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How to Optimize Your Social Media Profiles

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This post is part of a series called Get Started: Social Media Guide for Small Business.
How to Use Social Media for Small Business (Beginner's Guide)
How to Discover Your Ideal Social Media Voice

Having a social media presence is no longer a commodity, it’s a necessity for any business, small or large. But many business owners make one common mistake when it comes to their social media profiles. They fail to optimize their social media profiles which can hurt them more than not having a profile at all. 

Some of them have different usernames across various social media networks, some forget to include a profile image or a cover photo, and some completely forget to fill out the rest of the information on their profiles.

The bad news is that this leads not only to confusion and leaving out important information, it also leads to little to no brand recognition. On top of that, when someone searches for your company, the first result that comes up might not be your website. In fact, in most cases, it’s your social media profile that dominates the search results. Now, stop and think for a second; is that the impression you want to leave a potential customer with?

Optimize your social media profiles
Optimize your social media profiles.

The good news is that optimizing your social media profile isn’t all that hard and once you’ve completed all the necessary steps. All you have to do is check to make sure all the information is still relevant, update it when necessary, and keep on top of major changes.

In this part of our Social Media Guide for Small Business, we’ll discuss the necessary elements any social media profile needs and walk you through optimizing your social media profiles.

6 Key Elements of a Successful Social Media Profile

First thing's first. Let's start with the basics of what your profile needs: 

  1. Your Business Name - Most people who are interested in your business will probably search for it by name.
  2. Your Username - Your username on the majority of social media networks will become a part of the URL for your profile on that particular network.
  3. Your Profile and Cover Photo - Your profile photo can be your logo or a personal picture. It helps build brand recognition and if you opted for a personal photo, it helps your audience connect with you and put a face behind the name of your small business.
  4. Your Link - Almost all social media networks allow you to link to your website in your profile, so make sure to include your website there. There are various ways to take advantage of this section which we will discuss below.
  5. Your Bio - Your main social profile’s bio is usually just a sentence or two about yourself or your business. This is a perfect place to put your elevator pitch and include your main keywords. 
  6. Your Location - Some social media networks allow you to display your location in your profile. If your small business depends on a local audience then it’s crucial to include this information in your profile.

How to Optimize Your Social Media Profiles

Now that we’ve covered the key elements any social media profile should have, let’s talk about optimizing those elements:

1. Your Name

This part is fairly straightforward. For any business social media profile, your name should be the name of your business, unless your business operates under your personal name.

2. Optimizing Your Username

Your username becomes a part of the URL for a particular social media network. If you look at Twitter, your handle is included in the URL. The same goes for your Facebook page, your Linkedin profile, and any other social media network. When you select a username, you’re creating a branded URL so it makes sense to choose something brand related, even if it’s just the name of your business again. 

Some people who can’t find your social media links may just assume it's something obvious and type it in directly. So it’s worth brainstorming a little. Think about what terms people would use to search for your kind of business. Then make sure those words are in your URL. 

3. Profile and Cover Photo

When it comes to profile photos, there is a great debate whether you should go with the logo or with a photo of a person, be it you, your PR manager, or anyone else who you’ve chosen to be the face of your brand. Generally, it’s recommended to go with a logo if you are an already established brand. If on the other hand, you’re just starting out or if you are building a personal brand, it’s better to go with a personal photo.

The reasoning behind this is that people are more likely to engage with a person than a brand logo, especially a brand they don’t yet recognize. Once you have selected your profile photo, whether it’s your logo or a personal picture, be sure to use it across all your social media channels to establish consistency and make it easier for people to recognize you. Before uploading it to your social media channels, make sure you have named it accordingly, either as yourname.jpg or businessname.jpg as that small step can help your SEO efforts.

Your cover photo, on the other hand, can be a little more creative. Depending on your niche, you can choose an image of your office, your employees, your product, or anything else that represents the core values of your brand. 

You can even include a text overlay on cover photos which can be a clever way to include extra information such as your contact email or you can use it to point to a specific part of your profile. In fact, many Facebook pages use this technique to add an arrow which points to their call to action. Learn how to make a great Facebook cover:  

Keep in mind image dimensions for each network you are on and ensure all your cover photos and profile photos are high quality to avoid looking blurred on smaller screens.

Here are the recommended image sizes for cover and profile photos across major social networks:

Facebook

  • Cover photo: 828 x 315 pixels
  • Profile picture: 160 x 160 (upload as 180 x 180)

Twitter

  • Header image: 1500 x 500
  • Profile picture: 200 x 200 (upload as 400 x 400)

LinkedIn

  • Banner image: 646 x 220
  • Logo: 100 x 60

Google+

  • Cover photo: 1010 x 608 (recommended), 480 x 270 (minimum), 2120 x 1192 (maximum)
  • Profile picture: 250 x 250

Pinterest

  • Board cover: 217 x 147
  • Cover photo: 165 x 165

YouTube

  • Banner image: 2560 x 1440 (TV), 2560 x 423 (desktop), 1546 x 423 (mobile)

Instagram

  • Profile photo: 110 x 110

4. Which Link to Include in Your Profile

While some social media profiles like Google+, LinkedIn, and Facebook, allow you to include more than one link, all of them display only one link that’s immediately visible. Therefore, it’s crucial your link points to something relevant. There is nothing wrong with putting your website in your link, but there are better ways to make use of this section.

A great way to use this section of your profile is to create a specific landing page for each of the networks you’re active on so you can track which profiles are bringing your site the most traffic. You can use these pages to offer a special discount for people who have found you on Twitter, or invite them to shop your online store or direct them to your most popular content. Birchbox uses this space to cleverly direct their followers to their online shop.

Birchbox uses its Instagram bio to direct visitors to their online shop
Birchbox uses its Instagram bio to direct visitors to their online shop.

Another approach is to create a landing page that promotes your newsletter signup form and link to it in your social media profile. This is especially handy if you’re trying to grow your email list.

On networks such as LinkedIn, be sure to customize your link’s anchor text by using the Other option instead of just using My Website, My Company, or My Blog. This allows you to enter your keywords into the anchor text which is another small step to improve your SEO. Do try to incorporate the keywords naturally as if you were writing a tagline for your business.

This Twitter bio includes links to the companys website and Facebook page
This Twitter bio includes links to the company's website and Facebook page.

Also, for those social media networks that allow more than one link, don’t forget to include your other social media profiles there. Racine Danish Kringles does an excellent job of including their Facebook page in their bio along with their website.

5. How to Write a Compelling Bio

Most social media networks allow between 140-160 characters for your bio section. Considering your bio is usually prominently displayed on your profile, those 140-160 characters have to count. It’s your chance to make a great first impression on anyone who comes across your profile and if your bio isn’t compelling enough, they will leave your profile just as quickly as they have found it.

The most popular solution is to use the bio section to include your elevator pitch and include your keywords. Some people use #hashtags, some include a quirky trait or their interest to show their personal side, and some make heavy use of the humor. However you decide to approach your bio, be sure to stay on brand. Popchips is a good example of a quirky and fun Twitter bio that stays on brand.

Popchips keeps things light with its Twitter bio
Popchips keeps things light with its Twitter bio.

If you opted for the tagline approach consider what you'd say if someone asked you to briefly describe your business. Zaro’s Bakery is a great example of making a quick point of what matters most for their brand:

Zaros Bakery Twitter bio with elevator pitch
This Twitter bio is all about the elevator pitch.

If you chose to include keywords, consider including them as hashtags to increase the chances of appearing in search results.

Another approach to your bio is to include a call to action. Many business owners use this approach to invite their followers to click the link in the profile for a discount or a freebie, which is another effective method to grow your email list.

Make sure to fill out your bio to its full potential. Keep in mind that some networks have the option to enter a long description on top of your bio, so take advantage of this to share the most relevant information about your business and your brand.

Know that you don’t have to use the exact same description on every social profile but you should keep it similar and use the same keywords. You want consistency in how you market your brand to fans, and a social media profile isn’t any different.

In a nutshell, a great social media bio:

  • Explains who you are and what you do.
  • Shares your personality.
  • Targets your niche audience with specific keywords.

6. Location Matters

As we mentioned before, location is crucial for small business owners targeting a local audience. If you haven’t included it in your social media profile yet, you’re doing yourself a giant disservice. Some social media networks like Twitter, don’t allow for much information by way of location. 

Some on the other hand, like Facebook, allow you to include your address, your phone number, and even your exact location on the map. You should fill out all the relevant fields, especially if you have a physical location and want people to come to your brick and mortar business like Racine Danish Kringles does on their Facebook page:

Racine Danish Kringles makes use of all location fields on its Facebook page.

If you’re not a brick and mortar, but still want to target your local audience, then including your city and state is advisable without giving away your actual address. For those social media networks that allow you to enter your contact information, include your preferred way of contact, be it an email or a phone number.

Making the Most of Your Social Media Profile

Optimizing a social media profile may seem daunting at first, especially if you’re just starting out with social media marketing. But, the good news is that it’s relatively easy, and it doesn’t take much time to do. Once you’ve done it, you probably won’t have to spend much more time on it, other than making sure your information is still up to date.

Having an optimized social media profile is crucial for making a great first impression with potential customers and clients so put the tips above into practice and make sure to fill out every field available.

Play around with these recommendations, and feel free to leave comments with any additional suggestions for how to optimize your profiles below.

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