Create your online persona

Regardless of the social media platform you’re using, you are going to have some kind of a profile.  It is the core to almost all social guy with blank signnetworks and communities.  Your profile is your introduction to the world, the network or community.  It needs to reflect your personality AND how you are important to your customers AND the style and tone of the community where it is posted. You are starting with a clean slate – so be creative and tell your story.  Once you have the content of your profile figured out, use itconsistently so that when someone “meets” you on FaceBook and then invites you to connect on LinkedIn, they are seeing the same person.

This can get quite tricky when you are a solopreneur, or an independent professional, where you are your business.  The notion of personal branding comes up and I get asked all the time, do I brand myself or my company?  With social media, people are building a relationship with you, and you represent your company.  So the answer is that it depends.  On what….. your business objectives

If you are a consultant and most of your business is by referral, then you probably want to focus more on yourself – as people are referring you, not your business.  On the other hand, if you run an online boutique specializing in vintage women’s clothing, or an auto repair shop, or a hair salon – people are going to know the company, not necessarily you.

Let’s dissect your online profile and make sure you have the right elements in place across all platforms.   Key elements of a profile usually include:  Picture, Bio and Links.

Make sure your picture is current
– nothing is more unsettling that to meet someone online only to eventually meet them in person, at a conference, event or a meeting or something, and they look nothing like their picture.  It is like they lied to you.  Plus, the bigger advantage is that people will begin to recognize you online by your picture and they will subconsciously develop a stronger relationship with you.

You bio needs to have two versions
– a short one and a longer one.  You can think of the short one as your tagline, either yours personally, or your companies.  It needs to be memorable and quickly paint a picture for people.  The longer bio provides the details and is only used when people really want to learn more about you.  Give them the details that you’re comfortable sharing publically…education, work history, associations and interests.  More importantly, make it interesting.  As a quick example….“Laura Lowell – President, Impact Marketing Group” doesn’t tell me anything.  But “Laura Lowell – 20 years building brands and businesses”  tells me a lot more, and is more interesting and will get you noticed.

Include some links to other sites.  Make sure that the links are live, up-to-date and active.  If you link to your blog, but you have posted anything in the last 6 months – what message are you sending people?  Nothing good, I can assure you.

Remember that the profiles on each type of platform will vary slightly, but these elements are common to 99% of them.