Creating & Maintaining a Great Social Media Profile

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Whether you’re already online and looking to improve your social media image, or you’re considering jumping on the Facebook or Twitter bandwagon, these 7 tips will help you establish an interesting, effective profile.

1. Fill out sections completely.

Twitter, by nature, is succinct; posts are only 140 characters long, and profiles are basic. In contrast, Facebook offers many opportunities for sharing information about yourself.

Often, people don’t bother to fill all the sections of Facebook profiles out. While it may seem unnecessary, the purpose of social media is to share and connect with others. Checking out a new friend’s favourite films or sharing which authors you enjoy is a great way to learn more about one another and start a conversation.

2.  Use great photos or logos.

Use high-quality images when creating any social media profile. When setting up a page for your business, crisp logos and expertly-shot photos of staff or products will promote your professionalism, attention to detail and consistency.

Bold, well-taken and current photos are also a must for personal profiles. They portray you in a positive way and send the message that you care about your overall image. Also, they’re practical! If your main photo is of your dog, baby, or you 20 years ago, it will be difficult for others to find you online as they may not recognize a profile as yours.

3. Include links to your website or blog.

Chances are, if you’re using social media to promote your business or market yourself, you already have a website. Make sure you place a link to it on each of your profiles! This is a free and virtually effortless way to draw traffic to your site, potentially generating more business.

If you blog for fun, share the link on your personal profile. Family and friends will notice it and be able to easily catch up on your latest poems, travels or book reviews.

Attribution-NoDerivs License by Franco Bouly

4. Keep it PG!

What would your mum or boss think if they saw your Facebook profile or latest tweets? Creating a personal profile is all about self-expression; however, it is possible for what you share to reach people outside your intended audience.

Be authentic, but keep this general rule; if it could get you fired or embarrass you if you’re asked about it offline, don’t bother posting it. Deleting content from the internet doesn’t guarantee it’s gone forever; why learn the hard way?

5. Develop friendships.

The point of social media is to connect with others. Even if you use Twitter or Facebook primarily for business networking, before long you’ll be chatting with new people. You may even be invited to in-person events. While you must still be mindful of your safety and privacy, taking internet-based relationships offline is not uncommon and does not have the stigma it once did.

6. Keep your profile up to date.

The internet enables information to be exchanged in the blink of an eye and sets the expectation for dynamic, up-to-the-minute content. Strong profiles are ones that get updated on a regular basis.

Whether you’ve brought in a new product or staff member, changed jobs, discovered a great TV show or had another child, share the news! Profiles with old photos or the same old details eventually become boring and easily overlooked.

This is especially important if you’re representing your company online. Frequent updates with rich information will keep you fresh in people’s minds and increase the possibility of them choosing to do business with you.

7. Set your privacy settings.

Using social media to connect with others is convenient, fun and popular, but the internet isn’t always a positive place. Establish boundaries for what you’ll share, with whom. Then, enable settings that reflect those boundaries and protect the privacy of you and your loved ones, particularly children.

Facebook has customizable privacy settings. Not only can you protect your profile from general Facebook users, you can choose to share information with some people in your contact list and not with others.

Twitter profiles and posts are brief and as such don’t require the same privacy settings; however, with the click of a mouse you can protect your tweets, requiring others to request permission before following you and seeing what you write. That way, you know exactly who is paying attention to you and can protect yourself from spam.

Contributor: Danielle Knowles

Danielle Knowles is a Feature Writer for Fraser Valley Pulse, as well as the owner of Red Pencil Editing Services. She loves to laugh, go on adventures and read.  Danielle lives in Abbotsford with her husband and fur babies Oogie Boogie and Mungo. Twitter: @redpencilca

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