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8 What Your Social Profiles Should Say About You

It’s funny but a lot of people don’t think about their social profiles until they’re looking for a new job or new business situation. I’d like to suggest that you look at your social profiles as a key starting point in building a stronger digital footprint.

I know this sounds almost like remedial advice these days, so consider it a nice reminder of something you must certainly already know.

whippingpost

Social media profiles are part social proof, part brochure, and part SEO. So, why not treat them as the personal branding asset they can be.

Obviously, if you have not done so you certainly must claim a personal profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. Again, remedial advice perhaps, but I’m still running across people who don’t know why they would do this. The simple truth is that it’s branding real estate as much as it’s a new platform for engagement.

If you have done this consider adding Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit and Quora as well.

You might also consider employing a service such a KnowEm, which for a fee will claim your profile on a hundred or more social networks.

In addition, you can submit your personal name to the service BrandYourself to build a personal branding page and receive tips on how to get the profiles that actually represent you (not someone else with your name) to have a better chance of showing up on page one for searches.

A good social profile starts with a good photo.

Don’t settle for that phone “selfy” bounce shot off the mirror or the “look at how arty I can be” shot. (Okay, maybe those represent your brand accurately, but I’m guessing you’re a minority.)

Get a series of professional shots done. It doesn’t have to be the stiff studio shot either – add some character, get some outside shots, experiment with industrial backdrops – just make sure it’s well lit and composed.

The dating industry has lots of data on the impact of a profile picture when it comes to first impressions and, while you may not be looking for a mate, it can offer some instruction on best practices for profile pictures.

The dating site OK Cupid cataloged over 7,000 profile shots and correlated these profiles with amount of contacts received. While they discovered some obvious dos and don’ts in profile images, they also discovered that a simple change in facial attitude correlated with as much as a 30% increase in contacts. (Want to really test this take the My Best Face test)

Here are the basic findings of the study:

For Women: A flirty attitude away from the camera was the worse performing in terms of new contacts. While a flirty attitude or a smiling face toward the camera produced the best results.

For Men: A non-smiling, facing away from the camera profile picture producing more contacts. A flirty attitude for men is a definite no.

Again, dating and whatever it is you’re selling aren’t that closely related – or are they?

You may also want to check out some personal brand profile pages from services like Vizify and About.me that allow you to build your own pages drawing from your social media participation and images you already have online. These sites can also aid your overall SEO optimization by giving you yet another piece of real estate with your branding elements and messages.

Resist the urge to cut and paste your resume

Unless you’ve created a really engaging resume – experience tells me not so much – then don’t turn your profile pages into the same boring data that make up most resumes.

Tell stories instead – focus on where you’ve been, what experience you’ve gained, what skills you’ve mastered and why. Write in first person (I believe not your name believes) and use an active and expressive tone.

Create a talking logo and use it as the subheading for your profile. Make sure you talk about your passions, even those outside of your obvious professional requirements. If you’ve climbed Mt Everest I want to know that.

Add a few highly relevant quotes from others such as customers, partners and employers.

And by all means create lots of links to relevant pages on your website, useful content you’ve created and all the other social networks you participate in.

You may also find that this style of personal profile building makes for a better About Us type page on your own site too. Here’s an example of one of my favorite About Us profile pages from leather goods maker Ryan Barr

48 7 Ways to Acquire the Right Kinds of Links to Your Site

linksI’ve said it here many times – winning high rankings in search engines is not that hard for local businesses. There are some categories of business that are very competitive and certainly require the investment of a high caliber SEO firm, but do it yourself type can do well if they focus on two activities.

Creating content and acquiring the right kinds of links back to your site.

I specifically say the right kinds of links because there are still some folks out there promoting the easy way out, suggesting you buy hundreds of links, but there is no easy way out and this can even lead to getting your hand slapped or worse by the search engines.

Below are seven of the best ways to acquire those all important links.

Write a blog

Without question creating a blog and consistently writing keyword rich content is the number one SEO activity for the small business. (For any size business) This is no longer something to debate, blog content will improve your chances to compete in the search engines many times over and draw links from other blogs and sites that syndicate content.

Guest post on blogs

A variation to writing on your blog is to seek out other blogs and offer to write content that is useful and relevant to their audience. Make certain that you get to place a link back to your site in the body of the post and look for blogs that are well read. You might also look for other local blogs using a tool like Placeblogger.

Submit posts and article to directories

Article directories such as still present a great opportunity for acquiring links. By submitting articles to sites likeEzinearticles.com, Articlesbase.com, Suite101.com, Buzzle.com you can begin to acquire more links and traffic to your site. You might also look into services like HubShout that provide turn-key writing and submission of content.

Write social press releases

Consistently writing news releases for even seemingly minor announcements is a great way to build up some extra traffic and links, particularly if you use the social features of tools like PRWeb or Pitch Engine. As a bonus print your press releases off and send them via mail to your clients and network, you’ll be surprised how much bounce you get from this little contact tactic.

Leave lots of relevant comments

Leaving relevant comments on other blogs does a number of things for you. In some cases, not many though, you may actually benefit from a link to your site, but the real value is that you may get the attention of other readers and the owners of these blogs in ways that could prompt them to point to some of your content via a blog post. I hope it goes without saying this won’t work if your comments are basically spam. Use a service like BackType to track when comments related to your topic get hot.

Create profiles

There are hundreds of places you can create social profiles on the web and most allow you to place numerous links back to your site. You probably won’t get a ton of juice from the search engines for these because many are what are called “no follow” links, but some are not and many will build extra pages and links for the big picture. You should be claiming this real estate and filling it with content and brand assets as a rule. You can even use a service like Knowem that will create hundreds of profiles on lesser known networks.

Use social bookmarking

Social bookmark sites such as delicious, digg, reddit and StumbleUpon offer great ways to create valuable links and search engine juice. By bookmarking and tagging your blog posts for relevant keyword topics your content may be found by the millions of folks looking for topic related to your tags. This can often lead to tweets and posts pointing out your content.

By creating a systematic approach that allows you to focus on a couple of these items each and every week you can start to build hundreds of links to your web pages and virtually lock out the competition for your key terms.

Image credit: Ramberg Media Images

3 Weekend Favs October Thirty-One

CairnI’ve added a weekend post routine that I hope you enjoy. Each weekend I write a post that features 3-4 things I read during the week that I found interesting. Generally speaking it doesn’t involve much analysis and may range widely in topic. (Flickr image included here is also fav image of the week)

Enjoy!

Good stuff I ran across this week:
Twitter Gallery – Nice collection of free twitter backgrounds. This is an asset that should be branded, but at least dress it up a bit.

KnowEm – Search over 340 popular social media networks to instantly secure your brand across the social web. Recently added some features, including a paid option to register you.

Reel Director (warning iTunes link) – Fairly robust video editing app for the iPhone 3Gs

Image credit: katjung