If you are anything like me, the information you post on social networking sites is hastily cobbled together with very little thought. While I quite understand why this happens, to get the best from your on-line presence I believe this approach should be re-evaluated. In your work, social media sites can help you build relationships with customers, generate feedback and market your business. Often your social media profile is the first thing potential contacts will read about you. It will be an excellent investment of your time to think through the image you want to project – so don’t rush it. Think of your on-line profiles as an electronic CVs and give it due care and attention.
Here are a few suggestions to help you put together the best possible:
1. Look at the profiles of people you admire. What draws your attention and what pushes you away? Who do you want to connect with? Learn from what others are doing!
2. Get the essentials right. Tell your reader who you are and what you do as succinctly and clearly as possible – ideally in two short sentences. Include a link to your website. Don’t write your life story. You will get the chance to elaborate as you get to know people.
3. Use the language of the medium. Don’t be jokey on a serious business networking platform such as LinkedIn, and don’t be wordy and self-important on a personal networking platform like Facebook. Adjust your tone to the medium as each site is different.
4. Tell them where you’ve been and where you’re going. Mention at least one professional achievement. People will want to know how credible you are. Goals are important too – people who see these may be able to help you achieve your aims.
5. Let a little personality through. It should not be all about work – your interests can open doors with others who share them. Balance work and personal information sensibly, though, and think about who you want to connect with.
6. Post a picture. Photographs are more immediate than words, but a picture must be right for the medium and your desired connections. On a business-focused platform, use a good-quality image of yourself looking professional. On Facebook, it is acceptable to include holiday snaps.
7. Brand your profile. Most platforms allow you to change colours or add background images. Use your company livery to reinforce your viewer’s connection with your firm’s brand. Be discreet about logos though – get people to connect with you personally first.
8. Do not be boring. Don’t use your profile to offer a lengthy dissection of your industry, to rant, to outline your company history in detail or to talk about your products, except in passing. Your reader wants to be able to scan your profile and pick out critical information easily.
9. Keep it fresh. Update your profile regularly. If your goals change, or you’ve got a great success story, add that in. If people can see that you have been recently active on a profile they will be more inclined to connect with you.
10. Don’t sell, engage. Never use your profile to try to sell to people – they will leave immediately. There are other channels you can use to talk about your product or service. The aim of your profile is to give people a reason to connect with you, rather than with your business.
JANE DELORIE | Principal Consultant