Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Your Social Profile: Tips

Different social platforms will have different information they call for. A template will help you quickly copy or copy and paste your information. Use this information selectively, to bring your story to life on your business website too.


Your personal name is usually preferable on social media.
If you have a personal account on Facebook then you can add your business Fan Page with your business name there.

Similarly, on Twitter, people first and foremost, want to Follow a person – so build your personal network and use a Business Twitter ID to complement your personal account.


Business or postal address is preferable to your home address – you don’t want people knowing where you live. Identity theft is something to always be on guard against giving away too much information. With a few discreet bits of information, people can build an identity very easily!

Contact Details

Your business phone – never a home phone landline should be used. Safety first!

Your email address should be one that you use for general business online use. Make it something that you check regularly and for preference, not a hotmail or yahoo account. You never want to add your email to show up on a business listing as somethingsleazy06@hotmail.com

Date of Birth

As with your home address, your date of birth is a security risk if you broadcast it online. Many sites allow you to add your day and month of birth only. If you want to display your birth month and not your year of birth, but can’t selectively show it on that site, consider choosing a birth year that is obviously not yours (like 1919) – note: most sites will not let you put in a recent year as birth year since usually members have to be over the age of 13 or more. NOTE: Make a note somewhere that you keep your log of online passwords etc in a diary etc, with this date, if not your real date of birth, so you can always use it if you need to provide proof that this is your site, to the site administrator

Remember, without being paranoid, your business is your business and being aware of security issues online is good practice. Don’t advertise your date of birth, your home address, your home phone number or anything that will indicate to robbers that you will be away from your home or that you have bought new expensive items, if there is any way for your residential address to be found online. Tip: Google yourself and see what IS already online about your personal details.

Business Name

When adding your business name, think if it describes the business too. So if your business name is ‘JB Holdings PTY LTD’ Might be better to leave off the Pty Ltd, and add a descriptor, so your listing might show as JB Holdings – Architect (or Home Builder, or Hairdressing Salon or Widget Manufacturer)

Business Description

This is one of the most critical pieces that you will write and you should think long and practice how to best tell people about your business in this section. When you do that, you have a great way to describe what your business does, not just on this profile online, but in conversation, or your print material, or even your business card or website. Make this really work for you – and it will also work well for Google indexing your site.

The following two points may need to be incorporated into the main description, or could have a separate space. Work your profile accordingly.

• What You Do

Use clean, clear language, specific and concise. What you do, and for whom you do it.

• How You Work

Let people know how you work. Do they come to you, do you go to them, is there something special in the way you deliver your product or service?

• Locations You Service

Does your business service just a 20 mile radius, or are you open to business state-wide, nationwide, or globally? Spell it out. (If you only serve locally – think – could you sell further afield?)


Sites like LinkedIn are geared to educational qualifications and if you have some to add, they can be useful to complete this section. If you don’t have educational qualifications, then you can add your trade qualifications if you wish, or may be able to leave this section blank. Adding your schools and universities can help others connect with you, so this has several functions.

Recommended by

If you don’t already have any written recommendations, this is a good reminder to get some! Testimonials from happy customers are an important marketing tool, and Linkedin provides a good way to ask customers to recommend you, and a process that allows them to do so easily. Don’t just leave it at that though – add some to your website and your marketing material, and make it a policy to ask for endorsements from customers.

Your Experience

On Linkedin your profile will allow you to list your previous work and the experience that you gained in each field. This can build a solid picture of your diverse skills, or your special area of interest.

Your Websites

Add your website and your blog URL here.

Make sure that it follows the protocol required on that site (some require http://www.yourwebsite.com while others just want the www.yourwebsite.com ) Double check that you have no extra . at the end of the URL and test to make sure that the links work before you leave the profile editing page. [Learn to notice that . – it can be the cause of a lot of problems if added to the end of email addresses for example, where it doesn’t belong and can cause a lot of frustration ‘breaking’ otherwise good email addresses or web URLs)

If you don’t have a website, now is the time to seriously give some thought to getting one. Your customers expect you to have one, even if it is a modest one. Don’t disappoint them.

A blog is another good thing to have and takes some effort and is best considered as part of your entire online strategy, which is itself, a component of your business marketing plan. Like babushka dolls... this should be part of your overall working business plan. One element fits inside the next, but your success vehicle for the business, contains them all. That’s what your business plan should be. Your business success vehicle.

Your Interests

Think about the context here. If you are adding a profile to MySpace, you might add some items that are a little removed from business, but on Linkedin you might want to be a little more selective on what you add as your hobbies or interests. In both cases, if you are using your own name on a site, you might want to skip the more suggestive or less conservative ones. You may not want everyone who looks for you on Google to find out all of your ‘interests’ ;-)

Associations & Groups

Again, list the clubs and groups that you belong to, but be selective. Not everyone will enjoy knowing if you are a member of the KKK

Keeping a template of the answers you use for profiles can be a time saver for you if you decide to join multiple online sites. Either a hardcopy as a prompt sheet, or a file copy so you can copy and paste.

Check your profiles regularly and update as things change.

Ideas you'd like to add? Leave a comment!

See also Why You Should Be On Linkedin

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