First Impression Counts – How’s Your Online Image Measuring Up?

Amidst the excitement of welcoming 40 new members to the Esthetician Inner Circle, I reflected on how all these new people whom I’ve never met or spoken to ended up trusting me to help them with their spa or esthetician business.

Turns out, the years I invested in cultivating my “first impression” and online image have paid off.

In today’s hyper-connected world, first impressions are often established before you meet someone face-to-face.

Prior to purchasing a product or engaging with a service professional, what do you often do?

Most would Google the person or business, read about her on social media, or check out reviews on Yelp – before they make a decision.

And it’s not only what you say about yourself that matters. The first impression people have of you is the sum total of everything you put out there, whether it’s personal or business-related.

The recent hostility and aggravation on social and political matters have led me to realize how open some people are to ranting about personal views on really sensitive subject matters publicly on various digital channels.

I’m not here to judge whether it’s right or wrong. It’s simply an observation that anything you say and do – even on your personal profile – could have an impact on how potential clients perceive you and even come to conclusions about your personality or competence in a split second.

As a service professional and business owner, it’s important to make sure that this first impression is a true reflection of who you are and what you stand for by managing your online branding and messaging.

How can you make prospects feel like they already know and trust you before they even meet you in person?

You want to make sure that your online brand personality is relatable, consistent and professional.

First, consider what your potential clients are looking for in an esthetician before they decide to engage in your services. These are two common questions they’d ask when they look you up online:

  • Do I trust this person?
  • How can this person help me?

For them to answer “yes,” you’d need to answer these questions honestly:

  • Are your social media and digital presence conveying a sense of trust? Do you make your audience feel safe and comfortable? Is your online brand inviting and personable?
  • Is your branding and messaging consistent across your social media and online channels? And are they consistent with who you are in real life?

To make sure we’re presenting a favorable first impression, you need to pay attention to what you’re posting and what a prospect might be seeing for the first time when she looks you up.

Here are a few things you can do right away to ensure your online image and presence is communicating an impression that inspires potential clients to take the next step:

1. Search Results

Have you Googled yourself lately and see what comes out in public view?

That’s what people do when they want to find out about a business or a person.

To make sure you’re seeing results as if you’re someone who’ve never heard of you, been to your website or seen your social media profiles, conduct the search in an incognito window so the results are not affected by your browsing history or cookies.

This will give you insight into what first impression people are getting when they look you up online.

2. Social Media

If you haven’t invested a lot in SEO to boost your website ranking, chances are many of your social media profiles would rank higher in search results than your site.

That’s fine, as long as your presence on these platforms is presenting you professionally and favorably.

You can’t control everything people say about you on social media. You can, however, take control of your social media presence by making sure that all your profiles are consistent, professional and personable.

Profile Picture

Use the same professional headshot for all your social media profiles. You want people to see your face and feel connected with you right off the bat.

Don’t use a picture of your pet, a cartoon character, a logo or your treatment room. And don’t grab a random photo of you hanging out in a bar, crop off your friends but leaving an arm and a leg in the frame.

Your goal is to communicate a consistent image. Being “professional” doesn’t mean you’ve to look stiff or wear a suit 😉

In our line of business, you want to communicate a warm and welcoming image to your potential clients.

Make sure you hire a professional photographer to take your headshot with proper lighting and a clean and uncluttered background. Don’t forget to look into the camera and smile.

Cover Image

Most social media profiles also allow you to upload a cover image to your page.

Take advantage of that real estate and design an image that communicates your brand personality and unique value.

On Facebook, you can take advantage of the call-to-action button on your business page so make sure your cover image is consistent with the CTA.

Description

Most social media profiles include a description or an about section. Make sure the copy for these sections is consistent across all platforms and piques interest in the unique value you deliver for your clients.

Your Posts

Who are seeing your posts?

On Facebook, you have the options to adjust the privacy setting for each post. However, even for posts you only make visible for friends, you need to consider if your friends on Facebook consist of your clients (which is the case for many business owners I know.)

I don’t mean that you can’t have an opinion or have to be plain vanilla. It’s absolutely critical that your personality and points-of-view come through in your communications. At the same time, you want to stay trustworthy and professional in your content.

Start by doing an audit of your posts, and remove anything that doesn’t present you favorably to your clients and prospects.

3. Your Website and Online Listings

Ideally, you’d include your website URL on your social media profiles so potential clients can find out more about you and your business.

You may also want to put your business on various local listing services to increase exposure.

In both cases, make sure your branding, messaging, tone and voice, as well as content in these touch points, are consistent and personable.

The impression you create online is truly a 360° experience. Remember, consistency breeds trust, which is an essential ingredient for turning prospects into clients.

We don’t get a second chance to make a first impression so be sure you’re putting your best foot forward wherever a potential client may come across your information.

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