Skill Level: Beginner
It’s clear that over the past year there’s been an influx of agency owners entering the world of Instagram and LinkedIn. The word is out on how important social media can be to both you and your agency. How well do you understand social media’s full scope and reach, though? Furthermore, how can you leverage social media’s powerful influence? Is it worth the investment of time and mental energy?
In short, social media is HUGE, and you should be a part of it unless you see yourself retiring in the next couple of years. But if the lion’s share of your career lies ahead of you, get in as soon as you can.
The Case for Using Social Media
According to We Are Social, the total current population of planet earth is roughly 7.5 billion. Of those people, 4.3 billion use the internet. Out of that 4.3 billion, a staggering 3.5 billion are active social media use. That’s just shy of 47% of everyone alive today.
One of the most fundamental concepts of marketing is this: Go where your customers are. As the previous numbers might suggest, if you or your practice aren’t on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn yet, you should be. It’s not too late, though. I’ll help you get started.
Since we all agree that social media is valuable and that you need to get started, I’d like to keep it simple for those beginning at square one. That’s not to say that I can’t help those of you who’ve been in the game a while. You need to stick around too. There might be something here that could take your account from an 8 to a 10.
The Anatomy of A Profile
Let’s begin by defining the anatomy of a social media profile and how to maximize your account’s first day in existence. If you just asked yourself, “What’s a profile?” I’m glad you asked. Every social media platform provides you with a profile page. This is your opportunity to express who you are. Because humans are engineered to quickly evaluate and categorize information, your profile needs to be rock solid. Think of it as your resume, which shouldn’t look like you scribbled it down on a napkin the morning of the interview.
Let’s begin by building your social media profiles the right way.
Pick a Handle
Keeping your handle simple is key, especially if you’re creating a business account for your practice. As you might expect, the more complex the handle is, the more difficult it will be to find. For instance, names like @loosecannon69 and @hellsbells123 may be great while you’re a kid but aren’t the best options over the longterm. If you’re grinning right now because you have a similar handle to my examples, you may consider starting fresh, especially if this is to be an account that will represent you professionally. Plus, names like these create more questions than answers concerning your character.
If you can secure a handle like @JohnDoe or @DrJohnDoe, this is perfect. Finding a name for your business might be a challenge because of the limitations of characters. Let’s say your practice is Pain Management Physicians of Dallas. Some good options might be @DallasPainDocs or @PainManagementDallas. Be clever and keep it sensible.
In short: Your handle should be easy to find and easier to remember.
Optimize for First Impressions
Your profile is meant to be a brief touchpoint for anyone who’s seeing it for the first time. No one will remain on your profile for longer than a few seconds, so engineer it for this purpose. It should have an immediate positive impact on the viewer. What does that mean? Here are the vital parts and how to optimize them.
A small picture of you or your logo that resides somewhere toward the top of the page.
- Facebook: Computer – 170 pixels square, Mobile – 128 pixels square
- Instagram: 110 pixels square
- LinkedIn: 300 pixels square
- Twitter: 400 pixels square
Cover or Header Image
This is much larger than the Avatar and stretches horizontally across the page. It lies behind the Avatar and should be considered your primary real estate for telling your story in a single image. Sizes:
- Facebook: Computer – 820 x 312 pixels, Mobile – 640 x 360 pixels
- LinkedIn: 1584 x 396 pixels
- Twitter: 1500 x 500 pixels
The bio section is meant to discuss who you are specifically. For instance, who are you, what is your work experience, where you went to school, interests, etc? Below, you’ll find the number of characters allowed for each platform:
- Facebook: 101 characters
- Instagram: 150 characters
- LinkedIn: 2,000 characters
- Twitter: 160 characters
Links are also available so that visitors can easily find your website or other social media accounts.
Your Avatar, Your Face (or Logo)
If you search for a person on LinkedIn, you’ll likely see a long list of profiles available. Look closer, there are three levels of quality in their avatars. The first, which is the worst option, are those profiles with no picture included. The second, are those people who chose to display a photo of something other than their face; i.e., pictures of things, full-body photos, or pictures so bad you can’t tell what they are. The best option is to include a simple picture of your well-lit face. There are varying standards regarding photo quality, but if you can pick an image that includes only your face, it’s a win. If you’re creating a profile for your business, definitely use your logo.
Consistency is Key
Because there are so many social media platforms available, you want to keep your branding consistent. Whether it’s your face or your logo, use the same image for all your accounts. This allows for quick confirmation from the viewer that they’re looking at the right profile.
The Cover or Header image included on most platforms is your chance to put the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” to work. The size of these images varies with the platform, but they’re all wider than they are tall. Your worst option here is to do nothing and leave the default image that the platform provides. If you had access to a billboard that could potentially be seen by 3.5 billion people, would you leave it blank? Use this image to tell everyone about you or your business.
Simplify Your URL
When you create a social media account, whether personal or for your business, you have the option of keeping your default URL or customizing it to fit your name. For instance, your Facebook URL could look like either of these options: https://www.facebook.com/JohnDoe/ or https://www.facebook.com/JohnDoe-2313070408935204/. By simply taking a few minutes to customize your URL you’ll both give your profile a more refined look and make it easier to find.
Don’t Stop There
Some platforms, like LinkedIn, offer you more ways to describe who you are and what you’ve done. Fortunately, they’ll walk you through the process of finishing your profile. Even if this requires more than one sitting, get it done. The things that you’ll be adding will allow your prospective client, customers, or patients to get to know you better, to find your practice, or to call you to set up an appointment. All of these are great options.
Business or Personal
If you’re setting up a Facebook or LinkedIn account make sure you know the differences between the personal and business offerings. For both Facebook and LinkedIn, you’ll need to set up a business page. There are several differences between these two types of pages, but the business page, however, is better suited to be the hub for your employees and those interested in your business.
You’ve now created a well-rounded and respectable social media account, but this is only the beginning. As stated earlier, there are 3.5 billion people on social media. That’s your available audience to promote the value that you bring to your clients and community. We’ll talk more about the best practices of engaging people through your Twitter feed or Instagram, but for today just see what’s out there. Like or follow people you know and respect. Make comments on things that impress or compel you. Maybe even post something yourself. Just make sure it fits with who you and your business aspire to be. Most importantly, enjoy the process.
About the author: Rick Holmes is the Marketing Director at CornerLoc™ and the founder of Holmes Marketing. He provides marketing consultation for business owners who worry that the money they’re spending on marketing isn’t working. Rick will help you create a marketing plan that provides measurable results, increased revenue, and the peace of mind to get you back to what you’re passionate about. If you’d like to set up a free consultation please click HERE.