Your profile picture is often someone’s first introduction to you on social media. After that, it's usually your header image, and then your bio. You should choose these pictures carefully. And to make sure your images aren't getting cut off or weirdly cropped, you should know the standard dimensions each platform allows.
You'll probably be safe using square profile pictures across all your profiles, but banners and headers vary a bit. Below, you'll find a cheat sheet with the dimensions for most of the major social media platforms (as of Oct. 2017).
Facebook cover photo: 828 x 315 px
Facebook event page cover: 784 x 295 px
Twitter banner: 1500 x 500 px
LinkedIn banner: 1400 x 425 px
Etsy store banner: 1200 x 300 px
YouTube channel header: 2560 x 1440 px
You can use header images to promote news and events, like your latest book, or change them seasonally/to coincide with holidays. But there’s nothing wrong with using one, nice looking, on-brand image and keeping it consistent. You can use a slogan or mantra in some cool typography, or show off some creative work you’re proud of.
You can change your profile picture too, but it helps to be consistent. You want people to recognize you from platform to platform. For a brand, this is easy if you have a logo. For an individual profile, you can go with the old standby of a professional headshot, or a more stylized option, like your bitmoji or an artistic portrait.
Check out how your profile and header images look on both desktop and mobile. There will often be a little bit of overlap, so make sure no important text or other elements are getting covered up.
Now that your profile looks nice, make sure you have a good bio.
Once you've drawn people in with a good header image and/or profile photo, the next thing people will usually see on any of your social media profiles is your bio.
Though YouTube allows up to 5,000 characters (!) in channel descriptions, most platforms only allow short bios of about 160 characters or less. I understand! You contain multitudes that cannot possibly be captured in less than 200 characters. But you must try your best.
Perhaps the short character limit is the reason a lot of people seem to opt for what I call "The List" in their bios. "Mother, teacher, yogi, lover of life!" It's an effective way to deliver information about you or your business, but it's so common. People have started subverting this trend in some cool and funny ways though, almost like concept of The List is its own meme.
Good List bios do exist! But they can come across as unimaginative. Aim for something a little different. Even bios consisting entirely of emojis, although still kind of common, can add some fun personality if they are easily understood.
BE YOU (DUH)
Write your bio in the same tone you would anything else. Don’t force jokes or try to be clever just for the sake of it. But if that’s how you normally speak and write, go for it!
You might also feel awkward writing about yourself or your business in a context where you’re expected to be a little braggy. Is this too much? Is this not enough? Run your description by a friend to see how it comes across. Ask them if it seems authentic.
While your bio should be tailored to the audience on a given platform, there should be some consistency across your profiles. It will help people remember you if they see you on, say, Twitter and then again on Instagram. Think of it almost like a slogan. Use the same memorable phrase/couple of words across all your bios, so you'll hopefully stick in people's minds. For example, I use the phrase "cultivate a voice" in most of my professional bios.
As is the case with everything, always spellcheck and proofread your work. Run your bio past a second set of eyes, or through Grammarly (<- affiliate link) which checks for common English grammar errors. Nothing makes you look more unprofessional than misspellings, misplaced punctuation, and typos.
Some individuals and companies use their bios to announce news and events. It is one of the first things people see, after all. This can be useful, especially if you already have a lot of brand recognition, but be wary of stuffing your bio with too many links, @s, or hashtags. It makes things visually unpleasant and hard to read.
Others use their bios to provide resources they want their followers to easily find, like Patreon links and YouTube channels. Luckily, most platforms include a separate field to enter your website, but if you have other links you want to give your followers, it can be smart to include them in your bio, especially if you reference these resources often in your posts.
Stay tuned for a future post about the visual side of social media profiles, picking profile and header images.
Email lists are a way to stay top-of-mind for your client base. But for them to be useful, you have to get subscribers in the first place, and consistently offer something of value. Here are a few ways to do that:
OFFER VALUABLE CONTENT
Offer content that people will find valuable and promote the fact that you do.
Include your unique knowledge in your newsletters and mailers, much like a blog. Offer info like, "8 Ways to Beat Procrastination," or advertise "1 Real Estate Tip a Day Sent Right to Your Inbox - all October Long!"
It can be tough to constantly come up with topics on your own. If it seems like too much work, feel free to curate and link to resources and articles from elsewhere. Position yourself as an expert and maintain an essential newsletter of industry news.
Relatedly, offer and promote free stuff and services. Your knowledge, like the above 1 industry tip a day, can count as free stuff. So can evaluations, consultations, and resources you've created.
"Sign up for a free SEO evaluation." "Claim your free style guide."
IN PERSON EVENTS
Your strategy doesn't always have to stay online.
To gain subscribers in real life, you still have to employ the above strategies of providing value. But often, making personal connections with people at conventions and networking events makes them more likely to sign up.
Create sleek looking signup sheets to pass around at professional events that promote whatever you're offering (tips, resources, free stuff). You can even promote your offerings on your business cards and other physical marketing materials.
As always, you must come from a place of authenticity when trying to build your mailing list and court loyal subscribers. Be confident in your offerings!
Aspiring Dog Parent