I’ll be the first to tell you – I’m late to the party. I’m no expert at social media. I’ll also tell you that I like to dig into what I’m not familiar with. And when I say dig, I mean really dig. What I have very little experience with one day, I’m near expert on the next. You can thank my mother for that. Rarely did she just hand me the answers to my many questions when I was a child. Most often, she’d point me in the direction of where I might find the answer and then she sent me on my way. I hated that then, but I’m thankful for it now.
In this post, I’m going to talk about a few of the very first tasks that need to be completed right as soon as you open any social media account, as well as some that are ongoing. Most platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, etc…) require the same things of you. When you hand over those things, some of them are very difficult to change later on, so it’s a good idea to consider them right off the bat. Good thing it’s very simple to do this. That’s what I’ll discuss below. I’ll also discuss your overall presence and ability to attract those who you’d like to attract. It’s easier than you think, so read on!
Who Are You?
You’d be hard-pressed to find a social media website that doesn’t ask you for a username. They all do. That’s just the way it is. What any database needs is a unique identifier and usually that can be found in a username or an email address. But really, the technical stuff doesn’t matter here. What does matter is what your visitors will see and how they perceive you as an authority on the topic you regularly discuss.
Have you ever seen usernames like kaylensmommy, pizzalover49 or funat40? Have you ever taken what the owners of these username have had to say seriously? Perhaps. The thing is, when many of us created usernames for our social media channels, it may have been 5 or 10 years ago. We never knew we’d one day become famous.
Let’s say you created a username for your Youtube account 5 years ago. At that time, you really enjoyed riding off-road dirt bikes in the desert. You uploaded a few videos and those videos gained a lot of traction. A year later, you decided to move to NYC and start creating content about food. You became a big hit and your food videos, which were uploaded to the same account as your dirt bike videos, had the username desertdirtrider001 attached to them. This might not seem like a big deal, but let’s say you one day managed to become a host for a food related channel on TV. Do you seriously want to have your food videos attached to the username with the word “dirt” as a part of it?
What’s the Point?
When creating a social media account, think about the future. Think long into the future. Think about your end game and where you’ll be if everything you plan to happen actually happens. Would you like to be part of a team one day? What’s the primary topic you want to write and make videos about? What’s your name? Should you use that as the username? Below, I’ll give you some good examples of usernames for various social media accounts.
JayGaulard – A name used for a personal account.
FoodExperience – An account about food.
MaineVacations – An account about vacationing in Maine.
PoetryCorner – An account about poetry discussion.
DirtBikeHeaven – An account about dirt bikes and riding.
When creating a username, try to steer clear of names that are too specific. If you happen to live in California at the moment, leave that off. You may not be there forever. If you have a child name Bill, leave that off. You may have another child next year. If you’re 40 years old, leave that off. You’re bound to change ages one of these days. My point is, if something can change, leave that part out of any username you wish to create. Again, think about the future.
Show Your Face
This is probably the most important aspect of creating any social media account. I’m not even going to get into what the quality of the photo is yet – I merely want to tell you that you need to use a photo for the account – of yourself. Don’t use a picture of a tree or your logo or a photo of your dog. Use a picture of your face. It’s strange how often I see social media accounts with pictures of Golden Retrievers and Black Labs as the profile pictures. It’s a turn off, even if you don’t think it is.
This used to be okay. I saw it everywhere. The folks who used to create social media accounts tried to hide behind generic photographs of random things. I used to be one of these people. I think the primary issue I had was two-fold. First, I didn’t really want to be public. I mean, I wanted to get my message out, but I didn’t want anyone to know it was me behind the message. Second, I didn’t think I had any good pictures. I was quite critical of how I looked on camera. Eventually, I got over both of these roadblocks.
If you’re attempting to convey a message, you need to build trust. As humans, we’re wired to trust those who we see. We need faces. We don’t trust large corporations until we see a commercial with the CEO, a kind and gentle looking man, sit in a softly lit room explain to us, the people, why we should trust him. Notice I didn’t say them. I said him. That’s on purpose. What the corporation is doing is creating an attachment between the viewer and the kind and gentle man. It’s genius.
When attempting to build an audience, you need to think on the psychological level. You need to understand that there are real people out there surfing the web. These people needle into issues and make judgments lickety-split. I can remember trying to sell one of the houses I bought a few years ago. The realtor told me that potential purchasers weren’t looking for reasons to buy the house, but were looking for reasons not to buy it. They were disqualifying. The trick was to give them nothing to disqualify. If you can do that, you just made a sale. The same is true for social media. Don’t give anyone a reason not to trust you. Let your visitors look you in the eye. Let them make a judgement and let them base their decision on that.
Now, one word about photo quality. I’m going to tell you that there’s really not much that’s more annoying than seeing a picture that’s about an inch square that’s from 1982 used on a social media profile. When I see things like this, I think something’s up. I sense shadiness. There’s a reason why this person is hiding and that makes me think they aren’t serious. If I think that, I don’t believe what they’re sharing or what they’re trying to tell me. In just one short split-second, I made a judgement and it wasn’t good. I like big, colorful photos that were taken with being a profile picture in mind. Do this. Have someone take a really nice photo of you and use that for your accounts. Don’t take a selfie. Everyone knows that’s what it is and again, they’ll think you’re just playing around. People follow authorities and authorities have other people take really nice photos of them.
Tell Your Story
Just like on websites, social media accounts have areas where you can share your profile. A profile is a story of who you are. It better be good.
Did you read the section directly above this one? If so, you can apply much of what I wrote up there to down here. The two are connected – it’s just that one has to do with direct physical imagery and being appealing and the other has to do with text turned into physical imagery and being appealing.
Have you ever visited a blog or a social media account and didn’t see a well created “About” page or “Profile” page? I have and from personal experience, I can tell you that it’s disappointing. I can also tell you, from my own traffic statistics, people really like to check out these types of pages. I’m not sure what they’re looking for, but there’s definitely a distinct connection between a big, clear photograph alongside a well written bio and reason for being and a visitor who sticks around. Again, it’s a trust thing and it shows that you cared enough to create that type of page.
What Makes a Good Social Media Profile?
When writing a profile, you need to pay close attention to what you include. It needs to be thorough. To help out, I’ll share a few areas of key consideration that should paint a very thorough picture of yourself for anyone who chooses to stop by and read it. Take a look at the list below.
Great Looking Photo (see above section)
Well Constructed Title
A History or Yourself – Who You Are
Why the Account Exsists – What You Hope to Accomplish
Links to Related Websites and Other Social Media Accounts
If you write a good long profile, people will truly appreciate it. The key word here is long. Don’t skimp out on this and be sure to include, as opposed to less. Visitors will notice and, again, make judgements. Write, write and write away.
I do want to mention two more things about writing profiles. The first is that you should steer clear of personal interests that aren’t related to what you’d like to share in your account. If you are a vegan and are writing about auto mechanics, please do everyone a favor and keep the vegan thing to yourself. You’re only going to turn people off. Similarly, don’t talk about politics, religion or personal views. They aren’t helpful and it’s been long taught to never discuss things like that in venues where they’re not appropriate. I understand that we’re a passionate bunch, but remember, there’s a time and a place. And that time or place may be at a polling station, a church or someplace else. Certainly not around the dinner table or in a social media profile.
The second thing I want to discuss is writing quality. Simply put, not everyone is a great writer. To craft a well written piece, you may have to recruit assistance. Think about who you know – there may be someone who is secretly writing a novel. If you’re not the best writer, you can either look to better yourself or have someone write your profile for you. You need to do your homework here because this area of creating a social media account is important.
Make Them Want You
The last tip I’d like to discuss has to do with the actual content you post to your social media account. I know I keep saying that this tip is the most important, but seriously, this one really is.
I recently watched a video where someone was discussing this very topic. They mentioned their views on what should be posted to social media. Their key words were “added value” and “shareworthy.”
Added value means that you’ve, well, added value to something. If someone asks a question about how to best apply icing to a cake and you answer them, or write something that offers tips about icing application, you’ve added value. If you respond to them and claim that they shouldn’t be baking cakes or that they should only bake cakes that don’t require icing, you haven’t added value.
Being shareworthy is sort of like a test that needs to be passed. Think of an actor who regularly writes on their Twitter account. Which one of these two posts would you most likely share.
Top 5 Films I Absolutely Adored Having a Role In
It’s Raining Outside
The first post contained information that some would view as interesting. They’d most likely share that with someone who is a fan of the actor. And the person or people they shared it with would most likely appreciate the share and say thank you. The second post didn’t contain anything of any relevance. It was merely a statement. I’m not sure who would share that because there’s not much to share.
The point is, when posting to social media, try to limit your posts to things that add value and that are shareworthy. You’ll likely gain more followers, turn fewer people off and years down the line, you’ll have something to look back on and feel proud of.
If you have any social media tips that are related to what I’ve written above, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below. I’d love to read them.
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