Your social media presence is often the first point of contact for your brand online, so it’s important to be purposeful in how your profiles portray you.
Even though social media can sometimes feel like an intimidating snowball of doom, it can also be a great way to connect with other writers, editors, agents, and readers. Today I’m going to melt that snowball down a bit by sharing some quick fixes to vastly improve your writer brand social profiles in a just a day (or heck, even a few hours).
1. Write a stronger bio
Your bio is generally the first thing people see when they check out your social profile. It is essential to communicate quickly who you are and why someone should care. A vague bio = loss of connection, and connection is the entire reason you’re on social media in the first place.
First things first, keep your bio pithy and to-the-point.
Your messaging should be consistent across social platforms, but it doesn’t have to utilize all the same words.
Also, remember social media is all about person-to-person interaction — even though it doesn’t always feel that way — so your bio should be in first person.
Follow this basic formula: say what you do + show why your audience should care + offer proof (awards, education, etc) = great bio.
Start with Twitter because the limited word count keeps you focused on just the details that matter.
Your Twitter bio should include either:
- A collection of quick one-word descriptors about what you do (i.e. novelist, memoirist, copy-editor, etc.) or
- A one-liner that gets to the meat of what you do and why they should care.
“I help creative changemakers improve their personal brands [what you do, who you serve/why they care].”
“Author of cyborg cowboy [unique subject] novels [form] like My Book Title [your work], a NY Times bestseller [proof].”
Optionally, you can hashtag keywords to help you turn up in search. For example, if you include the word ‘personal brand’ in your bio, consider hashtagging #personalbrand. You may also want to tag the company you work for, founded, or write for, so you come up in search for those terms as well (i.e. “Brand Director @BinderCon”).
Even with more room here, keep your bio tight with these tips:
- Offer a snippet of backstory or demonstrated expertise that adds credibility, but don’t be too obnoxious in tooting your horn. Tell people a little about what drives you to do the work you do.
- Be sure to think about who you’re trying to speak to. Colleagues, editors, agents, readers and clients may have slightly different interests.
- If you have any honors, awards or life experiences that apply to your brand, drop in a short sentence to showcase your accomplishments.
- Offer an opportunity to keep the conversation going. Invite them to email you, connect or visit your website.
Use a pared down combination of your Linkedin and Twitter bios for your Facebook page.
With recent Facebook page updates, there are several places to separate specific information: Affiliation, About, Biography, Awards and Story. You can find all of these options under About on the left side of your Facebook page.
You can also pick categories for your page, which I recommend for search purposes.
Your Instagram bio should be very similar to your Twitter version, however, if possible add a couple of key titles to your name field as well. This tactic helps you show up more readily in searches.
For instance, instead of “Andrea Guevara” I might put “Andrea Guevara, brand strategist.” Try to use terms that you think your audience would use to search. Don’t be afraid to add some emojis!
2. Take a better profile picture
Like it or not, humans are visual beings. So don’t use a crappy, poorly-lit selfie for your professional social profile.
I love you, but get another person to hold the camera. You could prop the camera on a table, or counter and use a timer. Even if it isn’t a professional headshot, surely it will turn out better than a selfie.
Take the photo today and post it today. It really shouldn’t take long and you’ll be proud of your upgraded look.
Then when you have more time and a bigger budget, invest in a professional headshot.
3. Upload a powerful cover image
Your cover image should usually consist of one of these features:
- A picture of you doing something important (like a Ted talk),
- A high quality promotional image (like your latest book),
- An image that portrays the essence of what you do/who you are. For instance, mine is usually a beautiful, evocative nature shot with a short inspiring saying.
It’s not that you can’t feature other ideas, but remember you’re trying to give people an idea of who you are and what value you offer.
Specific platform recommendations:
On Twitter, use a cover image that encapsulates the essence of what you do. For Facebook, go with either an essence of what you do image, or a call to action to “like” the page, or sign up for email list. For Linkedin, I recommend a cover image that demonstrates your expertise (i.e. a photo of you speaking or teaching).
Also, I know famous people break all of these rules, but don’t base your social profile on their methods. The normal rules do not apply to them — they are already big shots. Once you’re a big shot you can have an enigmatic bio, oddball images and the like. Not until then.
4. Clean your online house
As writers, we often feel like we need to be on every new social platform that pops up. I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep up with all of them. And as a brand strategist, trust me when I say that you’ll get a lot farther by doing what you’re best at rather than becoming a social media scatterbrain.
Let’s get rid of some of your seldom used social accounts.
Do a quick Google search of your name and see what comes up. If there are any social accounts you don’t really use any more, deactivate them. Don’t delete them though, because you’ll want to keep your username reserved. This helps prevent others from using the same username and creating confusion.
Don’t worry about having a presence on all the cool kid platforms.
The two most important principles are to: be where your ideal market (readers) are and keep your profile current and useful. So go ahead and free up some headspace and time by deactivating those ho-hum accounts.
5. Share quality content, quickly
Coming up with consistent, quality shareable content is one of the big keys and struggles to building your readership online.
However, the first step to begin boosting engagement can be simple: Post other people’s excellent content, then interact with others.
Of course I’m not talking plagiarism here; I’m talking about sharing links to articles, posts, memes, videos, etc.
But before you just jump in and start spamming your feed — you know when a bazillion posts all from one person fill your feed? Yeah, that’s called spamming.
Don’t do it; just do this instead:
- Make a list of 10 people or brands who have awesome, relevant content. (We’ll help you get a head start here!)
- Next, sign up for a FREE Buffer account, It takes thirty seconds.
- Pick a wonderful piece of content from each of those brands on your list. Create 10 posts within Buffer (you can easily schedule them to drop at later times). Optionally: add a sentence or two about why you like it, or to put it in context.
Depending on what options you’ve selected, you now have at least a couple days of great content to share.
Keep up your momentum and schedule yourself ten minutes per day to find more quality posts and schedule them using Buffer and don’t forget to like, retweet and respond while you’re at it.
If you use this post like a checklist (and you totally should), you will have a better profile picture, a more applicable cover image, a powerful bio, and 10 pieces of quality content scheduled, plus you’ll also deactivate those useless, dusty old social profiles you don’t use. So go ahead and upgrade your online presence today.
I’d love to see your improved profiles, so please leave a comment below!