Talking about yourself is tough. For the majority of us humble folk, highlighting your strengths and making it ‘all about me’ feels uncomfortable (not to mention very un-British).
Talking about your company can be tricky, but personal social media bios are especially intimidating. There's nothing to hide behind here: that’s you, front and centre and on public display.
Unfortunately, they’re also really important for making connections and building your business or career, particularly on Twitter and LinkedIn.
As Neil Patel puts it in an article on Buffer’s blog:
‘Your online reputation is your reputation. And it better be good.’
Well that takes a load off your shoulders…
Don’t fret, follow these 10 tips for key social platforms and you'll have personal social media bios that are bound to get you noticed in your professional world.
Your Twitter bio
1. Get to the point. Don’t forget you’ve only got 2800 characters to make an impression. Don’t waste any of those characters with long sentences or fancy words. Speak in short, punchy, bullet-point notes to optimise your character use.
2. Be business. Your Twitter bio may not give you space for your résumé, but you still have room to tell people what you do. Most importantly, you need to include the key words people will identify you and your personal brand by and search for you with. Your Twitter bio is only short, but, write it well, and it can rank highly on search results.
3. Be personal. This is Twitter after all, people won’t respond to a corporate drone. It seems like everyone’s an ‘entrepreneur’ nowadays, so say something different. Hobbies, habits, likes, loves, the best social media bios share things that make you interesting. Top tip: look at what your competitors are saying and say something different.
4. Be linked. Use @s to link to any company pages you’re a part of, use #s to connect your keywords to mentions about that hashtag and use URL links to your websites.
5. Be funny. Okay, that’s a big ask, but humour works wonders on Twitter. If you can't be funny, at least try something a bit different. The professional world is all about making a strong impression.
It's time to upgrade your LinkedIn profile
6. Start strong. The most important part of your summary is the first few words, so please don’t start with; ‘I am a ___ who works at ___.’ Get straight into the talents that make you stand out: people viewing your profile can see where you work at the top of your page; they don’t need it repeated.
7. Stay concise. Thankfully, your LinkedIn summary gives you a bit more breathing room than a Twitter bio, but you still don’t want to bore people. After a brief introduction, use a list to: make your summary scannable, spice up the business with personal quirks and define what makes you interesting.
8. Stay targeted. The lack of character limit also means you can go to town on your keywords. Some people just list these keywords at the end, but that makes you look a little careless. With a little effort you can work them all into the body of your summary and keep the text flowing naturally.
9. Use stats. Well-chosen data can go a long way to impressing others on LinkedIn. Back your achievements and claims with numbers and you’ll give a much stronger impression.
10. Use stories. A short personal story can tell a great deal about you in only a few sentences. Readers connect with anecdotes, and they’re a great way to promote yourself through examples instead of bold, unproven claims.
Instagram - it can get personal
Now you might not think that Instagram is for you, especially if you're in the B2B tech industry. But humanising b2b content should be a top priority for your business and is easily achievable when you utilise Instagram.
11. Get public. The most important thing to note when it comes to your Instagram profile is to ensure it's set up to be public (as opposed to private.) This ensures everyone will be able to find you and follow you with ease.
12. Images on point. Imagery is important on Instagram (have we mentioned that before?) And your profile picture is no different, so make sure you have an on brand profile picture that is easily recognisable.
13. Get to the point. You have 150 characters for your profile bio so you have to make it count. Here are a few examples for inspiration:
WeWork: 'WeWork provides you with the space, community, and services you need to make a life, not just a living.'
- Oreo: 'See the world through our OREO Wonderfilled lens.'
- Califia Farms: 'Crafting, concocting and cold-brewing up a delicious, plant-based future. Califia Farms Loves You Back.'
- Staples: 'We make it easy to #MakeMoreHappen.'
It can be a daunting task to write about yourself, but it’s also a very important one. Browse other people’s social bios, take inspiration from your favourites and, most importantly, define yourself. You need to stand out in this professional world, as you, uniquely you.
Then, use your social voice to share content that matters to you and to people who follow you.
Remember, there's no wrong way to make yourself stand out on social media. Well, except perhaps, for this:
[Originally published in 2015, updated in 2020]