A guest post by Judy Dunn
Showing Up Online
New social media sites are sprouting every day. It can feel like a giant wave, a time-sucking, all-consuming information and networking overload.
Another new site to join? Guess it’s time to slap up another paragraph. Just write anything to fill that frightening blank space that is your profile.
But wait. Think of all the people, all the potential new customers and clients, who may read your profile and in one instant decide if they want to follow you, friend you, hire you.
Scary? Well, yes, it is. But with an extra half hour, in just five easy steps, you can write and manage a profile that tells people with clarity and originality who you are and why they should do business with you.
1. Align your social media profile with your brand.
Your website gives people a pretty good idea of who you are (or it should). But if the bio on your website, the one on your blog, and the one in your social media profile sound like you’re talking about three different people, I’d say you have a problem.
The more you connect your profile with your brand, the better. If you are playful, and your website copy reflects that, so should your profile. Maybe you have a quirky sense of humor. Or you have a burning passion totally unrelated to the focus of your business.
Show it—and yourself— in an authentic and consistent way. Though social media sites may differ in their personalities—suit and tie or blue jeans—you should stay the same person, whether it’s on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Biznik or something else.
2. What makes you different: Tell what you do best, and for whom.
When I am browsing through profiles, I like the ones that deliver their messages with style and originality.
For instance you could say on LinkedIn:
I provide marketing services for small businesses that need to develop a plan for self-promotion and are willing and able to execute the plan on their own.
Or you could write what Colleen Wainwright, the “Communicatrix,” did:
I provide marketing focus for overwhelmed self-starters. I help people make sense of the bewildering array of options and opportunities…It’s amazing what smart, motivated types can actually do once they have a map and a good light…
Now which person sounds more interesting? Which gives you more of an idea of what they do and exactly who they do it for?
3. Leave the cardboard person at the doorstep.
I saw a small business networking site yesterday that cautioned its new members to only enter “basic business information” into their profile. They said, “It’s not about you personally. It’s a business profile.”
I couldn’t disagree more, particularly if you are a small biz owner. People who are deciding whether to interact with you online are looking to connect with someone real.
Asking yourself some of these questions will help you discover and show the real, multi-dimensional you:
- What are your top three core values?
- What’s the one thing you are best at when working with clients or customers?
- What is the one thing you’ve done in your life that you are most proud of?
- Name the three adjectives that best describe you.
- What activity or passion energizes you when you are away from the office?
- Which movie or TV character are you most like and why?
- What’s your favorite movie?
- Your favorite food or beverage?s
- Name the two things that bug you the most when they happen.
Now use phrases from these answers to make a list. From that list, mix and match until you come up with the whole person that best describes you.
It can be a challenge on the sites that allow you very few words, but that’s part of the fun. And it’s the very process that gets you to the core of who you are.
Take my @CatsEyeWriter Twitter profile:
Slightly neurotic copywriter. Loves strong verbs, creating clients’ unique online identities, oaky Merlot and John Cleese. Thinks the word cree-A-tive is overused.
What was I going for here?
I wanted to show that I love writing (and have little use for clichés like “creative”); that my personality is a little like a Woody Allen character; and that my sense of humor leans toward the dry, British style. Oh, yes, and I like red wine.
Not bad for 160 characters..
Now you’ll have more words to play with on other sites, but if you can get it right on Twitter, you can write a masterful profile anywhere.
4. Act online in ways that match the person in the profile.
People are getting to know and, hopefully, trust you, so your online behavior and the copy in your bio should not clash. Because if they do, well, which person are you? Who you are should not change. Whether you write an article for a social networking site like Biznik, create a new blog post, send out an issue of your e-newsletter, or make a comment on Twitter, stay true to yourself.
My top three core values are service, empathy and humor. My goal is to convey one or more of these values in everything I say.
5. Play with the content of your profile as you change and grow.
You aren’t going to be the same person you are today. None of us are. Hey, next year maybe you’ll climb Mt. Everest. Or become the goalie on a women’s indoor soccer team. Or join the hole-in-one club. You might master conversational French. Or launch a new service for clients.
Profiles are easy to edit. Be sure to do that when things change, so your customers, prospects and colleagues keep up with all the cool things you are doing.
Judy Dunn is co-owner of Cat’s Eye Marketing near Seattle, Washington. She has a passion for making cardboard people come to life online. She blogs about online marketing for small businesses at Cat’s Eye Writer Blog.