One of the first things people are going to do when you are business networking is check out your social media profiles. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are providing a consistent image, current information and you at least look a bit like your LinkedIn photo!
To make sure your profiles are professional and are portraying the image you want, include all the following elements:
Never leave the generic, faceless shadow on your profile. People are much more likely to connect with you when there’s a face put to the name. Also, many people will ONLY connect with you if they can see your face. Cartoons are fine if you’re self-conscious, but people will only take you seriously when they look into your eyes.
Most social sites have a space for a brief “tag line” where you can state your title, business, or other statement that describes you in just a few words. Make sure this pithy sentence is geared for your target prospects. Using keywords will also help people find you.
Include more detailed information about your skills, background, experience, etc. in the appropriate places in your profile. This is your opportunity to explain that tag line and show off a bit, so make the most of it. In some sites, like LinkedIn, you can even add media to your profiles, such as videos and slideshare presentations.
Don’t forget to include information on how people can get in touch with you. Include your preferred contact methods, such as phone, email, website, Skype, address, etc. If you have both a professional and personal blog, you can include both so that people can learn more about you.
If you have contact preferences, state those to. No one wishes to get off on the wrong foot when making contact with you, so make sure you express how you like to be contacted.
If you’re using a network like LinkedIn, take advantage of their Recommendations and Endorsements features. Ask a few select customers and colleagues to write short recommendations for you. Give them a little guidance on what type of recommendation you need so that they have some ideas. It will make it easier for them to write it, and you’re more likely to get a recommendation that will help your networking goals.
Review all your major social media profiles on a regular basis to keep them up to date and consistent. This is especially important if you change jobs or start a new business. It’s also important to keep an up to date photo, so if yours is 10 years old, it’s time to take a new one!
Jackie Groundsell is known as the queen of women's business networking lunches. She supports thousands of small business owners through her events and lunches.