Social Media Profiles For Professionals
They say the best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google search results.
But really, the best way to keep something hidden on the internet is to not have it online at all.
If you’re a professional looking to make a name for yourself in your industry, then the last thing you want to do is miss out on creating your online image. Social media allows you to quickly and easily build your brand, and take control of your narrative in the digital era.
And while it may be easy to build your online persona, the intricacies of social media are not so intuitive. So, we’ve created a helpful guide of the considerations you should have while you put yourself out there. Whether you’re building your presence for the first time, or updating your existing profiles, this blog can help you make the most of social media!
Know Your Platforms
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to deciding which social media platforms to focus on. Different platforms offer different features, and allow different aspects of your personality to stay in the spotlight.
Take time to get to know the various platforms and what they can do to showcase your professional merits. There may even be sites and forums specific to your industry. But let’s take a quick look at some of the most well-known platforms out there:
The quintessential professional profile site. Users can manage their careers, connect with recruiters and businesses, and network with other professionals. You can easily display your work history, skills, and even show off credentials such as those from Google’s skillshop.
With a focus on images and videos, Instagram is a perfect place for those who work with customers and need to showcase their products and services. Another great place for quickly reaching a large number of followers with quick and easy posts.
With the largest user base, Facebook is a very robust platform. While it focuses on personal accounts, it can also support businesses and paid marketing campaigns. You can share posts, pictures, videos, and more, as well as join communities with shared interests and goals, or host and follow events.
A more conversational platform, famous for its 280-character limit on posts. Good for frequent posters, looking to stay connected with their followers. A good place for influencers and public figures.
What platform(s) work best for your industry?
Usernames & Handles
Your handle/username is how people will find you online. You’ll want to pick something that is both unique, and simple to remember.
You will also want to ensure that you pick a handle that is how you are best known. Are you an author with a pseudonym? Consider using the pseudonym as your handle over your real name, to help your audience follow you. Do you run your own business? Consider whether people will better know the business name versus your name, as the owner.
You should also consider character limits, as different platforms will allow different types of usernames. Also, ensure that your username is available on every platform you plan to use before starting to set up your profiles, as you will want to keep it consistent across the board. If your preferred name is already taken, maybe that’s a good indication that you should choose something drastically different to avoid confusion.
What online handle best describes you?
Most social media accounts will allow you to have at least one profile picture. Just like with your username, you will want to pick something that is most recognizable to your audience.
Have a business logo? Use that! Are you promoting yourself? Use a picture of you! Try different options to see how they fit; maybe you just need a clean standard headshot, or maybe you want an action shot of you at work.
Ensure that you keep the image consistent across platforms, just like your handle. For this, however, you will need to confirm the different dimensions and border types that your different platforms require. For instance, you can have a square image on Facebook, but in most situations it will be cropped into a circle. Your image should be flexible, and scaled to the format each platform requests.
You may also have the option to add a cover photo. If so, take advantage of it! You can use a cover image to complement your profile pic, or add more information and personality for your personal brand.
Consider getting professional image design if you feel your photography and editing skills could use a boost.
How would you describe your brand in one picture?
Bios & Interests
Most platforms will allow at least a short space where you can describe yourself. Consider this bio to be an elevator pitch about your mission and values, and include a call-to-action or mission statement for your audience. This is your chance to make yourself sound credible and put a human touch on one of the first aspects of your profiles that newcomers will see.
Furthermore, some platforms, like Facebook, will allow you to select a variety of specific information, such as interests and hobbies. Filling these out will help colour your profile with your personal touch.
In fact, the best rule of thumb is to fill out as much as you possibly can in any profile. Leaving it half done will make you seem lazy or not dedicated, whereas a complete profile will help you seem professional, and give your followers a better glimpse into who you really are.
How would you describe your professional mission in just one sentence?
With so much information and interconnectivity on social media, people are always concerned with their privacy, and you should be too!
Make sure you familiarize yourself with the privacy settings on the platforms you’re using, and set them up as preferred in advance of posting or using the platform. Keep up to date on changes to privacy policies, and act accordingly.
A major one will be tagging. This is when other people reference your profile in their activity on social media. For instance, pointing you out in a photo. You’ll want to go through and groom your social media accounts regularly, being sure to untag yourself from awkward photos or posts that don’t share your professional values.
That said, you don’t want to lose the ability for that sort of cross-promotion, so don’t restrict yourself from being tagged unless you’re absolutely sure it’s necessary. It’s better to simply set up notifications for when your profile is mentioned and choose options like being allowed to approve or unapprove tagged photos before they appear, or restricting who can tag you in a post.
Have you ever been tagged in an embarrassing photo?
Linking & Promotion
Once your profiles are complete, you’ll want to ensure that you are making links available on every platform for the other platforms as well. You want to ensure that, no matter how someone finds you, they can easily follow you on the platforms of their choice.
You may also have a central place you want to send people, such as a website with a portfolio of your work, or your own preferred social media platform. Make sure this link is highlighted, and you may even want to mention to your followers what the best place to follow you really is. Be sure to test all your links once you set them up!
You’ll also want to promote yourself regularly. This means staying active on the platforms you use, and any communities or discussions you subscribe to. You might even consider getting paid ads on the platforms that offer it. Try to keep a consistent tone and quality to your posts, and be sure to pin your best or most important posts to the top of any of your feeds.
Social media is meant to connect people, so you’ll want to keep up with networking. In fact, other users can be some of your best ways to promote! Ask clients for endorsements about your work or job skills, and offer to do the same for them when appropriate, too. Follow other people, especially those people who are influential in your field. It’s also a great way to stay at the forefront, yourself!
This can seem time consuming, but putting a little bit of effort into social media every week will pay off in dividends.
How much time do you spend promoting yourself on social media every week?
As more and more people plug into the internet as a way to participate in society, the need for professionals to take control of their online persona is increasing exponentially. Take time to implement some of the suggestions and techniques we’ve touched on here, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a social media mogul in no time!