Having spent my first few weeks in a new role meeting new colleagues and clients I have had a lot of time to think about first impressions, particularly the old saying “you only get one first impression”. In the business world first impressions are vital, mess that up and you could lose important opportunities in the future.
What I hadn’t thought about until recently though was how my social media footprint may affect my opportunity at a first impression. During a social media marketing course earlier this year my lecturer said 5 simple words which drew a chorus of nervous laughter around the room; “Anything uttered online stays online.” Ultimately once you post something online whether it be a comment to a blog, a photo from a company party or a video of you doing karaoke at your 21st birthday party, that information will always be available somewhere on the web.
With business social networking sites such as LinkedIn, it is possible to know the full career, education, skills and network of a person without having met them. A quick Google search can give you access to photos from FLickr, YouTube videos or personal blogs. Ten minutes of simple searching and it’s possible to make a judgement on a person without giving them the opportunity of a face to face first impression.
My advice then? Before you react to anything online, pause before you click ‘publish’ or ‘post’ and think, “Would I say this to my ideal client?” If the answer is no don’t post it – it could come back to haunt you otherwise.