There was a shampoo commercial in the 1980s for Head & Shoulders, which said simply, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

The spirit behind that iconic commercial still rings true today. Ignore the fact that Head & Shoulders was selling dandruff shampoo and your company probably isn’t. You, your company, your product, your service, your employees, your BRAND never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Complicating the matter further, as important as that first impression is, you only get seven seconds to make it. Seven seconds! That’s a shorter time than it took you to read the sentence about first impressions. Count seven seconds to yourself right now. Your first impression is already solidified in their mind.

First Impressions Matter

Prospects are busy, distracted, short on time, short on budget, and short on patience. They are doing everything in their power to get to “No” as quickly as possible. Your goal for your brand is to make the results of the first impression a “Yes” or even “Let’s have another conversation” as quickly as possible. A solid first impression goes a long way to turning a quick “No” into at least another at-bat – or maybe even a “Yes”. It’s critical to get this right.

So what IS your brand’s first impression? If it’s a person, who is approachable, has your brand story straight and is good at telling it, congratulations. Continue to allow that person to tell your brand story at every networking event, tradeshow, and speaking engagement they can.

In most instances, however, almost all of your prospects’ first impressions of your company will not come from face-to-face interactions, but rather through a digital interaction, most typically on your website or through LinkedIn or Facebook. Are your Digital First Impressions working as well as your in-person ones? Do you trust your Digital First Impression to strike up a conversation at the next networking event?

Let’s look at the Big Three Digital First Impression generators: your website, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

The Humble Website

Clear your mind of what you know about your company, your sales cycle, or your funnel. Forget everything and visit your website with fresh eyes – from a Digital First Impression standpoint. Give yourself 15 seconds, which is what the average user spends on any given web page nowadays. It’s harsh, but it’s twice as long as you get in person!

What did you learn? Are you compelled to have a conversation with your brand after seeing the web presence? Do you want to take time out of your already hectic day to engage? If the answer to either of those questions is no, why would you think anyone else would?

Think for a second about HOW you just visited your own website. Did you do it on a phone? Mobile web browsing long ago overtook desktop as the leading way users connect to websites. If you haven’t re-examined your web presence in “a couple of years,” it’s way past time. Is your website mobile optimized, or do you still use a Flash intro, have small fonts, and feature stock photos of bosses who look like Bill Lumbergh? If so, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Saturday, mmmmmkay?

Your website can be an awesome Digital First Impression generator. But to do so, it’s got to be ready for prime time! You’re already paying for it – why not make it great?


If your company does not have a LinkedIn presence, it is going to be even more difficult to break through the noise in the market. If you do have a LinkedIn Company Page presence, congratulations! However, just as with your website, if you haven’t looked at your LinkedIn Company presence in a while, clear your mind and go do so now. I think you’ll be amazed at what’s hiding in the dark corners where you haven’t shined a light recently.

When you moved offices last summer, did you remember to update your LinkedIn Company page with the new information? If you’ve expanded (or contracted), are your Company Size numbers up to date? How many of your employees and leadership follow your company page and list your company as their employer on LinkedIn? If not all, why not?

If you happen to work at a company that uses initials, make sure your employees are pointing to the correct LinkedIn Company page. Say you work at the National Business Association, and your employees all link their profiles to the National Basketball Association: anticipate confusion.


If you have a company presence on Facebook, please go look at it and make sure it’s positioning your brand in the best possible light.

Photos of your team volunteering to plant trees in an urban reforestation? Yes. Photos and a story about the successful blood drive your company hosted in its conference room last month? Absolutely. End-of-the-company-party photos or other brand-damaging communications? You want to go check now, don’t you? Facebook is a great place to make a first impression and humanize your brand, just remember to humanize it positively, because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *