Over time, virtually everyone who spends any time on the web will accumulate a plethora of professional profiles (plus some personal ones as well), each associated with one web site or service. Often these profiles have two parts: a section containing private information, such as your address, phone number, credit card numbers and so on, and a public section which consists of a biography, photograph and a list of interests. Sometimes public profiles are simple, just enough to describe you, and others, such as with Facebook, are complex and can inform anyone about anything you deem fit to tell the world.
In order to raise your social presence to a professional level, you must boost your profile using social media. 5 Ways To Boost Your Professional Profile With Social Media, Dylan Adams
What does a Professional Profile look like?
In my role as a LinkedIn profile writer, I spend much of my time reviewing and correcting profiles. Most of the existing profiles read like a resume, which is not the best way to showcase yourself on LinkedIn, or, for that matter, in any other professional profile on the web.
Resumes tend to be stuffy and tersely written, and in contrast the best profiles are written in an informal, first-person style. These engage the reader, a person within your target audience, and give them the information needed in a casual manner.
The informal style is vital in professional profiles because the intention is to engage rather than to stuff as much as possible into a page or two. Resumes tend to be very dense documents, filled with vast amounts of information in the hope that something will click with an employer. For example, the thought is that by leaving off any skill, such as Microsoft Office, you could disqualify yourself immediately.
On the web, there is no need to attempt to stuff as much information as possible onto a page – you can always create more pages with additional information.
The best professional profiles are written in an informal way in the first person and tell a compelling story about you.
Thus, the best profiles are written as an informal, first-person story, explaining the background, skills, knowledge, and experience of the person being described. The first sentence has to grab the reader’s attention, and the first paragraph must be powerful and engaging. The remaining sections of any profile should reinforce the claim or statement of the first paragraph. Anything that doesn’t support that can be removed or placed lower on the page or even on other pages.
What Professional Profiles are Important?
At a minimum, a business professional should create and maintain the following profiles on the web. Each profile should have the same information but not just be duplicates of each other.
- LinkedIn – Always create and maintain a LinkedIn profile. These rank highly in search engines, and they are often the first place anyone searching for you will look.
- Facebook business page – Create a Facebook business page. Any business associates should not be added to your Facebook profile because Facebook accounts are intended for personal use. Instead, get your associates to like your business page.
- Twitter page – Twitter is a popular way for people to stay in touch.
- YouTube channel – It’s a good idea to create a YouTube channel and start populating it with videos about your profession and your business. YouTube is incredibly popular, and it can really help you get found.
- Blog – Create a blog and add articles occasionally.
I know that seems like a lot of work, but you don’t have to do it all at once. If you can create professional profiles on all these social media outlets and consistently add relevant, quality content, you will build a following, and that means more customers will find you on the web.
Quality of Professional Profiles
Part of my daily routine as a writer is to search out potential clients as well as writers, suppliers, and others that may be of interest to my business. Every time I am astounded by the low quality of what I find in the way of social media and blogging presence. They could help themselves by creating online professional profiles.
I’ve listed some of the best practices for professional profiles (and related supporting elements) below.
- Domain name – Get a personal domain name and use it for your email and blog. These only cost a few dollars per year, and they make you look much more professional than an AOL or even a GMAIL domain for your email. This can be the name of your business or your own personal name, and you can even get one domain for each (as I have done).
- Blog – To have complete control over your personal brand, you should maintain a professional blog and create an article at least once a month (more often is better). Your blog is your “home,” and everything about your professional persona should be based from there. Always use a paid hosting service and ensure all ads are turned off. The blog is advertising you, not underarm deodorant.
The reason a blog is important is you own it and the content. You can post whatever you want, as long as it’s legal, and it is under your control. Once you have set up a blog, you can reference it on your business cards, stationary, invoices, and any other printed material. If someone wants to find out about you, they can go to your blog to get the information from the source.
If you can come across as authentic; convince everyone that what you do is also who you are, you’re golden. 3 Stunningly Good LinkedIn Profile SUMMARIES, Andy Foote
Ensure your blog looks good on computer screens, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
- Photo – Virtually all social media platforms support a personal photo in professional profiles. For a professional site such as LinkedIn, a Facebook business page, or a directory such as Yelp, these should be professional headshots that accurately portray your personal brand. This photo should be consistent among all of your profiles.
- Bio – Write a short bio and make it consistent (not necessarily identical) among all of your professional sites and profiles.
- Articles – Choose a consistent place to post any articles you’ve written (or had ghostwritten) and any information about yourself. It’s better to use your own blog for articles and link to them from your social media because then you maintain control of the content.
- Schedule for updates – Update your information on a regular schedule. Review your profiles at least once a quarter and correct any incorrect or outdated information. Post blog articles on a regular basis, at least once per month. This ensures that visitors to your profiles or blog understand that you are active and vibrant.
- Spelling and grammar – Review everything you put out to ensure proper spelling and grammar. You can also ask someone else to review the content before posting. Poor grammar and spelling are great ways to make yourself look unprofessional.
- Contact information – Ensure your contact information is available on all social media platforms. People cannot use your services or buy your products if they cannot reach you.
By doing these things, you ensure that you put your message out in a consistent, timely manner that generates an initial impression of competence and professionalism. Make sure all of your professional profiles deliver your message and brand.
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