June 8, 2010
Almost every social networking site offers a feature called a “profile” that allows members to include their picture, a biography, live links to their websites and other detailed information. Most of us have multiple online profiles that are empty or only partially completed. It is this profile that helps other users decide if they want to work with you. Another perk of online profiles is that the live links pointing to your website may impact your search engine ranking.
It is very important that you think of these profiles as your own “Public Relations Department or Media Room”, specifically designed to sell you and your business. Imagine that you only
have a few seconds to sell a new prospect on why they should want to get to know you and possibly do business with you. What is said and offered during these few seconds can make all the
difference in the world. This is EXACTLY why your online profiles need to be completed to capture the attention of anyone who visits these sites.
Let’s look at the different aspects of social networking profiles and what information and content you should include to ensure that you get the maximum results. The following information may or may not be included in every profile, but the majority of it is standard:
Your Picture – Your photo is the first thing people will see upon visiting your profile or when reading your posts. How does it represent you? Wearing a tank top while giving the peace sign with a beer in your hand is not the way to impress potential clients. If you are looking for clients, then professionalism is a must. You can show SOME personality in your photograph but try to strive for conservative whenever possible.
Your Biography – This is your chance to tell others more about you, such as interesting aspects of your life and what makes you, YOU. Take your time here, as this area is the equivalent of sitting down with a prospect and telling them exactly why they should do business with you. Include specifics about your expertise, your business, how you have helped others and even your personal philosophies. You want others to be excited about connecting with you and this is YOUR opportunity to shine.
Links – Make sure to include helpful links in order to allow others to find you online. A link to your website, your blog and additional information about your business is crucial. However, some people make the mistake of including each and every link that points to a profile of theirs online. If you have 25 social networking memberships, it is NOT advisable to list them all here. A good idea would be to vary these links on every website where you have a profile.
Contact Information – You have to include contact information if you want people to have the ability to contact you. Do not try to hide at this point. Many people have the wrong opinion that they should NOT put contact information in their profile, assuming that people contacting you for business purposes is a bad thing. Would you include your contact information in a yellow pages ad? Then why not offer it online? Please only include information you want to be made public.
Interests – Do you like to play golf, workout, volunteer or build model airplanes? You might be surprised that many people would be interested in connecting with you just based upon similar hobbies and interests. This connection can lead to a deepening friendship that may lead to business and even referrals down the road.
Education – While some people may or may not care about your schooling, including specifics about your education can do two things to help you increase the number of responses. First of all, those who went to school where you did may want to connect. Secondly, by offering details about your education, it will help others to see your experience and expertise in various areas.
Favorite Movies or Books – While you may not see the correlation between your favorite movie and a potential new client, trust me, it exists. Just like much of the information above, the information in your profile is designed to help you connect with potential clients and to build business relationships. Sometimes, simply sharing your favorite movie can be the start of a beautiful business relationship.
Testimonials from Past Clients – One of the best ways to demonstrate your ability to help others is by including testimonials from past or current satisfied clients. These testimonials will help others to get a snapshot of some of the work you have done in the past and help to build a foundation of a great business relationship.
Looking at the list above, there is a lot of information that should be included in each and every social networking profile. Because of this, many people decide to skimp and their profile winds up being about 3 or 4 sentences long. This is a mistake. It is better to leave a profile blank than to create such a lackluster one. If you need inspiration, visit some of the most popular social networking sites and read a few profiles to get some idea of how to get started.
If filling out multiple social networking profiles is too much for your busy day, you might look at getting help from a virtual assistant. Many of them have experience in this area and can create a compelling COMPLETE profile that will best represent you AND your business. We live in a world of social networking… making it a part of your business marketing simply makes sense. Take the time to do it right or hire someone who can do it for you.
Bonnie Jo Davis creates and manages social networking strategies for her clients. She is a published author, expert in article marketing, and feels comfortable working in a virtual environment. For more information on how she might help you get the most out of your social networking efforts, visit http://www.your-marketing-assistant.com. If you need help marketing your local brick and mortar business visit http://www.local-map-listings.com