When most people talk about social media marketing, they focus on the ongoing efforts required to build and maintain a healthy following. This is important, as these are the tactics that will lead your strategy to be successful, but they won’t be nearly as effective unless you have a good foundation in place.
All social media strategies need to start with the optimization of your social profiles. Your profiles are usually the first thing new users look at, and often dictate how your business appears in search results, both in and out of their respective apps. So how to you optimize your profiles?
1. Choose a Standout Profile Picture
First, make sure you have a good profile picture. Usually, this is a square image that represents your brand and accompanies all the posts you submit. It’s also one of the first things your users will see when investigating whether or not to follow your brand. The conventional route here is to opt for an image of your logo, especially if it’s a symbolic one, but feel free to get creative and work up something specific for social media applications. You want to stand out in newsfeeds.
For personal brands, however, I recommend getting a good headshot. There’s no substitute for a professional, smiling face.
2. Make It Easy For People to Know What You Do
This may seem obvious to you, but you’d be amazed how many company profiles I find on Facebook that don’t clearly explain what the company does. As a hypothetical example, imagine the company “Tech Corp.,” whose company profile describes them as “bringing unique tech solutions to consumers everywhere.” What does this really say about the company? Nothing. It’s full of buzzwords and not much else. Be as concise and blunt as possible (which is a good rule for content in general), with something like “we make software that tracks your time to help you be more efficient.”
3. Fill in Your Information Completely
Again, this should go without saying. Most social media platforms offer you multiple different fields to fill in, from your company description to how long you’ve been in business. Each of these may be an important factor to a potential follower or customer, and most only require a sentence or two to be effective. There should be no blank fields on your company profile unless you genuinely don’t have the information to include.
4. Include Keywords About Your Products and Services
Remember, part of the optimization process is about making sure that people can easily find your profile when they’re searching for a business like yours. The best way to do this is to include keywords related to your business and industry — the phrases people might enter when trying to find your business. It’s a simple step that can help you pop up for more searches and get in front of more potential followers. For example, if you run a doggie daycare, you might deliberately use phrases like “local doggie daycare” or “dog sitting service.”
5. Specify Your Location and Hours
For local businesses, your exact location and hours are crucial bits of information to earn you more foot traffic. Make sure this information is accurate and consistent across the web — even extending beyond your social profiles to your company’s entry on third-party review and directory sites. You’ll also want to update your customers whenever you change these identifiers in any way, even if it’s only temporarily.
6. Back-Date Some Posts
When you’re first starting out, your newsfeeds and timelines are going to be empty. That isn’t very appealing to prospective new followers, so go ahead and flesh out your profile by back-dating some posts. Publish some “evergreen” posts that are valuable outside of any specific timeframe, and back-date them so they give you a longer apparent history on the platform. It’s a small step that could make a big impression when you’re just starting out.
7. Be Active
This is more of an ongoing strategy than an initial profile-filling suggestion, but it’s still highly relevant to how your company is perceived on social media. For starters, you’ll want to post actively — for most platforms, posting once a day is practically a prerequisite. For other, faster platforms, posting multiple times a day is even better. Here’s a social sharing schedule timeline from Neil Patel:
Your activity also needs to apply to your profile directly; whenever your company changes, even slightly, take the time to update your profiles to reflect those changes. This shows that your brand stays modern, but also makes sure your customers always have the most accurate, up-to-date information on your business, such as events and hours of operation.
Regardless of whether you’re developing a corporate brand or a personal brand, these strategies will help you optimize your profile so it’s easier to find, more initially appealing, and capable of supporting a more in-depth social marketing campaign. Best of all, it really doesn’t take that long. Even if you have to do a bit of research or a bit of extra work to find just the right images, you should be done with this exercise in a couple hours or less. There’s no excuse not to optimize your profiles, so if you haven’t yet — get on it!