Are You Making The Right First Impression?
The title of this post really should be “MythBusters: The Digital Reputation Version” but that would be copyright infringement. And we don’t support that. Today we’re going to look at why you need to pay attention to everything you put on the Internet – including busting one of the biggest myths out there.
3 Reasons To Get On Top Of Your Digital Rep
Last week we presented at the Thursday night Professional Development series at The Lightning Jar in Bennington, Vermont. This series is a partnership between The Lightning Jar and Bennington Young Professionals with support from the VESCU. After a presentation from the Jonah Spivak, President of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce on branding and a recent rebranding of our area of Vermont, Nancy Koziol, of Digital Firefly Marketing spoke about reputation management and how to make sure the results you want are showing up in SERPs.
Here are three takeaways that prove that getting on top of your reputation is huge as well as some helpful tips for kickstarting a spring cleanup.
You Are Your Brand
Both speakers at Thursday’s event agreed: there’s little difference between personal and professional branding. Whether you work for a large company or sell items on Etsy, you want to make sure that anyone who looks you up is impressed with what they see. This doesn’t mean you have to only post or comment on things related to your line of work, but it does mean you need to think about everything you post.
Why? As Spivak said, “Authenticity. If you’re not authentic, people can tell.” And he’s right. People choose businesses based on more than services and price. Think about companies that get boycotted because of bad labor practices or scandals. While on a smaller scale, if someone Googles you and finds snarky comments about clients, they’re not going to pick you. If your posts are riddled with grammatical and spelling errors and you’re selling yourself as a freelance editor you’re probably not going to have much luck, either.
So, What is Authenticity?
It all comes down to being real. If you claim one thing on your business page everything else should support that. It doesn’t mean waving the banner of your biz all over the place, but it does mean exhibiting the same core values you expound on a professional level.
Here’s a simple example: say you are a baker. Never show your kitchen looking messy in a photo or comment about sticky countertops or how you’ll clean it up tomorrow. People are expecting you to be a professional and keep a clean, safe kitchen.
First Impressions Matter
It takes seven seconds to create a first impression. That’s about the same time it takes to skim nine of ten search results. If you’re on top of your online reputation, you are setting yourself up to make a great first impression. But what if you haven’t been on top of it? What’s that mean? There are two things to think about.
First, people are fickle. Scattered results that don’t send a specific message about who you are and what you do won’t leave any impression – which is almost as bad as a bad impression.
And if you’ve got negative results peppering the first page of SERPs? The news is even worse. Cornell University performed a study on 55 adults to test the permanence of first impressions. The volunteers were shown an image of the same woman. Some volunteers viewed images of the woman smiling while others saw photographs where she was serious-faced. Participants were surveyed about how they viewed the woman: was she an extrovert or introvert? Friendly or standoffish? Then, in a period of one to six months the volunteers had a run in with this woman face-to-face. Four participants pointed out that she was the woman from the photos (and were thus eliminated from the results) but the other 51 did not. The first impression based on the photo clearly influenced the feelings people had when meeting the woman face-to-face. That’s incredible: even a forgotten first impression matters!
Forget Your Resume, HR Directors are Googling You
First: don’t actually forget your resume. It’s important. But everyone knows that it is a highly curated reflection of who you are – and that you control what is on it. The same way you select your references.
Savvy recruiters, HR Directors and managers Google candidates. That’s right. About 80% of them. For some reason there is a belief that this is an unethical or even illegal practice but we assure you, it is neither. In fact, it is one of the best ways to get a real sense of an applicant versus asking them questions, even ones you deem clever. A quick internet search allows the pool to be diminished, and it also says a ton about you as an employee. And it’s not just about the content you post, language you use, or photos you share. It’s also how frequently you post and at what times of day – the people paying you want to make sure you’re spending the bulk of your work day working.
Need Help With Your Digital Reputation?
Digital Firefly Marketing has helped individuals and brands clean up their online image. Chances are, we can help you, too. Contact us today to learn about this service and receive a free online reputation audit.