How to Set Up Your Social Media Profiles for Instant Expert Status
Whether you’re just getting started with social media or brushing up your social media presence, it’s a good idea to start with the basics of how to create a profile that is optimized for engagement.
How you set up your account plays a major role in how you’re perceived by your audience. Just like in-person meetings, first impressions are very important with social media. Users will see your profile and quickly form an opinion about you, and this will determine whether they want to engage with you at all. If you have an account already, it may be due for a brush-up.
Personal vs. Business Pages
Some social media platforms make a distinction between personal and business pages, and others don’t. This is something you’ll need to think about if the option is available. On many social networks, people use their personal profiles for their businesses. In this case, you would use your actual name but tell visitors to your profile about your business in your headline. In the experience section, you would tell people what it is that your business does.
I always recommend that my clients set up a Facebook business page for their real estate business but to blend their personal and business content together to give better engagement, and to get that traffic – and all important Facebook user data – to your business page as well. This is quite a bit tougher than managing just your personal Facebook profile, but when you want to start doing paid advertisements, you’ll be grateful for the data that your Facebook page can give you for targeting and retargeting your audience.
Two sites that distinguish between personal and business pages are Facebook and LinkedIn. On Facebook, you definitely don’t want to use your personal profile for your business. Create a separate page for your business but don’t keep them separate. Your prospects want to see who you are as a person too! So be sure to always share your business page’s posts on your personal profile.
On LinkedIn, you have the option of either setting up a company page or using your personal profile for your business. Both options are fine, but keep in mind that people like to interact with people more than they like to interact with corporations. Use your company page to showcase your brand, but optimize your personal profile to be the “face” of your business and to make the majority of your connections. I usually advise clients to create a company page and use it as a supplement to your personal profile that focuses more on your business, rather than using it exclusively.
If you already use LinkedIn and want to change your personal page to include your business, be sure to turn off “notify your network” before you start working on it. Otherwise, every single change you make will be broadcast to all of your contacts.
Google+ and Pinterest also have the option of choosing a business page rather than a personal profile. Aside from special business-specific features, another advantage of Google+ is that you can separate the content you share so that you’re not sharing business-related content with your personal contacts who may not be interested.
Your Profile Photo
Probably the most important part of your profile is your picture. This is what people will see every time you interact with them on the social media network. It’s the part of your social media presence that others will notice first.
People like to know who you are as a person. It’s always better for small businesses to use a picture of the owner as their profile image, rather than a logo or related image. This puts a face to your business, which is important in the social media world. People want to engage with other people, not with a logo.
The photo should be professional looking and not a selfie. It should show just one person who is the figurehead of your organization, not a group of people. It is best to take a picture of your face and crop it somewhere around the chest rather than a full body image. You should be smiling and the image should showcase your personality.
It’s often instructive to consider what NOT to do rather than what to do, and here are some things you should avoid in your pictures:
➢ Wearing sunglasses, an intrusive hat or anything else that might cover your face
➢ Pictures that are too close-up so that your face seems huge
➢ Pictures at weddings or parties where you look inebriated or otherwise
➢ You with a baby or pet
➢ Pictures that appear dark or serious, or have shadows in bad places
➢ Be careful with pictures where you’re indulging in your favorite hobby; it’s best to use a picture where you’re just smiling and giving the camera your full attention
➢ Your modeling headshot, a Glamorshot from the 90s or anything else that screams “fake” (Realtors, take note!!!!!)
Remember, this is a general list and that there are exceptions to every rule. For example, if you are a veterinarian, then it would be far more acceptable for your picture to include your pet than if you were a divorce attorney.
Banners and Cover Photos
Most platforms give you a banner image (Facebook calls it a “cover photo”) to go along with your profile picture. Users will see this only when they visit your profile. Sitting prominently at the top of your profile, it offers prime online real estate so you need to make it count.
Choose a banner image that shows what your company or brand is about. It’s perfectly fine to use your logo here. The best banners tell the visitor exactly what industry and business you’re in at first glance. Focus on conveying personality.
Each platform has its own size specifications so choose your banner image accordingly. After uploading it, always check to see that it looks the way you expected it to look.
Another important piece of internet real estate is your headline. This is a bit of text that is displayed at the top of your profile near your images. This text should state clearly and concisely whatever you feel people should know about your business. Don’t simply put your job title.
The best headlines describe what a business does in terms of the benefits it offers its customers. For example, rather than writing “SEO Expert,” you might say something like, “Helping customers find you online.” The latter focuses on the real results the client gets by hiring you.
Don’t be afraid to talk yourself up in your headline. Many businesses hold back and try to be humble because they want to come across as approachable. But one purpose of the headline is to sell your brand to visitors. Make bold claims and show your expertise.
For example, rather than using a headline like, “Father, coffee enthusiast, and writer with a passion for technology,” it’s better to use something like, “Award-winning tech blogger and consultant, proud father, and coffee enthusiast.”
Use the words here at the top of your profile to show your value. Be someone your visitor would want to meet and talk to.
Most social media platforms allow you to create a vanity URL. Instead of the random series of letters or numbers that the site gives you, you can choose the name of your company or brand instead. Each site is different so follow the instructions for creating your vanity URL and choose something that you can easily reference and share.
Be aware that there also could be some restrictions for using a vanity URL. For example, using one might impose a limit on your number of followers. Many platforms require a minimum number of followers or subscribers in order to qualify for a vanity URL.
Make sure that any website links you have for your business are prominently displayed on your social media profiles. Each platform has its own rules about where links can be placed, but try to put them in your general summary, even if they aren’t clickable. Facebook, YouTube, and Google+ all give you places where you can put your links.
And that’s it! This may seem like a lot of “busy work” but trust me – these are steps you don’t want to miss. Taking the time now to set your profiles up the right way will save you time and increase your know-like-trust factor almost immediately, so get it done right!
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