Once you have chosen the platforms you are going to use, you need to do something with them. But to achieve the best possible effect, the order of events is important. For instance, you don’t want to create an account or page, connect to a hundred other accounts and, if they choose to check you out, they arrive at your social media channel to find it empty. Conversely, you don’t want to start posting relevant content on your channel but have no connections – it would be like shouting into a empty room!
So from my experience, here is the process I’d suggest that you follow:
- Create a complete profile and add one eye-catching post
- Start building a network of meaningful connections
- Begin posting regular content
We’ll get into the details of points 2 and 3 in future posts, but suffice to say, this order is important if you want your social media marketing to capture the interest of those that find you right from the outset.
So let’s break down the actions you need to take to create a B2B marketing profile that’s ready for visitors.
1. Select an intuitive username and profile (or page) name
Each social media platform allows you to create a unique username (eg. @DIYSocialMkting). Because this username is how your profile is addressed in posts, both your own and others, and acts as a hyperlink, it is a good idea to choose a username that, in itself, attracts attention. However, this simple first step may not be as easy as you would hope… Instagram reportedly has over 800 million users, Twitter has over 300 million, and there are millions of small business pages on Facebook, so the chances of your choice of username having already been taken are quite high.
While it is a good idea to have your business name as your username if it’s available, you might also consider including your location or industry to attract attention. Also bear in mind the number of characters you will be limited to – Twitter = 15, Instagram = 30 and Facebook = 50.
2. Add a profile picture and header image
This is an important step. Profiles that do not have a profile picture look incomplete, and the header image is an excellent way to tell profile visitors something about you or your business instantly (as in ‘a picture tells a thousand words’).
Profile picture – if you are a sole trader or you want people to recognise your face, by all means put a photo of yourself up. However, other options would include a business logo or a simple graphic with your business name, a product picture or a photo of your shopfront or office (if applicable). Remember that your profile picture typically remains quite small, regardless of the device your profile is being viewed on, so this probably isn’t the place for an infographic with small text or fine detail.
Header image – this is an often under-utilised communication opportunity. Are you wanting to attract buyers from your region? Take a photo of a well-known landmark or scene in your area to demonstrate that you are local. Do you have a particular product or industry you are aiming for? Then an ‘action shot’ of the product or a picture of the type of business you are targeting could demonstrate relevance. You can also design a specific infographic for your profile, though bear in mind that the header image often gets resized depending on the device – so test how your profile looks on different hardware.
3. Add a meaningful profile description
Most social media profiles allow you to enter a short ‘Bio’ description of yourself or your business. Typically there is a limit of about 150 – 160 characters. Your bio is an important opportunity for you to give your profile visitor a reason to contact you, view your website or follow you.
And its actually an interesting challenge – if you had only 30 – 35 words to explain why your visitor should investigate your business further, what would you say?
Here are just a couple of pointers for writing a good bio:
(1) Consider your target audience – write the bio from the point of view of someone who finds your social media channel and would be potentially interested in what you have to offer.
(2) Well-worded, simple language – don’t fill the bio with jargon. Remember that not all of your profile visitors read well, or understand technical terms – even if they are in your industry.
(3) Don’t waste words – space is at a premium, so be careful to make the bio as succinct as possible, while bearing in mind the above points. If your bio is telling a story about you or your business – remember, it’s a very short one!
(4) Link to key collaborators & use hashtags – Recently, a number of platforms have added the ability to use usernames and hashtags in your bio, so that they are ‘live’ hyperlinks. We’ll discuss this in more detail later, but if you do have one or two key suppliers or marketing hashtags that you want to show your connection with, it’s worth adding them if you have the room.
4. Add contact details
This point very much depends on what you want your profile visitor to do once they have found you. Don’t allow your social media page to be a ‘dead end’ – where the visitor wants to find out more but has no place to go.
Particularly if your social media marketing strategy aims are to increase brand, product or business awareness, you need to have some way for a genuinely interested party to take the next step, whatever you want that to be.
5. Add one initial post to your profile
OK – at this point your profile is complete. I would suggest that you now go and check it on multiple devices (PC, phone & tablet), viewing it from a visitor’s point of view. Is it interesting? Does it tell them enough about you to make them want to find out more – and provide a way to do so?
My final suggestion would be to add one post, so that initial visitors don’t find an empty feed when they arrive at your profile. Again, we’ll consider what you should post in a future article, but it is worth bearing in mind that first impressions count, and the chances you have of someone following you are greatly enhanced if they see something useful or meaningful on their first visit.
Your profile is now ready for business!
This process may look perfectly logical, but it is amazing how many profiles I come across that look half-done, leaving me with no way, or inspiration, to look further into the business I’ve discovered. These suggestions apply to the social media platforms I’ve been using most – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn… but should work ok for others too.
In the next post, we’ll discuss building your social media connections…