You want people to find you online, and you really want your target market to find you. One of the best ways of doing this is being active on the many social networking sites that exist today.
Yeah, it takes some time and effort to build a network and to keep it growing, but it can be time very well spent (invested!).
But if you make your content worthwhile and interesting, you’re network will help you reach out to people you don’t know and make them aware of you.
One of the key words in Social Networking is Social (duh!) and that means one-on-one communications. Even when you communicating with a a group of people in your network, each of them is still one person looking at something from one person.
It’s important that people in your social group relate to you as a person to the point where they truly feel that they know you. Even if you primarily use social media for promoting your business, unless you’re a large company, then you are the face and voice of your business. For example, when I take my car for service, the building may say XZY Auto, but I take my car to Darryl. I even know he’s not going to work on my car, but Darryl is the one I trust to make sure my car gets done right and I know he’ll fix it if there is an issue.
That’s why your profiles are so important. When someone in you network shares some of you content and that new person thinks “that’s interesting…should I follow this person?”, your most recent content and your profile will help tell them if your likely to continue being interesting to them.
One important part of the profile is the picture. Remember what I said about being “The face” of your business? If it’s at all appropriate, I think using your picture is a good idea. If not your personal picture, your logo or store picture. I also suggest you use the same photo on all your social networks and your sites, including a blog. If you add your picture to your account at gravatar.com, it’ll automatically be added to posts at many sites across the internet.
Having a prepared bio/about me is a good idea so you don’t have to think about what you want to say each time you set up of profile, but use that as a starting point and tailor your profile towards that specific network, adding or removing parts so your profile more closely matches the ‘personality’ of that group.
Don’t get me wrong…don’t say something that isn’t true. For example, if you’re married with kids and doing a profile for a network that is primarily aimed towards young professionals, don’t say your single, but you might want to just leave out that part of your profile and don’t mention it.
Likewise, on some networks listing hobbies is a good idea, on other it would be inappropriate. Research the network, read the profiles of successful contributors, and use that intelligence to tailor your profile.
With a little research, and some thought about who you want to reach and why, you can develop a profile that you show the network who you are and help you build a successful network.
Best wishes, Don
Discussion Question: What tips do you give to your friends to help their social networking efforts?