On average, when we meet somebody new it takes us seven seconds to make a judgement about their personality. Yep - in just a short seven seconds we make a judgement that can be super tricky to shift and it's often an impression that impacts the way we think about a person for years. It could be a good impression - like "they seem like a fun person" - or it could be more negative. We treat brands the same way - we make a fast, snap decision about what we think of them and it is very hard to change our minds. All this is to say; making sure your brand makes a good first impression is important!
Making a first impression online counts
Lots of small businesses spend many hours of hard work determining what their brand personality is and developing a tone of voice, target audience and key values. But none of that is important if you aren't able to communicate exactly who your brand is - and fast!
When you are constantly working on your business, it can be easy to lose perspective and forget the impression you are giving online. Your brand is your baby, and we get it - it can be incredibly difficult to be objective about it. But at the end of the day, it's so important to make sure every single aspect of your presence is communicating the same thing - especially if you are going to invest dollars in PR or Marketing.
Here are four key areas to consider when determining what impression your brand is giving, and some suggestions (from our team of digital marketing experts) on how to improve!
The first place to optimise your first impression is by opening an incognito (private) browser and searching your business name. Why incognito? Because otherwise Google will prioritise your website because they know you've spent a lot of time there.
Take a look at what comes up. Are you able to see your website? What pages show up first? Are there other brands with similar names that come up too?
When we search our business, we are able to see our website, some photos, business hours and key links to our social media platforms too.
If you aren't happy with what you see - set aside some time to create a Google My Business account, which will allow you to optimise your listing.
The next place people will look to discover your brand is your website, so it's important to make sure it speaks directly into your brand.
A few questions to ask yourself (or a trusted friend!) when you look at your website are:
Is it clear what you offer within three seconds of looking at the website?
Is there a reason to choose your brand above your competitors?
Can you easily see your contact details or store location (if you have a physical store!)?
Are your images high quality and show off your products?
What is the call-to-action?
We often ask the question among our team: "if someone tells you about a brand, where do you head first to find them?". Almost every time, the answer is a resounding "Instagram!". Think of Instagram as the window into your brand - it can be the determining factor in terms of someone opening the door and venturing further (onto your website!) to make a sale.
Instagram is primarily a visual tool, so it's important to create an aesthetic that really communicates to your audience (and potential audience!) who you are and what your brand is about. Think about popping some not-so-serious stuff in amongst your products or services - quote tiles, GIFs or short videos always show a bit of personality and can be a great tool for relating to a potential audience.
In terms of captions, the same rule of mixing business with a bit of pleasure applies. Show your personality and sell softly; you'll have to grab them in the first sentence! (For more on engaging caption writing, check out our downloadable.)
Facebook is a bit of a unique blend of functional and visual. People will expect to be able to find useful info (such as your location), but also want to see pretty pictures that relate to your brand.
Here's a checklist of things to make sure you've covered:
Is your location correct and visible? Depending on your business. it's worth adding your phone number too!
Is your brand bio accurate and up to date?
Do you have a link to your website? (Take it from a millennial, It's always preferred if you have a separate website to your Facebook page)
Do you have a cover photo? Is it outdated? Like your home page image on your website, cover photos are a great way to keep things looking fresh and interesting.
Are all of your images good quality? No one likes to be met with a blurry image - it looks unprofessional and might mean the difference between someone hanging out on your page and leaving.
Need some visual content for your Facebook or Instagram? Hit us up.
So what are you waiting for?
Start by having a look at your brand. Ask people what they think you do and be ready to hear things you didn't expect! Remember, every brand is a work in progress and there are always new things to do, but this is a great place to start when getting yourself out there. If you'd like more tips on how to work on your business - instead of in your business! - we've written about bringing life back into your business too.
WORDS | Hannah Steele & Lucy Francis, TLSE