There are only two types of "visitors" to your website, blog, profile, or account page1: Those who've never seen any of your stuff before, and everyone else. Converting the new visitor to a repeat visitor is a key goal for anyone in business. The definition of conversion varies, and we'll get deeper into that in the coming posts. But a high-level goal should be moving that new person into the "everyone else" column.
First impressions mean everything to this group. They will be making snap decisions about you based on your most recent post on your blog, update to Facebook, image on Flickr, tweet via Twitter, video on YouTube, episode of your podcast, or whatever action you do on whatever platform you're doing it from.
Your most recent update should always be your best.
It should also be indicative of the kinds of things you want to be known for on that platform. That makes it hard to post anything other than that which you want to be known for. And that makes for a boring, monolithic platform.
The fix is easy. Though it's easier on some platforms than others. In fact, I've done it with this blog post. It's not the most recent post I've made, though new folks would never known it.2 I back-dated the post I wanted to make so that it showed up below this post and deeper in the RSS feed. The "everyone else" I mentioned before are probably getting this via RSS or email, so they won't miss it. Those that are more casual checkers may miss it, but so what? It's not like the post was all that critical. This one is the important one.
Not all platforms will let you do that. So that last tweet is what people who hit your Twitter page will see. You can't back-date on Facebook or Flickr either. So it's a good idea to hold some gems in reserve. Then you can post that whimsical update followed quickly by something of more value to the new person.
Or... you could recognize that personal branding is pretty fractured, and you don't have to be the same thing in all places. You never want to stop being a human, and if cutting up in public is part of who you are -- it's sure as heck who I am -- then do it and don't worry about it. I do it just about everywhere else but here (as of late).
But even still, I think I could do a better job of putting my best foot forward on platforms other than this. Now to determine if I care or not. Do you?
1 - This assumes they come in through your front door, as if someone told them to check you out online. Searchers are a totally different breed, as Google cares little for taking people to your home page and instead wants to take them straight to the content they want. More on this in the future.
2 - Well, they wouldn't have known if I didn't spill the beans with this post!
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