Your goal: to promote yourself and build your personal and professional brand online. You’ve joined Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – and, just to cover your bases, YouTube, Flickr, Posterous and Foursquare, not to mention your blog. But just being on these sites isn’t enough to turn you into an online sensation overnight. Like anything worth having, it requires some work on your part – and the best place to start is with your bio.
Your social media bio is a critical component of your personal branding toolbox. It’s the first thing people will read to find out if they should follow you, friend you or do business with you.
According to Hubspot, almost two-thirds of Twitter users don’t have bios on their profiles. And users with a bio have eight times the followers than those without. The bottom line? You need a bio, and you need a good one.
The tricky part is that usually you’ve only got a few lines – or, in the case of Twitter, only 160 characters – in which to impress the masses and convince them that you are an interesting and talented individual without whom they cannot survive. No small task, to be sure, but here are a few sure-fire tips that will help you on your way to bio awesomeness.
Solve a problem. If nothing else, your bio should answer the question: what is my target market’s problem and how can I solve it?
Stay on top of it. As your career changes, so should your bio – make sure you keep it up to date, especially with any recent awards or accomplishments. If you’re blogging or tweeting on behalf of your company, this is a good place to mention any current promotions. @WBrepVancouver’s bio is a good example of this – the bio changes depending on which movie is currently being promoted.
This is not your resume. You don’t need – or have room – to list everything you’ve ever done. Focus on what you’re currently doing.
Think SEO. Social media expert Jay Baer says you need to treat your bio like SEO copy in order to attract your target market. Choose keywords your audience will identify with and be searching for.
Add personality. It might seem like a lot to ask to identify and solve your audience’s problem, stay up-to-date and use keywords – and come across as being interesting and witty at the same time. But a splash of personality will go a long way. Here’s a great – yet simple – one from photographer @jeremycowart:
And another one from @tracyfrey:
But keep it professional. A little too much personality can give the wrong impression if you’re hoping to gain business through social media. Don’t be afraid to show your creative side, but make sure your bio is something your mother (or a potential client or boss) could read.
Be yourself. Sure, there are lots of fill-in-the-blank templates out there, but do you really want to come across as a cardboard cutout who can’t think for him or herself?
Put some thought into it, write a zillion drafts, have some friends look it over and offer their suggestions – and you’ll be sure to come up with a bio that’s a true reflection of who you are and what you have to offer the world.