“An image is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service.”
~ Daniel J. Boorstin

One of the complaints I hear regularly from people is that they don’t seem to be getting the results they’d hoped for using various social networking platforms. Aside from the standard “create a strategy” first step (an article entirely on it’s own), I have to then ask “are you using your profile effectively?”

Handsome Charlie

Your profile is a lot like your business card. It’s a snapshot of who you are and what you do. And quite often, it’s the first impression that people have of your and your business. So it’s something worth getting right.

The better your profile, the more thorough and concise your profile, the more likely you’ll attract the right people. This little snapshot of you can either turn people on, or turn them off. It’s definitely worth the few minutes it will take to tweak.

Typically, a social media profile (or any standard profile for that matter) allows you to share your username (or your full name), a photo (or avatar), and an abbreviated bio. And in may cases, some will also allow for your URL.

Four things to keep in mind when creating your profile…

Keep Your Username the Same Across All Networks. Your goal here is establish a strong online presence and to build your brand. So whenever possible, keep it consistent and keep it simple. If your name is too common (Mary Smith) you might want to try going with business name or a nickname (Mary the teacher, Coach Mary, etc.). But again, keep it consistent, keep it simple and make sure it’s easy to spell.

Write a Compelling Bio. Your bio tells the story of who you are and what you do. Claim your expertise – don’t be afraid to talk yourself up a bit. Share your Unique Selling Point (USP) and what makes working with YOU different than working with someone else in the same niche or market. Give them a reason to take action and want to connect with you further. I offer a great process for creating a good bio in my Beyond Social Media Intensive.

Include A Link to Your Website or Blog (even if there isn’t a space for it). The other half of your profile is letting people know where they can go to find you and find out more about what you do. So be sure to include a link (even if for some reason there isn’t an allotted space for one). Don’t list every link (unless there’s a space for that). Instead link to one place that you think best represents who you are and what you do. Decide, is that your website, your blog, your Facebook Page, your article listings, your newsletter opt-in, or even a master site where you can share all the places you can be found.

Use a Personal Photo For Your Avatar. I think sharing your photo can sometimes be the scariest part of creating an online presence.Whether we like it or not, we will get judged on our photos. Which is why it’s important to put your best face forward. It doesn’t have to be a professional headshot. It just needs to be a clear, cropped image that lets people know there’s a real person behind your business – someone they can get to know, like and trust. And don’t be afraid to be a bit quirky and let your personality shine. I know quite a few big name experts that regularly change up their photos for holidays by changing the overall hue of the photo or by adding birthday or Santa hats.

These four simple steps won’t take much time to take action on. I think you’ll find that with a strong profile, a clear statement of what you do, a link to your site or blog and a good photo, you’ll be more likely to attract your idea friends, fans and followers. And better still, you’ll be a step ahead of others in your field.

BONUS: I recommend creating profiles on: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (of course – the big three of social media), Biznik and Ladies Who Launch – even if you don’t plan on being active on any of them. Of course there are many others that you can sign up for (I provide a master list and tracker in my Beyond Social Media Basics Intensive).

And a great tool to help you double-check that your name in various social networks is FriendsCall.me

What steps will you take to make your profile more powerful?