We’ve all heard the old saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”, and that’s excellent advice.

Perception is a huge part of success.

When it comes to making a first impression, appearance does matter. If you show up at an interview dressed sloppily or looking like you don’t care, people will make assumptions about your level of ambition and often your competence.

Interestingly enough, the same logic applies to your online presence. Especially if you are working to build an online business or brand.

If you’re running an online business or freelancing from home, you may not need to get up and put on a clean, wrinkle-free outfit every day, but your digital presence definitely needs to “suit up”.

By having a curated, clean and intentional online presence with brand aligned and up to date social media accounts, you can dress for digital success, even if you aren’t there yet.

Here’s How…

Get a Digital Makeover

One of the first things prospective clients or collaborators will do (if they’re nosy and thorough like I am) is Google your name to see what else turns up. This is a great way to explore what your online presence looks like; do a little vanity Google and see what’s out there.

Pretend to be someone who knows nothing about you. Is your MySpace page still lurking in the shadows? Did you use your real name to sign up for a message board five years ago? Those results can affect how people view your professionalism.

One way to power scrub your online presence, or at least the first page of Google, is to generate content and attach your name to it. In this day and age, content is key and a great way to control what pop ups when people are digging around the interwebs. If you create consistent, brand-aligned posts for both your website and your social media accounts, they should be able to push out any irrelevant or mildly embarrassing content that might be out there.

Step Into the Future

Additionally, it might be wise to, you know, shut down that MySpace page once and for all. Make your Facebook account “friends-only” if you post personal content, too. Your business page can be public, and will help you grow your brand, but the behind-the-scenes stuff should stay behind the scenes.

If you’re on Instagram (and you should be), as you build your content, remember that cohesion is key. Pick a color palette and stick to it across the board. Designate your brand’s font, and use it consistently. If you have thematic elements, try to incorporate them consistently and remember that people make decisions based on emotional reactions. When someone looks at your Instagram feed-what emotion does it trigger? Is it the one you want? If not, how can you fix it?

What Does Your Website Say About You?

A clean, modern, well branded and easy to navigate website can speak volumes. If you have an outdated, messy, hard to look at site, chances are your business is suffering. I’m sorry (not sorry) to say it, but if your website is messy and outdated, the perception is that your business is too. So, clean up your site and make sure it’s functioning properly, speaks to your ideal client and triggers the emotional response you want it to.

If you’d like an outside pair of eyes to look at your website site or social media accounts, feel free to send me an email and we can chat!

Now, Get Dressed!

By curating your content and making sure everything you share online aligns with the brand image you’re developing, you can “dress for the job you want”, digitally, even if you’re actually sitting at home in your pajamas.

If googling your name or your business name turns up a consistent and intentional online presence, it gives prospective clients confidence in your ability to deliver what they want and need.

Originally published at www.samanthadiane.net