By Gloria Lombardi

Today, for the majority of us who are experiencing the advancement of the digital age, the first chance to meet our audiences happens to be online. As a consequence, to consider our first impressions on the web and social media has become essential for the development of our relationships.

How can we establish and develop meaningful and trusty relationships on social media? What does happen in our brains when we meet someone for the first time online?

Robin Block, Signature Profiles Digital Producer, has created “The Power of First Impressions Online”, a short film which intends to examine the psychology behind people’s initial perceptions of others on the digital space.

The video, which features experts such as The Web Psychologist Nathalie Nahai, Personal Branding Coach Malcome Levene, Sociologist Emma Bond and Social Media Specialist Jorgen Sundberg – shows the latest thinking on the topic from a neurological, psychological and leadership perspective.

Block’s reason behind the production of this particular film is to start a discussion about how people form judgement on others through the web. “I wanted people to think about what they are putting out about themselves online, what does the online space say about them, and to understand how significant it is in terms of what their footprint is. For example Gloria, I Googled you. By Googling you I found out about your values, I saw you on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. and already started to form a judgement about you before I met you”.

Block emphasises that this is not unusual anymore. Before meeting people for the first time it is very likely that we will search information about them online. “If it is for an important meeting or if it is for hiring someone, often we do google and what we find online actually shapes our perception.”

Block commented that his film “is open to discussion”. However, in answer to the question “How do you make a great first impression?”, he is clear and firm in saying that “you have to be visible.

Today, if you are not online, that is going to be very challenging.

It is very important to have self-presence and at the same time be very careful with what you are putting out there.”

Also, he stresses the importance of making sure that the online presence is authentic, by talking about “valuable authenticity”.

“Your inner brand has to match your online brand. It is very important to combine them both. Be who you are in your personal life and be who you are in your professional life. Then, make sure these fit together online. As technology and social media continue to grow, there has never been before such importance around transparency, which means really showing who you are.”

However, he points out that “authenticity is not just about me being me”. As Malcom Levene reports in the video: “It’s more about me be the one who I would be proud of, the me who has an impact on others that I wanted to have.”

Therefore Block suggests:

“If you can be the best of you online, staying authentic but actually showing yourself in the most positive way, that is going to be very powerful. It attracts people in your world.”

Useful sound bites from the programme

Nathalie Nahai

 “The value of first impression can be anything from convincing someone to put you onto a conference, to give you a key note speech, to present you and promote what you are doing to your boss. It is very very hard to undo a first impression. This is why it is so important to think of what kind of impression you really what to make.”

“One of the key things we are accessing whether to trust someone or not, is by looking at their reputation. This can be through social proof, how many followers you may have – so 50,000 followers, everyone is following this person, so he must be good. Or it could be through endorsements through authority figures in your industry.”

“The key to online expression is to figure out how much of your personal self to put out there. This is going to be different for everyone but whatever profession you are in, social media allow us to express a deeply seated urge to connect with others and to feel part of the community. And the way we do that, is by figuring out personally, what we like of other people. If you are a brand you have got to decide what personality can I show, how can I present that in the best light, and then, how can I express myself and this, through the media that I put out, the blog posts, the platforms where I speak on? So, it is having a clear idea of your core values, and how much of your personal self can you express online.”

Malcom Levene

“We make a first impression within ten seconds of meeting somebody for the first time. That’s a fact.

“There’s a raft of science to support this fact. Some of the largest corporations in the developed world, provide the 10-Second Guide to all new employees. Empathy is an agent to emotional intelligence. Having an higher than average score of Emotional intelligence enables us to engage, build rapport and converse with people in ways that actually relate to them. Furthermore, it helps others relate to us with greater ease. It’s about having enough empathy to understand the impact you are having. In effect, you need to be self-monitoring: How am I doing? How am I communicating? Are they listening? Are they not listening? Am I caring? Are they caring? Empathy and emotional intelligence are closely linked.”

Jorgen Sundberg

“A recent study by a company called Jobvite indicates that 90-95% of recruiters would use social media for hiring new people. So if you send a CV to a company, they would Google you and would probably find you on Facebook or LinkedIn. Based on what they see there together with your CV, they form a quick first impression and an opinion of whether they want to interview you or not.”

“In order to build your presence online I would advice you to start with the classical marketing methodology. First of all, what is about you that you would like to offer? Looking at that, who is your target audience? What would they perceive when they see your profile? What channels are you going to use to reach these people? How are you going to perceive yourself? And then, in the world we are living now, how are you going to keep this up? How are you going to continuously interact with your market as well as put out interesting content?”

“A strong personal brand online, is someone who has clearly defined what they do, how they do it, what they can do for you. They have a nice photo, imagery, perhaps even a video and they are also very well connected in the community, giving them that credibility. If this person is connected to all this people who are my network, that in turns instill trust and build a strong brand for me”.

Dr. Emma Bond

“It is really important to think about what we are putting online, what does that say about us and what would other people think about if they saw it.”

“Many times our online presence, is actually about our performance, because we are very well aware that online there is an audience. So we are going to behave differently or perhaps we project ourselves in a particular way, knowing that there is a particular audience viewing that material.”

This article originally appeared on simply-communicate