These are the basic pointers I give members on my team. This is not your guide on how to become a social media expert, this is your guide to making sure you’ve got the basics covered. If you go through these basics, but only these basics, a social media expert will be able to take a look at your profiles and figure out in a minute or two that you’re not a social media expert. But that’s an improvement over her being able to figure that out in a few seconds. And if you aspire to something more along the lines of social media expert status, but you’re just starting out, this will get you started on your way.
Which Networks and Why
In this post I’ll focus on the top three networks; Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter. I also use Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and others, but I don’t view them as basic necessities. If you’re not active on Snapchat, it’s unlikely anyone is going to call you out on that unless you’re putting yourself out there as an uber-expert on all things social. But with the aforementioned three networks, if you’re not active on those it’s a glaring hole in your resume no matter who you are.
What You Need to Get Started
Other than the information you can type in, the one big thing you’re going to need is a good photo. So much of how others judge you online comes from this one thing. It should be authentic. If it looks staged in a fake way, it will do more damage than good. I prefer “action” shots that aren’t portraits. The only reason I don’t use one myself is I don’t have a good one yet.
Your photo should look like you. If you’ve lost (or gained) a lot of weight, changed your hairstyle, or aged a bunch, take a new photo. Don’t dress completely differently in your photo than you do in real life. You want people, upon meeting you in person, to instantly recognize you, rather than saying “Wow, I never would have recognized you from your photo!”
Here are some examples of action shots and portraits that are great for social media profiles.
Tangent: Why didn’t I choose any photos of females? Because no good ones happened to come up during the 2 minutes I spent looking for good Linkedin photos. Sorry!
Now that you’ve got your photo, let’s dive into each network.
Write in the first person. I don’t want to know what you, writing about yourself, think about yourself, I want to know what you would say if you were a normal person who speaks in the 1st person about yourself.
Avoid self flattery and self aggrandizement. Don’t use words like “visionary,” “progressive,” “forward thinking,” or “successful.” If you have to say it, it makes me doubt its validity. Heck, if you’re going to say “visionary” why stop there? Go ahead and say “Imbued with magical powers to control business events for the benefit of my employer.” It’s just as believable.
Titles don’t matter. What matters? Results. Focus on what you’ve achieved. If that’s hard, talk about roles. I don’t care that you were the VP Marketing at such and such company, but I do care that you built and managed a team of 5. I care even more that you built social media followings, email lists, and implemented marketing automation tools and can show how you increased lead generation by 400% and revenues by 40%.
Some other basics to cover:
- Include at least three jobs
- Get recommendations. Not the skills ones–those are too easy for people to give–the recommendations where they write a reference. These are harder to get, which is why they’re more valuable. Get at least three.
- Join some groups that interest you. At least five.
- Follow some people who interest you. At least five. And it better be more than just Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Deepak Chopra. Follow some people I’ve never heard of.
- Publish three things on the Pulse network. They can be short. They can be duplicates of content from your blog. Just publish something that shows you know how to write and think.
- Extra points? Publish a few presentations on Slideshare and add them to your Linkedin account. Or post some videos of yourself so I can see how you speak and handle yourself.
Note: Yes, there’s a lot more you can do on your profile. I’m not covering anything, just some of the things a lot of people seem to miss.
If you’re not planning on promoting yourself as a public speaker, author, or other public figure, just use your normal Facebook profile. Otherwise, set up a Facebook page for yourself, like this.
I’ve set up a separate Facebook page because I’ve put myself out there as a speaker and writer. The people who are interested in what I speak and write about on marketing and entrepreneurship don’t want to know about what I think about politics, my kids, cats, etc. Well, maybe some of them, but not most of them. So I’ve segmented my personal and business audiences.
Share something at least once a day, but not more than a few times a day, or people will get overloaded and unfriend you. Share content you think your audience will find helpful. Ask questions. Engage in conversation.
First of all, don’t look like a spammer. Beyond this, treat Twitter like you would a networking event. Listen to conversations you find interesting by following interesting people. If you have something to say, talk to them. Politely. Respectfully. Start conversations by posting what is interesting to you. If someone responds, talk to them. Favorite content you find interesting, or if you want to mark it for later reading. If you like it and want to share it with your followers, retweet it.
What’s the fastest way to get followers? By following others. Many people follow back. Follow your friends and family. Follow people in your community. Follow people who have similar interests. Follow your heroes. That’s enough to get you started. That’s how I’ve added 5,000 followers over the past two years, without having to buy any.
What’s the best way to share content? I love Buffer, personally. Don’t just share links. When you want to share an article, right click on an image in the article, buffer the image along with the article link. Tweets with images get higher engagement.
Focus your tweets. I mostly tweet about marketing, entrepreneurship, and customer service. Very rarely do I tweet anything personal–that’s not how I built my following, so I know that’s not why people are following me.
And that’s social media 101, the super duper basic version. And yet sooooo many people aren’t doing these basics. What would you add? What questions do you have? Tell me in the comments below.Liked it? Share it!