Nearly 10 years ago this month, I created my first and last Facebook profile. Sitting in my High School Library towards the end of my Senior year, I cluelessly put together a picture, a couple monumental dates and places, clicked on the "Save" button and wa-la. Piece of cake. Now, if it could have only stayed that simple. Social Media profiles are becoming more and more of a reliable source for representation of a person, company, or event. The days of uploading some random picture and being ok with it are gone.
Establish what you will be using your Social Media profiles for. Business? Fun? Maybe both? Regardless, your audience needs (and wants) to know what they will be getting. Choosing the right Social Media platforms that fit your lifestyle is key. Don't feel that you MUST HAVE certain accounts to make everyone happy. For instance, I don't use Snapchat or Pinterest. It's just not me. Does that mean Could they work for you? ABSOLUTELY.
YOU MUST take time with your profile, the information provided, and especially, your picture. I realize your age and occupation play an important role of the image you want to portray in your profile, but that doesn't mean it has to be weak. I'm going to break down a variety of factors that play an important role in making sure your profile NOT SUCK anymore. This could be tips on your picture, your bio, to the color theme you have chosen to support your profile. I will do everything in my power to help your profile stand out.
If you take your time on one aspect of your profile, please let it be your profile picture. Are the other parts of your profile important? Absolutely. But you can make up some ground with the content of your posts, tweets, and other actions. If your profile picture is weak, you may never get that chance. Consider the Social Media platform you are using. Will the audience find my picture offensive, childish, or perfect? First impressions are everything and that is EXACTLY what your profile picture is.
From the get-go, you need to establish what you or your business is all about. As you can see from above, the expression and overall demeanor of your profile picture says it all. Make it very black and white the image you are establishing. Are you more of the creative, free-spirit type? Maybe you have a no-lose entrepreneurial spirit? I don't care who you are or where you are from, there is a picture that is perfect for your profile. Find it.
- Find the correct DIMENSIONS for each of your profile pictures. You should not look like one of the children from Honey I Shrunk The Kids in your picture. Select the appropriate size and format where you or your logo/brand can be seen clearly.
- COLORS ARE KEY. The wall you are standing in front of or background in general, should not be more appealing than you. A plain white, gray, or black wall will definitely allow the most POP in your picture.
- NO TEXT. You don't need to have a catchy slogan or generic quote lingering around your forehead. There is plenty of time for that in a little bit. Stick to keeping the focus directly on your picture.
- Outside or Inside? For some reason, the general public prefers female profile pictures to be inside, while male profile pictures are preferred outdoors. KEEP IN MIND - Depending on what image you are trying to establish, think about your audience and what they would prefer.
- SMILE! Well, maybe not...Sometimes a big ole grin on your face isn't what you should be going for. Does my audience want to see a serious, determined look or more of a genuine good-guy type look? There is a difference.
* The opinion between an actual photograph of a person, logo, or even a digital avatar as your profile picture is still highly debated. I think if your logo/brand has been established and recognized globally, without a doubt use your logo.
I know I said your profile picture was the most important aspect of your profile, but your cover photo is without a doubt just as important. With much more space to work with, this will be the first thing the eye sees when opening your profile.
Similar to the profile picture, YOU MUST start with the appropriate dimensions for each cover photo of your Social Media profiles. Here is a great infographic of the correct dimensions Shannon Johnsonposted on HubSpot a while back -
Take into consideration the types of cover photos that appeal to you the most. Is it the color? Maybe the emotion it brings? I can guarantee you that no matter the reason, the cover photo CAUSED SOME TYPE OF REACTION.
PASSIONATE - Create a cover photo showing what you LOVE most. Nothing is more beautiful than seeing someone live their dreams each and every day.
MOTIVATIONAL - A photo is worth a thousand words - How will you motivate your audience with one photo.
RELATABLE - When you can relate to someone or something, that is one of the most pleasing feelings this world has to offer.
GENUINE - One of the coolest things you can do these days is be yourself. Stand out. Be different. Be weird. Be genuine.
EVENT/OCCASION - The cover photo is prime-time real estate for highlighting an upcoming event, offer, featured product, etc.
I'm going to make this section short and sweet because I know only a few profiles allow you to have this feature, but I definitely wanted to throw this aspect in here. Having a color theme fit nicely in with your profile picture and cover photo is HUGE. I can't stand when I see a nice profile accompanied by quality pictures with some awful orange-brown theme that destroys it.
I used to not really care what my name was on Twitter, Instagram, even Facebook. Yeah, I put some thought into it, but does it really matter? Definitely. Most people have the misunderstanding your URL or hashtag name was what helped your SEO or where you popped up in the search results. WRONG. It's actually your name you have linked to the account. Keep it consistent across all platforms.
It's peacock time - let's see those feathers. I don't mean that in a cocky type of way either. If someone asked, "tell me about yourself," how would you respond? Take into consideration the number of characters allowed in yuor Bio. Twitter and LinkedIn Profiles are like comparing apples and oranges. Know your AUDIENCE and the KEYWORDS essential to include. If I told you to put your Resume' inSocial Media Profile form - how would you do it? And lastly, MAKE SURE IT IS COMPLETE.
Including any valuable links to your audience is A MUST. Your website, blog, other Social Media accounts, LinkedIn profile, etc. If there is not a specific place for your Twitter link or Facebook page, MAKE ONE. FIGURE IT OUT. This is a great way to allow your audience or fans to continue their brand loyalty, not to mention very easily. This will only help your SEO as well. Don't forget about a CALL TO ACTION - Sign up for Newsletter, Mailing List, Take part in survey, etc.
You could write an entire Blog on the settings of your Social Media profile to be honest. Wouldn't it be terrible to put in all this work for the wrong audience (or no audience). Make sure to take a look at your settings and make changes necessary to fit your audience or overall goals of that platform. I'd be pretty mad if I found out all of my posts had only been seen by my followers compared to a PUBLIC AUDIENCE. Or if my LOCATION was set to the wrong target audience or location you desired. Take time and review your settings.
To wrap things up, each different profile will take specific attention to detail to maximize the quality of your profile. Twitter is Twitter. Facebook is Facebook. I wish there was a universal profile that worked across all Social Media platforms, but I don't see that happening. However, there are basic fundamentals and correct habits that apply to all Social Media profiles.
If you're like me, sometimes you catch yourself in awe of a profile you've come across on Social Media. From the second you see it you are impressed. The color, the quality, the picture, the header photo, everything. BUT YOU DO NOTHING. Instead of going and making some changes and updates, we HOPE our profile will magically improve - IT WON'T! Make your profile have a purpose and maybe, just maybe, it WON'T SUCK ANYMORE.