social media profilesIt’s basic but crucial to your social media presence to have an effective profile.  It’s both a snapshot of who you are and often the first impression others will have of you.  So how do you get your profile to work for you without boring people to death?

Use a real photo of yourself.

Sometimes you see people using their logo as their picture or avatar but I usually advise against this.  You want others to relate to you as a real person when they are thinking of buying from you—show us your eyes! 🙂  That is something you really can’t convey through a graphic.  (Unless maybe you’re Starbucks.)

Oh, and use a professional photo when possible.  Your picture should be you alone—no offense to your kids and pets.  If you are using social sites for business even a little bit, your photo needs to be somewhat professional.

Location, location, location.

Include some indication of what area you live in.  It may be the world wide web, but you never know when local opportunities will show up.  Make it easy for people to find you.

Have a well thought-out bio.

People will look to your bio in order to get the essence of what you’re about.  This can be a short version of your “elevator pitch” as long as you avoid sounding too much like a commercial.  Read it to yourself to get a feel for how it comes off and adjust if needed.  Keep in mind that you want to emphasize how you provide value to others.

Include all of your relevant links.

Make it easy for people to find out more about you and get more website traffic at the same time.  Definitely include your website/blog as well as URLs for any other social sites you are active on.

If possible, use your full name.

Depending on the social network, you may or may not be able to fit your whole name.  Also, if you have a common name, it may have been snatched up already, such as on a site like Twitter.  In my case, I went with @ChristineG because my first and last name wouldn’t fit.  I’m ok with that though, because people still associate it closely with my full name.

Personal tidbits are not a bad thing.

It’s called social networking for a reason—don’t be shy!  Some people feel uncomfortable sharing anything about themselves outside of their business persona.  But being your authentic self is what draws others to you.  You may have a snazzy professional profile pic, but posting photos occasionally of your latest vacation won’t hurt–it could actually be great for business.

Fill out your background completely.

Others are able to find you because of the information that you fill out about your interests, education, past employment and groups and associations you belong to.  This is especially true on LinkedIn.  Keep your info up to date so that opportunities can easily find you.

The most important thing? Make sure you have a consistent presence across all networks.  This will strengthen your personal brand and help establish credibility. To make it easy, keep a document on your computer with all of your profile info.  Then, just copy and paste it when needed.

What are your thoughts on what makes an effective profile?

Photo Credit: Gary Hayes

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