According to the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of Americans used at least one social media site in January 2018. As the digital economy matures, social media adoption is leveling off, but it’s nevertheless true that millions of younger Americans and tens of millions of people across the developing world discover social media for the first time each year.
Whether you’re a latecomer to the social media fray or a veteran user taking a fresh look at her presence, these five tips will improve your social media bios and invite followers new and old to engage.
1. Write for the Format
First things first: understand what the format of any given social media platform demands, and write for it. Your 140-character Twitter bio will necessarily be very different than your 300-word LinkedIn bio, which in turn might be very different from your Facebook bio. The Sierra Club’s Twitter handle, for instance, is a brief masterpiece that quite literally says it all in a single sentence: “Since 1892, the Sierra Club has been working to protect communities, wild places, and the planet itself[.]”
2. Highlight Non-Professional Accomplishments That Make You Proud
You’re more than the sum of your 9-to-5. Use your social media bios, even those normally reserved for professional promotion, to highlight extracurricular work of which you’re particularly proud. Manitoba-based entrepreneur David Janeson’s Crunchbase profile mentions his work with several charitable organizations and interest groups in his neck of the woods; surely yours can do the same for your pro bono work.
3. Include an Original Photo That Actually Looks Like You
Mind the “seven second rule,” which postulates that web users abandon pages within seven seconds when not sufficiently engaged. One high-probability engagement strategy: including an original profile photo that immediately draws the eyes (and actually resembles you, should you cross paths with any of your followers IRL).
4. Choose a Background Image That Supports Your Thesis
Apply the same “catch the eyes” principle to your profile’s background image, if it can accommodate one. Choose a photo that complements your personal brand or thesis: for instance, a close-up shot of your company logo or a panorama from your most recent vacation.
5. Insert a Call to Action
A call to action in a social media bio, you ask?
Sure. Business profiles aside, you’re not hawking a product or service for profit here. But you’re surely selling yourself — or, more accurately, the idea of yourself. Call it your brand.
If you weren’t comfortable with direct follower engagement, you probably wouldn’t have a social media profile in the first place. So, lean in. Invite those reading your bio to reach out. Make it clear you’ll respond. That’s what social media is all about.
Social Media Is the Real World
For better or worse, there’s no longer any meaningful boundary between the world of social media and the world of, well, everything else. What happens on Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat rarely stays on those platforms. The content you publish publicly on your social media accounts must take this uncomfortable reality into account. You never know who’s watching.