by Faith Monson
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve heard about how important it is to make a great first impression when you meet someone in person. Sure, your hair and appearance should be neat, your style of clothing professional and not outdated, your shoes polished and your accessories appropriate in quality and style. And of course, you know how important it is to smile and project both professionalism and friendliness in your voice and body language.
But did you ever think about the first impression people receive online? Imagine that someone has heard about you from a friend, read about you in the media or met you at an event. That prospect is likely to look you up online to learn more, or to validate what they’ve heard. Does your online image support your in-person image? Are the images you project (in person and online) consistent?
Here are some things that can tarnish your online image:
- Lack of a web site or an outdated or unprofessional web site
- Lack of any professional social media presence (blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) or unprofessional/inappropriate social media postings
- Incomplete profiles on membership or social media sites (no photo, unprofessional photo, incomplete bio information)
- Web sites that use old technology, making photos or the site itself slow to load
- Little or no useful information about you, your company or your services
When a prospect can’t find you online, or worse—finds a less-than-professional online presence—it detracts from their impression of you. Making a poor online impression may be the only “first impression” a prospect receives in our wired world. Or it may cast doubt on how up-to-date and professional you really are, marring a great in-person impression. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, it’s a buyer’s market. You want to stand out for all the right reasons. Make sure your online impression is a good one.