When you meet someone for the first time, the introduction usually starts with a handshake. For me, this custom is the most immediate and lasting impression of a person.
There are two particular handshakes I’ve encountered that have stayed with me over time, both less than favorable, placing on opposite ends of the spectrum. The first one was from the fellow at a car dealership. He was a big burly fellow with a meaty hand. I reached out for the grip and shake and squeezed a big, soft, man-baby hand which provided noreciprocity of engagement. It was unnerving to say the least.
On subsequent service visits I would repeat the greeting forgetting about the original contact, be startled anew. I would question, “Why this approach?” Was offering a weak handshake some sort of confidence-boosting gimmick? If so, it rang false and reinforced the stereotype about car salesmen being untrustworthy. Don’t pretend to give me the upper hand, so to speak.
The other memorable meeting was with a fellow parent. This was less of a handshake and more a lightning round handcrushing contest I wandered into. This gentleman had someone to impress, but only he and I noticed it. On future occasions I was prepared for his ridiculously aggressive wrestling moves and escaped with only minor injuries. My first impression of him was consistent in other later observations.
Is your #social media presence something that is consistent with your brand? Will your tweets or wall posts attract or reject potential customers? It is a challenge to separate your personal feelings and interests from your business persona. If a potential customer finds your messages off-topic, distasteful or at odds with their ideologies, it may be a lost opportunity.
Here are five tips for curating your brand by keeping your personal and professional streams separate:
- Create a separate account for personal use and for your business.
- Keep personal posts on a private or friends only account.
- Avoid controversial topics such as lifestyle, politics, religion on your business page.
- Let your visitors leave more informed than they came and feeling that you are a subject matter expert in your field.
- Ensure that your Retweets and Shared Posts are on topic and consistent with your #branding.
As you continue to post, make regular content audits to verify your brand is on message to form a positive and lasting first impression.