‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression.’
Who was it that said that? Socrates? Einstein? Beyoncé?
Aside from the fact that cliché sayings make me want to dip my face in boiling hot lava, this one actually rings true.
The first impression is a mighty force. In less than a second, people you encounter will have labeled, judged and filed you away in a very deep compendium reserved for first impressions, forever etched in their minds for better or for worse. Are you filed under ‘Sassy’? ‘Sophisticated’? ‘Snoresville’? There’s evidence suggesting that even before the brain registers gender, it has deduced likability. Yikes – better work on that smile!
First impressions are just as fleetingly fickle in the digital world, if not more. Social media is a playground for judgments and quick fingers, so you’d want to be striking a chord, and fast.
Businesses are flocking to social media like a seagull to a hot chip. So many of them are growing their following and brand popularity because they’ve nailed the social side of things. Other brands, however, are like those dopey birds that lose their minds and sporadically slam into windows. Just like dopey birds, brands can easily miss the mark if they aren’t flapping their wings in the right direction – toward the chips!
So, when your target audience has all the patience of a golden retriever at dinner time, it’s crucial to take a leaf out of your parents’ ‘Pieces Of Advice Volume #427’ and make an incredible first impression.
Here are my top eight tips to make your community happy dance their way into the lifelong fan base. Read on, fasten your seatbelt and consider the ante upped.
- IT’S CALLED SOCIAL MEDIA, NOT BUY-MY-PRODUCT MEDIA.
It’s amazing how many people disregard the operative word ‘social’. Exercise the 80/20 rule – 80% of the time you should be sharing non-promotional content that is fun, inspiring and even a little absurd if it suits. The other 20% of time can be allocated to promoting your brand’s butt off and really hitting your home-runs.
- CUT THROUGH THE CLUTTER
Through the perpetual onslaught of saturated content created via digital marketing, it pays to be seen and heard. You want to become famous rather than infamous for your consistently clear voice cutting through the clutter of same-same. Like a child registers their mother’s voice in the crowd, so too should your audience recognise yours. Obviously, choose a voice that is soothing rather than grating. Try Cate Blanchett over Fran Fine, or Benita Collings from Play School over Chandler’s one-time girlfriend Janice. You get the picture.
- CHECK YO’SELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YO’SELF
Double check your spelling, names, information, sources, images, punchlines – EVERYTHING! With Google in your back pocket, there is no excuse these days to spell someone’s name incorrectly or give credit where credit isn’t due.
- PERSONALITY PLUS
Social media can represent your brand, personified! Dress her up, give him a style, compliment her looks, feed him content – basically just pretend your social media platform is your favourite Barbie or Ken doll and go from there. But more than that, show your audience the personality behind your brand – it’s got charisma! Sex appeal! A cheeky side! A sensible side! You get the gist. Don’t forget to put your brand’s best foot forward – use good angles, hide the mess in the background and for the love of all things sacred, no duck faces!
- KEEP IT POSITIVE
There is absolutely no problem with having a private Facebook page where you can rant about your in-laws, slag off the latest Federal Budget or whinge about those elusive missing socks. But never use foul (or even negative) language, whinge, bitch or complain via your online networks. It is not a good look. Remember, your potential clients could be (and probably are) reading what you tweet. For all they know, you are what you tweet. Keep it professional, clean, and reflective of your awesomeness.
- CONSTANTLY CONSISTENT
When a new user hits your account for the first time, it should look like a well crafted patchwork quilt that has been lovingly crafted, carefully structured and meticulously produced. Consistency is an important piece of the branding equation, so for maximum impact keep the message focused and ensure all of your fonts, colours, photo filters and image style is aligned, consistent, representative of who you are and clearly distinguishes you as being you.
- SIGNATURE SCENT
What do you smell like? Whether floral, woody or fruity, keep your signature scent as a constant throughout your social media platforms. Find a style that reflects both your brand and your followers, then stick to it. It might be a specific sign-off, boss hashtag or tongue-in-cheek captioning – whatever your calling card, develop and hone it so your followers can smell you coming, and love you for it!
- EVERYBODY LOVES A MCVALUE MEAL
Give your people some lovin’! Is there some way you can wow their pants off with some extra value? Educate them, entertain them and touch them (emotionally, not physically – that could put you behind bars). Recipes, inspiration, freebies, knowledge. And don’t forget to thank them for their support!
Social media is a mindblowingly powerful platform that will allow you to build your brand organically and speak directly to a captive audience (people that are interested in what you’re doing at actually want to hear what you have to say). When it comes to social media, same rules apply as the real world – you’ll NEVER get a second chance to make a first impression, so go on, make it count!