Studies have shown that first impressions are actually more powerful than previously thought. It’s possible our brains are actually wired so that the first impression made upon us by others actually become self-fulfilling prophecies.
One such study was done by psychologist Nalini Ambady. During her time at Havard, she performed an experiment to examine the effect of first impressions on perception. In this study, she divided students enrolled in a college class into two groups. She showed each group video clip of the professor “in action”. One group saw clips which depicted the professor as cold and uncaring. The other group saw clips which portrayed the professor as warm and caring. Each student was asked to write an evaluation of the professor after viewing the clip. Of course, their first impressions of the professor were carefully crafted – and students who were shown one set of clips had a distinctly different first impression that the group shown the second set of clips. The students in both groups then took the class with the professor in question.
I wanted to believe that once the students EXPERIENCED the professor’s teaching firsthand that they would then be able to form an “accurate” opinion. I wanted to believe that Instead of the carefully crafted first hand impression they had formed based on watching a few brief video clips, the students would end the class seeing the professor for who and what he really was.
However, that’s not what happened in the study. Instead of the students revising their original first impressions based on first hand experience, they instead fiercely clung to their carefully orchestrated first impression.
At the end of the semester – the students who saw the videos depicting the professors as warm and caring still described him as warm and caring. Those who began the semester thinking the professor was cold and uncaring ended by describing the professor as cold and uncaring.
This study – and several others that followed – seem to illustrate this disturbing fact:
The first impressions actually become self-fulfilling prophecies.
This study shows why it’s essential that your business make a good first impressions on consumers. That’s one of the reasons business blogging is becoming such a powerful force for businesses big and small.
When you begin blogging for your business – it gives your business an opportunity to “speak” in a warm and caring manner. You can influence consumers by “speaking” in a warm, caring voice via your blog. You can write to address their problems and provide answers. You can carefully craft the first impression your business makes on consumers.
So often, small businesses craft their web site trying to appear “cold and uncaring”…. a.k.a. “professional”. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a static web presence that has a professional appearance – but the real question is –
Is that what consumers want when they visit your web site?
Your professional static web site may offer basic information consumers need – but chances are they need more. They need a carefully crafted first impression maker which casts your business as the problem solver they need.
That’s the type of first impression your business blog can make.
Your business blog can do more than your static web site because it can tell daily, weekly or monthly stories of how others have used your products/services to conquer evil and save the world.
Maybe your stories won’t be Star Wars epic and grand – but you get the picture.
Your business blog can share real life customer testimonials – via the written word, via audio or even via video. As you create those stories and share those testimonials – you’ll find that your business blog begins to almost magically begin attracting visitors who were searching for “keywords” contained within those stories.
That’s a “warm and caring” first impression every business owner should be striving to make.