One of the easiest things you can do as a social media marketer is to optimize your social media profiles. It only takes a few minutes to improve a social media profile, and most of the optimizations can be implemented when you first create the account.
Here are five recommendations to help optimize your social media profiles.
1. Branded Cover Photos and Background Images
Every social network has different image dimensions for cover or background photos, but the reasoning for why we want we want our logo on the images is the same: branding. The cover image is usually the first thing a user sees when he or she becomes a fan of your page, and you want to give them a good impression of your brand.
On Facebook, adding a logo to your cover photo turns it into a giant brand billboard. If a fan "likes" the cover photo, it could show up as a story in a non-fan's feed.
Why not make the Facebook story a giant brand billboard? If you aren't adding branding to your cover photo or background images, you're missing out on a great opportunity.
Here's an example of great branding on a Facebook cover photo. It's simple and effective:
Sometimes brands get creative with a cover photo by letting it "bleed" into the profile picture:
2. Link to Other Social Media Profiles
One of the easiest ways to activate your brand loyalists on another social platform is to tell them about it. Simple updates informing fans that you just launched an Instagram account can do the trick, but the time the post sits in the feed (regardless of social network) is ephemeral.
A quick way to fix this problem is to have easy-to-find links to your other social networks within your profile. Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+ provide the best opportunities to link to your other social profiles.
Let's start with Facebook. First, you can add Facebook apps that link or showcase other social profiles. The Instagram and YouTube apps can be found in the app store, and Pinterest or Twitter can be added through WooBox.
Here's an example of a page (Kitchen Daily) with a Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter app activated.
You can also add links to your social profiles in your Facebook profile contact information by putting a comma and a space after your main website URL. I highly recommend putting links to your other social profiles here because it will help users easily locate your other official social accounts.
The National Guard added links to all their other social profiles within the Facebook contact information so that users can stay connected with them across the web.
Next, you can add a link to your Twitter profile within your Pinterest account. Go to Settings>Social Networks, and log in with your Twitter account. When it's linked, it will show in the profile like this.
Google+ gives you the ability to link your other social profiles in the About>Links section of the profile. Connect everything, especially YouTube.
By linking to the other profiles, it will help Google connect the dots between your content and your social accounts. The YouTube connection is especially important because Google+ now powers the commenting system.
If you're a blogger, you should also set up Google+ authorship. This will make your name appear under the article title on the search engine results page. More information on Google+ authorship can be found here.
3. Link to Your Main Website
Make sure your main website is listed on each of your social profiles. This will improve branding, and it will help users distinguish between the official versus unofficial profile pages.
One trick on Facebook is to add the site URL in the "about" section under the page description. If you're page isn't verified, I highly recommend doing this to convey a sense of authenticity.
4. Fill Out Every Profile Field
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised at the number of brands that have incomplete profiles.
Fill out everything you can with quality descriptions and accurate information. Doing this will improve brand association (with locations, topics, goals, etc.) and add value to your followers' experience with the brand.
Facebook has way more profile fields than any other platform, so it will take the longest to complete. The other social networks will only take a few minutes to finish.
Over the last few years several new fields have been added to Facebook and Google+, so make sure you double check your profile completeness once a quarter. Again, the National Guard offers a great example of a near complete Facebook profile.
5. Uniformity in Profile Descriptions
Every social profile doesn't have to have the exact same description, but you should use most of the same keywords. You want consistency in how you market your brand to fans, and a social media profile isn't any different.
Daily Finance does a great job with uniformity between social profiles. Here are their Facebook and Twitter profile descriptions.
Optimizing a social media profile is easy, and it doesn't take much time to do. Play around with these recommendations, and feel free to leave comments with any additional suggestions for how to optimize your profiles.
Author's disclosure: I am currently employed by AOL, which owns Engadget, TechCrunch, Kitchen Daily, Huffington Post, and Daily Finance. I used to do agency work with the National Guard when I worked with LM&O Advertising.