Friday, June 12, 2020

First Impressions Online: Rock Their World In An Instant

We connect online. 

People seek convenient and practical solutions all the time, so it makes sense that you would make your first impression online. Whether you are applying for a job, reaching out to boost your side hustle business, or supporting your local community, your online presence is going to act as the first point of contact. 
Did you know that more and more employers never get to meet their remote team face-to-face? The whole interaction and interview steps happen online, which means that making a positive impression in a few pixels has become a significant skill to own. Unfortunately, moving your first impression online means that you need to be quick and effective to attract people’s attention. The typical attention span online is under 8 seconds. How do you capture someone’s attention and build a positive image in such a short time? 

Build a professional blog presence

It could seem counterproductive to create a blog when there are already 500 million active blogs around. Besides, you might think that you can’t create content that people can digest in under 8 seconds. True enough, however, your blog can still become a positive online presence for the following reasons: 
A blog is a space where you can connect to your audience and share specialist content. Whether you’re applying for a job or launching your beauty salon, your blog gives you a voice that your audience will discover. While not everyone may want to read your blog, it doesn’t mean it has no effect. On the contrary, keeping a professional-looking blog shows dedication to your passion. Let’s say you apply for a role as a marketing consultant, and you have a blog that discusses the latest Google algorithms. Your future employer may not be interested in knowing the details of each algorithm, but your blog will demark your profile from other résumés. 

Have a profile photo that says it all

A picture is worth a thousand words. Your profile picture, especially, needs to do all the talking for you. Therefore, when choosing a photo to illustrate your online profile, whether it is social media, LinkedIn, or your bio bit on the blog, the picture needs to meet your audience’s expectations. Working with a professional headshot photographer typically costs around $200 to $400, but it can make a massive difference to the quality of the image and the message it conveys. Ideally, you want a photo that is up-to-date and reflects your current appearance. You also want an eyecatcher, such as wearing those trendy glasses everyone is talking about or a fresh hairstyle that frames your face to perfection. The bottom line: You want to look your best because you’re representing your personal brand. 

To smile or not to smile?

That is the eternal question! A lot of professionals have embraced a more relaxed attitude towards photo shooting. You are more likely to see team photos on business sites that showcase the team smiling or in more natural poses, such as sitting at their desks. What is the best choice for your profile? To answer this tricky question, you need to figure out what your audience may read in your smile. For instance, communication roles in marketing agencies will enhance smiling faces as it highlights the fun and relaxed atmosphere in the workplace. On the other hand, a solicitor will need to keep a relatively straight face, as clients expect an official photoshoot. 

What does Twitter say about you?

Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the top favorite social media platforms that people check before they choose to get in touch with you, for professional or personal reasons. LinkedIn also plays a significant role, but only if you’re trying to move your career forward. Most people will not linger on your social media profile or read your posts. They only want a glimpse of who you are online. In short, you only have a few seconds to make a positive impression. What does it mean? It means that you have to get things looking and feeling right from the start. Think about your profile picture, for instance. Is it the optimal size? Facebook profile pictures need to be 170 x 170 pixels.

On the other hand, if you need a Twitter header, you’ll work with 1,500 x 500 pixels images. If you’re using social media to promote your personal brand, you should use the same image on every platform, but make sure it is resized accordingly. Go through old posts and photos to systematically untag yourself from content that is inappropriate or poor quality. 

Personal life content: How valuable can you make it look?

Social media is a place to share your opinions and your content. As tempting as it might be to write your internal monolog as it happens, you should think twice before posting. Ask yourself: Is this post relevant to my audience? There’s nothing wrong with sharing content that might be less popular than others. But you have to be careful about what it could say about yourself. If you’re having a bad day, for instance, it’s best to stay away from social media. A status update that contains expletives or angry feelings could backfire. A beautiful selfie may be cute, but does it have a place in your social media feeds? Always make sure that the content you share is appropriate and relevant.

Wear colors and embrace their positivity

Ah, a world of colors! Colors psychologists are keen to share how colors affect our moods and perceptions. Choosing the right color for your brand, and your photo could go a long way. Red, for instance, is a popular choice to excite and drive people to act quickly. However, it could have adverse effects on your audience if you overuse it. Green explores your ties to nature, fertility, and prosperity, which is why it’s a fantastic color for businesses linked to the natural world. Blue, on the other hand, means peace, stability, and imagination. However, be aware that many brands also use blue, which makes it hard to stand out. 

Be yourself

You wouldn’t think of lying on your CV. The same principle applies to your picture. As tempting as filters and photoshopping can be, stay away from any tool that could distort reality. You can use some filters to the photo before uploading it to enhance light, contrasts, or overall improve its quality. However, your audience wants to see the real you, which is why there is no need to filter your unique features out. Smoothing out your skin or changing your eye color will only send the wrong message about you. 

Create valuable long-form content

Long-form content is an article or a whitepaper that counts at least 1,000 words. Why would you need to produce long content pieces when the general attention span is less than 8 seconds? Because most people decide in a few seconds whether or not they trust your online presence. While they may not dive directly into your content, they will register its existence. Therefore, creating long pieces will position you as an expert. As a rule of thumb, long posts allow you to dive deeper into a complex subject, which makes it a great choice to explore detailed information and data. While you should only produce long pieces, they can be useful in assessing your area of expertise. 

Building a positive and compelling first impression online can be tricky. The rules of the first impressions vary online. People judge your worth on a handful of pixels, whether you use visual or written content. Therefore, you have to be smart about your choices: What you wear, whether you smile or not, what you write, and how you hold people’s attention with content creation. 

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