How do you create a great online profile? Conveying your brand or personal identity through online profiles can be a challenge. Different platforms can be confusing. Do you need a Twitter profile? A LinkedIn profile? Crunchbase? An industry-specific profile? Pinterest? This article will help answer these questions and others as you journey through the profile creation process.
Profiles Designed to Intersect with Your Audience
Some companies recommend building every possible social media profile all at once. In fact, there are services that will do it for you. We recommend a more surgical approach that puts your audience in the driver seat. There is little reason for an English-only speaking person to create a China-based Baidu Teba profile, or for most executives a Behance profile.
"Understand who your target for social media platform exposure will be"
We recommend you understand who your target for social media platform exposure will be. Will it be businesspeople, customers, friends, artists, or speakers of certain languages. Once you have a good idea of who your audience will be you can create a short-list to focus all of your energies on.
What’s in a Name?
The name you use for your URL and your username should both be considered carefully. When potential customers are searching for your brand online, they are searching specific terms. Consider the following when you name an online profile:
- What name do people search you by? Ex: Mike or Michael?
- Might they add geo-refinement, like a city, to the search.
- Would a middle initial be used?
- Could they easily misspell the name? (if so, buy those domains)
Whatever brand or name the people you want to reach use most often should be the one you use in your profiles. For search engine optimization purposes, the more relevant your username is, the more searchable you could be.
Choosing an Appropriate Profile Picture
Whether an executive profile picture or a simple picture for a LinkedIn profile, the best picture is the one that will resonate with your audience and convey your image without the need for words. Some general rules apply in most situations, or if you want to really dig deep, this article will help.
If your brand is established and widely recognized, choosing an image of the brand logo is often the best choice because it's a known quantity with brand relevance baked right in. This isn't a good choice if it's the online profile for an executive of the company though.
However, if the profile you’re creating is not for a popular brand or well-known company, and the purpose of the profile is not to educate people specifically on the brand, then a person’s face can be the most appealing option. People identify with faces. Here are some professional headshot best practices.
Naming a profile picture
Name the profile picture you choose something appropriate before uploading it. This can go a long way for SEO purposes because search engines look to the title of an image to describe how it should be returned in search and social results.
Filling in the Details
Social media platforms give you a lot of space for details - there are biography sections and personal interest blocks and blurbs for your hopes and dreams and mother’s maiden name and the barber that gave you your first haircut. What’s the point of it all?
Don’t let these sections overwhelm you. Instead, think of them as elevator pitches and free opportunities. Without overwhelming your profile with sales talk and keyword stuffing, make sure to take full advantage of these text blocks. Include appropriate search terms because it isn't only Google that will be crawling your profile. Many other types of software sift through the data you provide and are looking for specific keywords - give them what they need.
Be robust if you can (some sites have strict word count limits), and be specific. Remember: every word you put in your profile is searchable by some form of search engine (human resources software, research bots, Bing, Archive.org, and others) meaning your next big opportunity has a better chance of finding you if your profiles are fleshed out.
Choosing the Proper Platform
Online profiles should be developed with the audience in mind. The defacto general business profiles are LinkedIn.com and Crunchbase. But people performing due diligence or research on a person or company will look more deeply. For example, Facebook and Twitter are common places to go to understand what a person or company might be like in a less formal setting.
Bloomberg and other profiles you cannot control easily
Other profiles you will have less control over include third-party profiles generated by Bloomberg. These profiles are not directly editable. Bloomberg profiles get their data from many different sources. The exact source of Bloomberg data is, as far as we know, unknown.
What works well on one social media site may not work well on another. This non-exhaustive list should make things easier:
Being all about vocation, LinkedIn profiles are a little different than other social media sites. Still, the thing most experts agree about is that personal branding, or the company brand, is the most important aspect of a social media profile, including LinkedIn. The profile picture is also a very important part of a successful LinkedIn profile. Another difference is that LinkedIn provides a lot of space for text, space that should be used to its full potential. Don’t be afraid to get into the nitty gritty on LinkedIn - your brand generates the interest, and your content feeds that interest.
People want to see the "humanity" of both companies and people in a somewhat less formal setting. That's where Facebook can come into play. When creating a Facebook business page, there are several different categories that you must choose from to identify what kind of page you are creating.
- Local Business
- Brand or Product
- Company or Business
and a few more are all options. You can alter your choice later, but the category changes the appearance of your page, so choose wisely. Another important step is to fill everything out completely to increase the strength of your profile. Take the time to write in everything, from the Start Info (formation date and so on) to the Long Description and Mission.
There’s a short character limit on most things Twitter allows, which makes it unique in the social media world. When using Twitter, get accustomed to being concise. The brevity doesn’t hinder creativity, though, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can be lazy with descriptions and names. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is to be searchable. Use names that make sense and that reflect the brand or company accurately.
Path to Social Media Success
Despite the differences between social media platforms, a few general tips are ubiquitous:
- Convey a strong brand. Consistently, the thing listed at the top of most social media betterment tip lists is corporate and personal branding.
- Think about searchability. The opportunities for SEO that present themselves in social media should be capitalized on fully. Name things appropriately, fill out all of the available text options, and use keywords.
- Be a real person. Potential customers want to know that they are dealing with a real human being. Allow for personality to show through, and don’t forget about including the faces of real people.
Now, go and build the best social media profile the world has ever seen!