The Internet has become a useful tool for individuals on both a personal and professional level, as it provides people with the ability to conduct quick, efficient research. With this expanded access to information comes an increased need for a healthy online reputation, much of which depends on establishing a positive first impression.
If first-time visitors to your online social media profiles or websites are left with a negative perception of who you are, they may avoid your site thereafter and you may never have another opportunity to reshape their opinion of you. Thankfully, the following six tips can give any individual the opportunity to make a positive first impression online.
1. Use a Professional Photo
One of the simplest ways to make a good first impression online is by equipping all social media and business websites with a dignified and professional picture of yourself. Not only will it encourage networking by allowing colleagues to be certain they are connecting with the correct person, it will show site visitors that you have a commitment to professionalism.
According to one psychological study, it takes less than one-tenth of a second for a stranger to form opinions about a person based on how they appear in photos. If you smile with your teeth showing, keep your eyes unobstructed, and stand against a bright background, you can increase the chances that people react positively to your picture. Additionally, in order for Google to show your picture when your name is entered into its search engine, you should upload photos containing your first and last name in the file name and alternative text.
2. Stay Positive in All Content
In order to create a positive first impression on the Internet, people should focus on producing positive content. Individuals who focus on the negative, engage in heated debates with customers or colleagues via social media, or actively post content about negative topics may be seen as difficult or unprofessional. This may also make others less likely to want to connect in a professional manner.
Instead, professionals should focus on populating their social media accounts with positive content. It is also important to handle any conflict that arises on social media with tact, particularly by avoiding engaging in public arguments so that those observing your social profiles do not see contentious interactions between you and angry customers or colleagues.
3. Form Connections with Others
Being well connected on the Internet is an excellent way to show people that others enjoy working and interacting with you. In order to make a positive first impression, connect with colleagues and friends online, and regularly engage with others by making positive comments, asking pertinent questions about the content that they post, and expressing interest in their opinions. By maximizing your connections, people will be more likely to view you as sociable and trustworthy, and they may be more apt to see you in a positive light.
4. Focus on Your Language Choices
Studies have shown that a majority of communication is nonverbal (e.g., facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language). Since there are fewer opportunities on the Internet to make a nonverbal impression, it is extremely important that people who seek to create a positive online image pay extra attention to the language used on their websites and online profiles. In all online writing, be sure to pay attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation usage. Consider having someone else proofread your posts before publishing them on your personal pages. Poor grammar or spelling could be attributed to laziness or unintelligence, leaving a bad impression of you in the minds of site visitors.
5. Update Social Media Regularly
In order to make any kind of impression online, you first need to have a strong presence on the Internet. People who neglect their websites or social media accounts may be perceived as disorganized or unwilling to commit to the effort it takes to establish a web presence. To leave a strong first impression on the Internet, focus on actively updating your websites. Consider setting a schedule for publishing posts; by committing to at least one social media post every week, not only will your page look current, but site visitors will see that you understand the value of an active profile. It will also show that you place importance on consistency, signaling that you are reliable.
6. Write a Concise Biography
A simple way to take charge and make a positive first impression is to attach a succinct biography to any social media or professional sites. Within the biography, you should establish information such as your professional values and your educational and professional background.
A biography also provides you with an opportunity to have some influence over other people’s first impressions of you. This should be thought of as an opportunity to steer others’ opinions in the direction you want them to go. However, you should not be long- winded, overly wordy, or self-aggrandizing. Instead, opt for writing biographies in a neutral tone that presents positive facts about you and your professional life.
7. Run a Blog Related to Your Professional Industry
To cement a positive impression, consider authoring a blog on a topic that is professionally relevant to you. Creating a blog signals to others that you are willing to put in the time to research and write about a subject in your field, and that you are also willing to share your knowledge with others. While writing, be sure to optimize your blog for SEO so that it shows up in search engine results. Additionally, make sure that you do not neglect your blog after its creation, and post consistently, even if your schedule allows for only one post every month.