We all must embrace the new realities of how we are seen by others and take the steps to ensure we are positioning ourselves in a way that matches who we are and who we want to become. The more you stand-out online the greater chance you have to reach potential clients, so never miss your chance to make a positive impression.

Here are 6 ways to stand out online:

  1.  Mention other people.  Social Media trainer and author Phil Gerbyshak suggests that regardless of the online channel you should mention others directly with their @name (Twitter), (+name) Google+, tag them (Facebook and LinkedIn) or link to them on your blog.  Most people have set up alerts that inform them when they are mentioned online, so even if they miss your comment at the time, they will later get an email that tells them about your mention. He adds, “Remember, spelling counts – if you get their online handle wrong, they will never know you mentioned them.”Gerbyshak suggests striving to make half your posts about other people or their work.  If all you do is pontificate about yourself it can quickly get boring.  And do not only mention celebrities, but make sure you promote your friends and other peers.  If you want those you know to spread the word about you, make it a habit to talk about them.
  2. Be prolific.  Creative Strategist and writer Scott Ginsberg writes every day.  He has always inspired me to get my work done as a writer.  As Ginsberg puts it “Writing is sitting down – EVERY DAY – slicing open a vein, then bleeding your truth all over the page.” Not everything you write will be wonderful, but the more you write, the better writer you become.The more you post online the more likely people are read what you have to say.  Blogging only on occasion does not give people a reason to come discover what you have said lately.  Too many blogs are stale and suffer from “dead blog syndrome.”  You must feed your blog, and all your social media outlets, regularly or you will quickly be lost and forgotten.Prospective clients are always more impressed with those who are contributing to the conversation over those who are silent.
  3. Go where the people hang out.  Discover where those in your industry invest their attention online and participate in these communities.  TweetChats, Google + Hang-Outs, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook communities, blogs comment sections, etc., all give you the opportunity to add your two cents to the conversation.  People are not going to come and visit your online properties unless they know you, have heard of you, or stumble upon you.  Gerbyshak adds “Do not do social media in a closet. You must put yourself into the view of others if you want results.”  If your competitors are active in a community and you are not, then the prospects will know about them and not about all you can offer.
  4. Write a guest post.  Find ways to blog for other bloggers.  Not all blogs accept guest submissions, but many do.  Some of the most widely read online information portals are made up of information provided by third party writers, but lesser known sites are also hungry for content.  Reach out to a variety of places to see if they would be interested in having you write.  If you do a good job, then their audiences will discover you and seek you out in other venues.
  5. Interview other people.  Podcaster Craig Price has conducted over 100 interviews with business professionals, authors, speakers, and other interesting people.  Each time he releases a new RealityCheck Podcast his audience grows as those who are interviewed promote the recording to their own audiences.  The more people you interview the more people you will reach.
  6. Be remarkable and be unique. There is too much of the same-old, same-old showing up online.  Productivity expert and thought leader Neen James says “Be a thought leader, not a thought repeater.” If you want to make a great first impression you must be uniquely you, not a copycat of someone else whom you admire.  Let your own personality shine in your online activities.  Do not mirror others, but instead carve out a unique position. People want to do business with an original, not a reproduction. Be true to yourself and others will notice.

Thom Singer is a professional speaker, corporate trainer and the author of ten books on the power of business relationships, networking, presentation skills and entrepreneurship.  Known as “The Conference Catalyst,” he regularly speaks at conferences across all industries and helps create and atmosphere for impactful engagement that leads to more powerful business connections.  Visit his website at http://www.thomsinger.com and follow him at @thomsinger on Twitter.

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