In today’s digital world, social media can be the making or breaking of your company’s branding efforts. But an often-overlooked aspect of a social media campaign is a company’s social media profile itself.
Social media profiles should never be rushed or completed merely as an afterthought. As the platform from which all your tweets, updates, messages, etc. will launch from – and thus something your audience will see on a regular basis, each of your profiles should wear your company’s image and values on their sleeves, and let people know exactly who you are.
In fact visiting your social media profile could quite feasibly be the first time a potential customer encounters your company, and we all know the importance of first impressions. For this reason, it’s good to think of each of your social media pages as a landing page for your brand. And, like a landing page, each of your profiles should deliver a succinct message and aim to generate engagement.
So, to help you make the most of your profiles, we’ve listed five of the most important social media profile dos and, perhaps more importantly, some of the social media profile don’ts.
Your name is what appears at the top of your profile, next to your profile picture.
It’s a common misconception that your username is important for SEO purposes (indeed, normally it is your URL that counts in the ranking). However, when it comes to social media profiles, it’s your name that really matters – so make sure you enter the name you want to be found under.
This isn’t to say your username isn’t important. People may search for you by guessing your username and entering it as part of the web address, so it should be obvious and easy to predict. And since your URL will appear at the top of all your visitors’ browsers when they’re on your page, it should never be just a default configuration of text and numbers.
Most social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, make it easy to configure your username. So you really have no excuses for not customizing your URL.
Do Write Creative Descriptions
It’s tempting to write a brief description of your company and then copy and paste it into all of the relevant sections on the various social media platforms. But though this approach may save you a little time, it does nothing for your branding. In general, your bio should succinctly, i.e. in one or two sentences, tell your visitors who you are and what you do.
This is the place to flex your creative muscles, since creating a bio that cleverly ties in your main keywords and conveys all of the necessary information without taking up much space can be a difficult thing to do.
Tesco, for example, has a great Facebook bio. The copy is interesting, informative, and highly readable.
On the other hand, bios that are underwhelming, repetitive, and, leave some boxes incomplete, don’t capitalize on the space provided.
It’s also important to tailor your bio to particular social networks since some only allow you to use a limited amount of characters, whilst others encourage more lengthy copy.
Using Tesco as an example again, the company chose to use the limited space on their Twitter bio in an explicit and humorous attempt to gain more followers and promote engagement.
More descriptive copy may be suitable for smaller organizations, which people may be relatively unaware of, but, since Tesco is so well-known, this bio works really well.
Don’t Use an Inappropriate Profile Picture
What makes a great profile picture is a contentious issue. However, what’s not up for debate is that the picture should be high quality. This is fundamental: using a grainy, pixelated image is one of the surest ways of coming across unprofessionally.
Where things get a little trickier is choosing whether to use a picture of a person, or your logo.
As a rule of thumb, if you’re creating a social media profile for a large organization it’s almost always better to use their logo – just make sure you use the same image across the various social platforms to ensure consistency.
You can, of course, spruce the logo up a little with an interesting background or color choice.
Xbox logo, for example, opts for a simple green background, congruous with their brand; whereas PlayStation chooses to neatly integrate some graphics into the background of their profile picture.
But remember: keep it simple, profile pictures are small and can easily begin to look cluttered if you try to do too much.
If you’re setting up a social media profile for a smaller venture, a picture of yourself (if you’re in charge) or your CEO may be more appropriate.
People like to feel as though they’re engaging with a real person, and a personable picture can go a long way to make your audience feel like they are. Also, if your organization contains a person(s) name – as, for example, law firms often do – then a picture of that person (or people) can be especially effective.
If you do opt for a picture of a person, normal portrait rules apply.
Top Tip: there’s SEO value in appropriately naming the file you choose to upload as a profile pic. Call it [yourname].jpg or [yourbusiness].jpg rather than IMG0122.jpg.
Do Display Your Link – Everywhere!
If people are looking at your social media profiles, there’s a good chance they’re interested in what you’re offering.
So, presuming you have a good mobile optimized website (since a lot of social traffic comes from mobile devices), it’s well worth diverting your audience to it whenever you can – since it should be better equipped to convert them.
You should always find a permanent place for your link on the main page of your social profile. Most social networks provide a special place for this, but it’s surprising how many people forget to make use of it. If no space is provided, place it beneath your bio or some other prominent place.
A decent proportion of your content should aim to get people on to your website. Luckily, there are lots of ways to get people to click through to your site without it being too obvious that that’s what you’re trying to do. For example, avoid publishing all of your content on the social media platform itself, and instead publish some of it on your site and link to it. And, on Twitter especially, provide a bitly link at the bottom of all your tweets.
If you’re interested in where your social traffic is coming from, consider creating network-specific landing pages and link to them rather than your website URL so you can see which networks you’re doing well on and which require a little more work.
Don’t Forget to Go Public
What’s the point of going to all this hard work if no one can see your posts? But, if you have your privacy settings set too strictly, this is exactly what will happen.
Your default privacy setting will vary from network to network. So, once you have your social profiles looking great, make sure everyone can see them by making all of your content visible to the public. Don’t be shy.
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