When It's Time to Clean the "Lost Soul" from Your Profile

Looking through the short profile bios on Twitter, Quora, Pinterest and dozens of other social media sites you will see that many people describe themselves as "lost soul", "optimist", "work in progress", "another brick in the wall" and other generic labels.

This might be fine if you are still in high school and only interact with your classmates, or if you have an anonymous or pseudonymous account and you are trying to hide who you are. For everyone else this is probably not a good idea. What works much better is to write something helpful about who you are, what you do and, if appropriate, where you are. This is extremely helpful for several reasons.

Helps People Find the Right Account. Let's suppose that I meet someone called Mario Rossi at a party. I know Mario is a graduate student and is based in Zurich. When I search Twitter to see if Mario has an account I find dozens of Mario Rossi's. I might be able to recognize him from the photo, but perhaps his profile photo shows him at the south pole, with his face covered. If there is no useful information in his profile nobody will find him.

Establishes Trust and Confidence. If you comment on a Quora answer I have written and suggest a factual correction I am much more likely to trust you when I know what is the source of your expertise. When your profile just says "human" I have no reason to believe you. But if the topic is a top French business school and I see from the profile bio that you are a student or faculty there I am much more likely to trust what you say.

Encourages Interaction and Engagement. Identifying what you do and where you are also encourages people to interact with you. When other people have no idea where you are or what you do they are less motivated to spend time talking to you. A random question from someone who is functionally anonymous doesn't inspire me to write a lengthy reply. Just knowing that they are a marketing person or an undergraduate makes it easier for me to know how to interact.

Brings More and Better Followers.  Only bots will follow people with no real information in their profiles. Interact with me and I will always look at your content to see if you are worth following, but even if you have not shared much of value just having a meaningful profile can make a difference.

As long as you limit your social media use to swapping cat pictures with school friends your profile bios are probably not so important, but once you start applying for higher education your digital footprint starts to become more critical. And later when you start to apply for interships and jobs having a clear presence on social sites becomes something that can sometimes make recruiters choose you rather than another "lost soul".

But even before you start applying for jobs having a strong digital footprint associated with your name can be important because it helps you to start building a network very early. Creating a network is a little like growing asparagus in that it takes time for the results to come. The sooner you start the better your network will be when you need it. To make that happen you need social media accounts in your real name, with a real profile photo and more than a one-word meaningless bio.


Lectures, Workshops, Coaching and Writing

For lectures, workshops, one-to-one coaching and writing about networking, reputation management and other communication topics you can contact Andrew Hennigan by phone on 0033 6 79 61 42 81 or 0046 730 894 475, by email at conseil@andrewhennigan.com or through his website http://andrewhennigan.com.

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