By Tanya Smith
socialmediaprofileA well branded social media profile is essential for small businesses today. The profile tells people all about you and the value you offer, and it can provide those in your circle of influence a place to connect and get involved. Having a well written social media profile can certainly enhance how well you connect with potential leads, but there are a few guidelines you must follow.
The Social Media Profile Image
Your picture is very much like a personal logo. People will instantly recognize your brand when they see it. Make sure it looks natural and that it fits the perception you want to create for your target audience.
A headshot that shows part of the neck and shoulders is typically a good start. It shouldn't be too large or too small. Use the same photo consistently for all of your profiles so that your potential customer recognizes you. This increases the trust factor, because the more they see you, the more familiar your prospect is with your brand. If you have images you'd like to use, put them in your albums. Try not to change your profile picture often.
Logos really aren't appropriate for a personal profile. Remember your personal profile is your opportunity to build credibility and familiarity. It's not about your company as an entity, but enhancing the personal social connection. If you are branding a Facebook fan page or a brand page on LinkedIn, logos may work, but for your personal profile, try staying with a picture.
Consistency is Key
Most, if not all social media sites allow you to customize your profile. You should do this as much as possible. Use the same design patterns and colors that you use on your website. A great way to do this is to take the horizontal banner of your site and make a vertical version for your social media profiles.
Consistency is also very important with the data in your profile, not just the image. Each profile should have the same basic information written in the same general tone. This makes you appear reliable and trustworthy. Some sites like Twitter don't allow you as many words in your profile, so create an abbreviated version with only the most essential information.
Never leave a profile incomplete. It's like putting a sign up that says, "I'm not ready to serve you". Fill out every space required, and then some. If your profile information is incomplete, it could look like you don't have much to say about yourself. It may also make you look careless.
Connect all of your social media sites, as well as your blog or website. This helps people understand that it's you they're connected with. It affirms that you are the brand they are coming to recognize and love across all platforms. It also offers more touch points for you and your customers.
What to Write In Your Profile
Your social media profiles should be consistent, but there's one area where you should add a bit of variety, and that's content. Each social media site has certain types of content that it likes. Twitter and Facebook like more relaxed comments and personal updates. Networks like LinkedIn and Google+ are more professionally oriented. People on those sites like news stories and helpful tips.
It's okay to share your posts across social media platforms (e.g. Twitter and LinkedIn), but it's best if you can use the language or style to which each platform is accustomed. It's also great to offer something different on each social media site because many of your fans will be the same everywhere.
Whenever you're using social media, you should always maintain a consistent brand. Be mindful of what you do because you never know who will see it. Follow your social media etiquette and keep things positive. Showcase your unique personality, but always consider how your actions will look to your fans, which are your potential leads. And always, always, maintain a high level of professionalism and integrity.
Tanya Smith is an internet branding coach specializing in showing service based entrepreneurs and small businesses how to simplify, save time & stand out with strategies that engage more quality leads and clients. Her company Be Promotable provides fresh actionable steps and virtual resources to promote business owners as power players in their market. For instant access to your free 7 Secrets to Managing Your Time Online report, visit www.tanyasmithonline.com.