How to Master a Powerful Digital First Impression

It wasn’t very long ago that first impressions were only formed in person, face to face, and in the same room. These days it is far more common for people to form their first impression of you on Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or any number of  other social media/virtual meeting platforms.

While this might not be fair, it is a sign of the times and it's actually no different than the impression you leave with someone the first time they meet you in person. The key difference is that an interpersonal exchange is accompanied by verbal and non-verbal cues and you know the interaction is happening. The social media exchange is a one-way feature of non-verbal cues, good or not so good.

To help you be as pro-active as possible with your digital footprint, here are a few suggestions:

Search yourself on Google: If everyone else is searching you out, it’s time for you to search yourself out too. If you see anything that you don't like or anything that surprises you, start making the necessary deletions or changes. Don't forget to click any images, videos and news links to see if anything needs to be updated or removed.

Keep your LinkedIn current: When others see your profile on LinkedIn it should be a representation of who you are as a professional and preferably in your current role. Your LinkedIn  photo is important as it is the visual expression of your personal brand and how you want to be perceived by others. Check to make sure your LinkedIn profile is free of errors and that it contains current and interesting information. It’s also a good idea to ask a trusted colleague to check out your profile and give you feedback.

Be Selective of your photos on Instagram: The photos and follows on your Instagram account are visual takes on your lifestyle, your cultural likes and dislikes, and a reflection of your personality through photos. When you take a look at your Instagram account, try to do it as a new visitor, or potential employer or even a potential client. Make sure your Instagram reflects how you want to be perceived. 

Pitch your True Identity on Twitter: People are interested in following you because of what you actually do, not what you think is going to sound clever. To audit your Twitter account, look at all of it: your photos, your followers, who you follow, what you have tweeted, retweeted, and liked. If there are items that don't align with how you want to be perceived - delete them.

Make your Facebook Secure: Securing your Facebook  account, making sure everything is private, preventing it from eating up your data, and choosing exactly what you want to see on your timeline should be the basic things to have in place on your account to make your Facebook experience better. It's not about hiding the truth, it's about deserving to have some parts of your life private and not connecting the personal with the business side.

You might have other social and digital spaces as well, and the same review process applies. People and perspectives change so I recommend you remain vigilant and do an audit of your social spaces at least once a year. Taking the time to go through the process to see how others see you is a valuable exercise. If you need help to audit your digital footprint, contact us at Jennifer Grant International, we are happy to help.

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