Walk into a restaurant, sit in a waiting room, or watch people outdoors and you can tell that social media is a lifeline for people. Whether friends or potential employers, your social media profiles are often the first impression people have of you.
Gone are the days of slapping up a so-so picture and adding the city where you live for a profile. You need more! Your social media strategy is a way to brand yourself. If anyone googles your name, your social media profiles are going to pop up first.
Here are 10 important things to consider when building your social media profiles.
1. Your Display Name
This seems like a no-brainer, but not everyone recognizes the value of being yourself. On the other hand, there are times when using a pseudonym makes sense. If you are known under a different name in your industry, that is the name you may want to place on your profile.
This can happen if you are a writer who uses a pen name, or maybe you established yourself in business with your maiden name and are now married. Continuing to use your maiden name for business may be smarter to maintain your brand.
2. User Name and URL
The standard on most social networks is that your username is part of your URL. This is usually different than your display name. Most platforms will not allow you to change your user name, so select it carefully.
Using your own name is usually the best choice for a username. If you are pushing a company name or logo, that may be a better choice. A good rule of thumb is to keep your username consistent across all social media platforms so you are easily found.
3. Your Link
Each social media platform has its own link, and you want to encourage visitors to link to your other platforms. Adding links to your profile’s front page encourages this type of cross activity.
Using URLs that are shorter makes it easier for people to copy and share your link. For example, if you have a blog post you want to share, consider which appears more professional and appealing:
Using branded links will also put your brand name out into the public, providing further promotion.
When working with your social network profiles, consider setting up a social network landing page. These pages are useful in offering discounts or sharing information that encourages traffic between each platform.
4. Profile Photograph
The best profile pictures are headshots unless you are using a company logo. The profile photo needs to be consistent across all platforms. With a business, putting a personal face on your page is more appealing than a logo.
The picture of a human face makes the business appear friendly and open. People like human contact, it provides a break from the technology onslaught. For fun personal pages, any type of profile picture works but consistency across all platforms is recommended.
5. Your Biography
Your biography is your “elevator pitch” in which you provide an explanation of who you and your business are. This is an excellent place to mention your history of employment if it is pertinent to the brand you are promoting.
Some platforms, such as Twitter only allow a very brief bio. Others, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, allow you to write extensively. A professional biography should include the following:
- Show don’t tell why you are the best person for the job, don’t say you are creative, show how you are
- Tailer keywords to your audience and focus on what you are an expert at
- Keep language fresh and avoid buzzwords
- Show the reader what the benefit is for them
- If writing isn’t your thing, consider having a professional write the bio
- Check your bio at least every quarter and update as necessary
On platforms that allow for a larger amount of information, you can explain who you are, what you do, and why the visitor wants to use your product or services. End the bio with a call to action inviting people to visit a product page, give you a call, or sign up for updates.
6. Your Interests
In addition to your bio, some platforms have a section where you can add information about what your interests are. This includes music, videos, movies, sports, TV, books, and more. This is an area many people skip, but when promoting a business this is a mistake.
This is an excellent spot to place information of value. Every niche has at least one or two published books and most likely a couple of videos. Any type of documentary, a profile of prominent people, or book you can place in these fields adds value to the overall content of your page.
Keep in mind that only 4% of job recruiters do not refer to social media when seeking employees. You may lose opportunities for a new job or lose potential clients if you have inappropriate information on profiles that are available to the public. Employers now use social media as a way of determining the overall character of a potential employee.
If a potential client or employer views your social media platforms and finds you posting complaints about clients, employers, or businesses you deal with, they will be fearful you may take similar action against them. It is important when promoting your brand to keep your reputation intact and positive.
To see how you are doing in this area, perform a Google search of your own name. If you are happy with the results, you’re doing great. If negative things are showing up, you need to start making changes to improve your brand.
7. Privacy Settings
Once you have your page built, it is important to check your privacy settings. You need to review these on each platform you use.
It is also a good idea to go back and review your privacy settings when you do other update checks on your profile. Sometimes when a platform goes through a regular update process it may change your settings in the background. You want to make sure your preferences for privacy have not inadvertently been switched.
If this is a business profile make sure it is available for public viewing. Marketing with social media will fail if your page cannot be seen by everyone. If this is a personal profile, you may want to keep the page private.
8. Maintain Activity
Once you have your social media networks established, you need to stay active on them to keep people coming back. Make contributions to the platform and engage visitors. Ask questions, respond to comments, provide interesting ideas and new information.
If you participate in groups be an active member. Providing assistance and getting your name out helps build your brand.
9. Cover Image, Banner, and Visual Content
The majority of social media platforms allow you to place a larger image behind your profile photo. Although some platforms allow you to use a default background, this is not a wise choice. By customizing your background you have an opportunity to show the personality of your brand.
The background should not compete with your profile photo. It should enhance your brand and provide an attractive look to your page.
Some platforms, including Facebook, allow the banner to be a video. This provides more engaging content for page visitors.
Visual content is important when using social media. It catches the eye and draws visitors in. Using images on both your banner and in your content makes your page visually more attractive. Video and image posts receive more shares, likes, and interaction than content that is text only.
Images are also important because people remember something they see six times better than what they read or hear. By adding visual content to your posts you increase views by 94%. The Cisco Visual Networking index indicates that in 2021 videos will encompass 78% of all data traffic.
10. Promote Your Social Media Profiles
Now that you have your profiles set up on social media, you need to let people know where you are. Add your social media profiles to your website, your permanent email signature, and your business cards.
Will Johnson of The Harris Poll noted in his opinion If Facebook Doesn’t Move Fast, It May Break Its Most Valuable Asset—Its Brand that 75% of Americans use the Facebook social media platform. Its closest competitors are YouTube with 60% and Instagram with 46%. Bringing up the end is 31% on Twitter, 30% on Pinterest, and 27% on Snapchat.
These numbers show that whatever platform you prefer, the ability to move forward on social media is strong. Paying attention to the details of your profile is the key to growing your business.
Grow Your Brand
The best way to grow your brand is to step out on all the social media platforms you can, setting up your profiles and accounts properly. Once set up, make sure you keep your social media profiles up-to-date.
Is your profile photo outdated? Have there been changes in your personal life or business that are missing from your bio? By staying current you put your best foot forward when a new potential client visits your page.
Now that you know how to manage your social media profiles, check out our other blogs for more great information.