Note: This post was originally published on 08/30/2018 and contained links to third-party websites I referenced or personally recommended, but received no compensation for whatsoever. It has since been updated to include links I received compensation for including. These links are indicated with (*). View full disclosure policy here.
When you join a company’s social media team, you might think you have a free pass to skip some of the things a coworker or predecessor has set up—like profile and cover images, bio sections, and business contact information. They did the hard part of creating the company’s social media presence, and you’re just here to maintain it, right? Well, checking over those sections in your work’s social medial accounts is part of maintaining them.
If you’re new to a larger social media team and working as, say, a content specialist, you are a pair of fresh eyes that can spot outdated information the social media manager you report to might be used to seeing. It’s as easy as saying, “Hey, I noticed the category of our Facebook page says we’re a travel agency. Since we provide information, but don’t handle any kind of bookings, should we consider changing that to ‘tourist information center’ or something else?”
Depending on your position and your workplace, this may be something you can change without having to get someone’s approval. In a large corporation, you might need to get your changes approved by the head of your department. In a smaller office, where you might be given permission to make changes as you see fit, you can update the information and just mention it in an email or as part of regular social media performance reporting.
The Bio Section
The bio section is the way you give your audience a handshake and introduce yourself. When you introduce yourself to someone new, they probably won’t remember everything about you after the first meeting. But they should remember at least one of three things: your name, what you do, and what you’re like.
It’s the same thing with brands. When someone goes to your profile after liking some of your content, they’re probably not going to remember what year the company was founded, the exact wording of your mission statement, or your business hours. But they should be able to remember your brand’s name, what it does or sells, and what your brand’s style is. When I say “style,” I don’t mean the look or design of the brand or its products. Style is the personality of the brand a person can expect to see when engaging with it on social media. The language you use helps define this.
Facebook pages have a tendency to change, especially after you’ve just gotten comfortable with the latest version. For example: the Facebook Business Story.
You already have an about section to fill out, one that allows only 155 characters as of this writing. That’s really only good for a brief call to action. But in the Business Story, you can share another photo and a more personal glimpse into the brand.
In the Our Story section, you can go more in depth about the brand, the people in the company, the services or products. This section can be treated more like the About page on a website. In fact, you can copy and paste the text from your site’s About page. It’s important for this section to contain a call to action, such as telling people to visit the physical location of your business or to your website.
NOTE: Facebook will create a publicly viewable post in your feed every time you update information on your page. It would be nice if it was one, all-inclusive “[Page name] updated their information.” Instead, you get a separate post for updated hours, address, contact information, etc. Unless the updates are important for your audience to pay attention to—like your business is now closed on Mondays, or you’re moving to a new location—these posts can muck up your feed. If you’re just putting in your office’s hours where they weren’t specified before, it might be worth considering going to your feed and either deleting or hiding the post from your followers.
Like Facebook, Twitter’s bio section allows only a brief statement on your company or brand—one that fits into 160 characters or less. If your brand is one of many with similar names, it likely also had a similar Twitter handle. That makes the bio section here the most important place to highlight which of those brands you are. A poorly written bio that doesn’t clarify who you are can lead to a lot of confusion among your followers. And that can turn into unhappy customers for your company and a real problem if you want to grow a Twitter following.*
For example, if your business Twitter is primarily for sharing community events, you’ll want to make it clear that you are not the organizer of the events you share. Otherwise you’ll spend more time than you should fielding calls and messages about events you have no control over.
Some brands will include hashtags in their bios to tell their followers what topics you can usually find them talking about. While that makes a clickable path to the conversations you’re probably participating in, it’s also not necessary. The point here is to tell your Twitter audience who you are and what more they’ll get from you if they go to your company’s website. With only 160 characters to work with, those hashtags can eat up space you need. But if you like having the hashtags there and you have room for them, go for it. If you have branded hashtags, however, absolutely find a way to incorporate those.
Instagram’s character limit for the bio section is 150. For brand consistency, it would make sense to come up with a roughly 150-character bio usable across all platforms. With Instagram’s often more playful nature, you can substitute emojis for certain words. This is a common practice, so there’s no need to worry about appearing unprofessional.
Like Twitter, Instagram is a great place to use your company’s branded hashtags in your bio so people can join your conversation. Some brands list their tags after their information, while others incorporate them in sentences. Either way works. It all depends on communicating the information you need to in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Since the only place Instagram allows a clickable link is in the bio, your bio link might change occasionally. Some brands do this to send people to information on a special event or limited offer. To ensure you still have room for the essential brand information, it’s a good idea to shorten the URL using a tool like Hootsuite or TinyURL.
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