Is Your Digital Profile Helping Or Hindering Your Digital First Impression

“My first impressions of people are invariably right.” - Oscar Wilde

In the book Ctrl Alt Delete, Mitch Joel introduces the concept of “digital first”. The concept that the first place we go to learn about people is online. In all industries you need to be aware that in the digital first world. People are likely to review you online before they decide to engage with you.

People make decisions based on what they read online. Or what your digital footprint looks like. So you don’t even know the opportunities you could be missing.

According to TheLadders research. Readers spend an average of “six seconds”, doing an initial LinkedIn scan. The first six seconds on your profile are crucial. We only have a short time to connect with the right audience.

If your profile doesn’t make sense to someone it’s a bit like touching a hot plate. The same as if a hotplate is too hot. The potential client or person reading your profile will bounce right off.

To determine if your LinkedIn profile is supporting your digital first impression. Ask yourself, is it clear from your clients perspective:

1. What problem do you solve? 

Without clearly communicating what problem it is you solve, readers will feel you may not be able to help. As Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, says: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

2. Do you understand my world? 

Your profile is a bit like a mirror. When people look at your profile, they’re looking to see that you know about their world. And it’s challenges.

3. What makes you different?

This is about differentiation, and it supports positioning. What do you do differently? Do you work with a particular calibre of clients? Do you work with clients in certain industries? Or the differentiation could be in your message. What is it that differentiates you?

4. How will what you do benefit me?

You need to articulate how people can benefit from what you have to offer.

5. Who have you worked with that I know?

This is where recommendations are important because not everybody knows you. But they will get a better understanding of you if you have worked with an organisation they are familiar with.

6. What do people say about you?

You might notice the recommendations at the bottom of your LinkedIn profile. This area is where the reader gets to see you through somebody else’s eyes – not through your eyes. It helps people get to know you better.

7. How effective have you been?

What results have you been able to achieve?

You need to show the results you have achieved and how. Testimonials can help capture your achievements. Let’s say I’m a coach and I need a graphic designer. You’re a graphic designer and I’m on your LinkedIn profile. If I see a testimonial from an executive coach, Sydney, I’m going to think: “Oh, well, this person understands what a coach is after.”

If you want to work with a certain industry make sure your testimonials are from people in that industry.

One of the basic things often missing from a LinkedIn profile is the answer to the question: “How do I work with / contact you?” Make it easy for people to understand how they can work with you. Make sure you include your phone number, website and email address.

If you can address these questions in your profile, you are on your way to getting the first six seconds working for you.