A Good First Impression

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It has long been an stat, regardless of industry, that it takes just a matter of seconds to make a good or bad first impression.  Between 10-15 seconds.

In the past, we had the ability to engage with a person directly.  What impacted those 10-15 seconds included not only the words being said, but our body language and vocal tones.

Technology and Social Media have changed the game, and now those first impressions are made before people will meet you face to face, step on your campus, or walk through your business doors.

Employers are finding potential employees’ social media accounts & using the information shown to weed out prospects before the first interview.   Colleges, churches, ministries, and non-profits are creating “Social Media Clauses” that indicate any impropriety online can be cause for dismissal.

Social Media has become a litmus that the every day consumer uses to gauge if a company or product is reputable, find information about organizations they are considering partnering with, and even to help narrow the list of places of worship they will consider for possible membership.

When we moved to our current city, technology had moved to the point where almost everyone had a website.  Now, some businesses have forgone the traditional website almost completely in favor of Social Media platforms.

As we relocated, finding a church was a top priority on our list.  My first order of business was to use a search engine to identify where the local churches were located in proximity to our home.  If the church didn’t have a website, I moved to the next result.  After opening the website, I searched for a few things:

  • About the Pastor – I wanted to know a little information about the Pastors, including what they looked like, their names, and how long they had been at the church.
  • Ministries Offered – As a mother of young children, a children’s ministry was important to me.  Anticipating a future in that church, I was also interested in if there was a youth ministry for my children as they aged.  I also look for a Women’s Ministry.   I have moved right on from a church website because I don’t see a Women’s Ministry listed.  If there is a Men’s Ministry too, that is a bonus!
  • Bible Studies/Sunday School or Discipleship/Mentoring – Having both is great, but at least 1 is a must.
  • Statement of Faith & Church Calendar – this tells me just about everything I need to know about the beliefs, culture, and life of the church.
  • Photos – whether randomly found on the site, or in a formal gallery, I am looking at the demographic of the church. Diversity is super important to me, I want to see different ages and stages, men & women, different ethnicities represented.
  • Past Sermons (audio or video) – the ability to listen to the Pastor’s message is huge, and being able to access many of them also gives me an eye into how they also address special events, types of guests they bring in to speak, etc.

A church website is a little more formal/static, whereas social media is fluid and organic.  In the social media accounts we not only get to see what the church says about itself, but we also get to see what others say about the church.

It was a few years ago that I was interviewing for a Women’s Ministry director position in a neighboring state.  I found their church website which also had links to their social media platforms.  A few quick clicks and I found the hashtag that the church used, by clicking through the hashtag I was able to not only see what the church had posted but also posts from members and guests.  I was also linked to a few articles that were written about the church by local press.

Before I set foot in the interview, before I even sent my resume to the church, I already knew a lot about the church and it’s impact in the community.

Your potential guests are looking at your website.  Your potential hires are looking at your Social Media.

What is the impression it leaves?  What does your website or social media say about you when you are not in the room?

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