Social media is all about being visible — and sociable. And yet, some people are still not getting those most fundamental concepts right when it comes to setting up their profiles for success.
I’m amazed when I see some of the basic mistakes that people continue to make on social media. Here are a few of my “favorites”:
1) Failure to upload a profile photograph. There’s just no excuse for this. If you don’t have a professional shot (which everyone in business should have, by the way), get someone to take a picture of you with your cell phone. Don’t be so vain — or secretive. People do not want to “friend” or connect with someone they don’t know if they don’t have a photo uploaded. I have a policy of not connecting with people who don’t have photos. If you’ve ever been “cyber-stalked,” you’ll understand the reluctance. It’s just creepy.
2) And sorry. Uploading a logo, a picture of a flower or one of your dog is not any better.
3) Using an initial instead of a full last name on LinkedIn. Really? How do you plan to network for business with an initial, such as “Linda N.” How many other “Linda N.s” do you think there are in the world? Why do you even bother? Nearly as ridiculous, but not quite as annoying, is the fake name or “first name only” on Facebook. If your IRL friends know you and you plan to stick to socializing with them, that’s fine. Just don’t be surprised if you get turned down for any further connections.
4) Using a profile page as a business page on Facebook. When I get a friend request from one of these, I politely explain to the person that they have misused the profile page and should correct it. But I do not accept such “friend” requests, because I do not know who the person is. You cannot see the name of the person, only the business. Businesses must use fan pages to promote their businesses. Besides, it is in the business’s best interest to use a fan page, because of all the additional functionality on that type of page.
5) Uploading the business name rather than the individual’s name on the LinkedIn personal profile. Ditto everything I said in the previous example. LinkedIn now offers business pages, where business information goes.
6) Failing to complete your profile. You can’t expect people to interact with you if you don’t give them some information about yourself — especially on LinkedIn. That’s why you’re on there, right? Do you answer the door to someone you don’t know who provides you no indication as to who they are and what they want?
Social media visibility vs. privacy
I understand that some people may be nervous about putting their personal information online for the world to see and possibly use for nefarious purposes. But you can’t have the benefits of social media visibility and only put one toe in the water. You are either all in or you don’t play the game at all. If you are trying in increase your social media visibility for business, you must get the basics — and much more — right.