Enough has been said and written about how to succeed on social media. This is not that. Before you do hashtag research and design a fancy cover photo, there are some really elementary things you absolutely must do if you want people to take you even slightly seriously online.
Here are three basic first steps that are absolutely mandatory if you want to up your social-media game:
1. You need a profile picture, and that is final.
Listen, I get it-- you are not so comfortable having your face on the internet. But that is going to be a problem if you want to connect with other people and build relationships with other humans. People don't want to connect with a picture of an egg or a question mark, people want to connect with other people, and other people have faces.
If you absolutely refuse to put your face out there, then figure out another way to give yourself a figurative face or something other people can relate to. Maybe you can use an animated photo that sort of looks like you.
So, that profile image field in the bio section of every social network? Don't ignore it, because if you can't bother uploading an image, I can't bother clicking "Follow."
2. Tell me who you are and why I care.
Just like you shouldn't ignore the profile picture section, don't ignore the bio section. These two things are the first things I see when encountering your profile. Leaving it blank says you are not taking the platform too seriously, which then says to me that you are not worth following.
However you want to write your bio--with humor or without, with information about your work or without, with a mention of your family or without-- just write a bio.
Tell me who you are, as a human or as a professional, depending on what you hope to accomplish on the platform, and why you are someone with whom I should connect.
You know what they say about first impressions, and first impressions on social media are no different.
3. Give me a reason to click that "Follow" button.
So you set up your profile including a photo and a bio. Fantastic. Now let's get to the core, to your content, and to your value. Why are you interesting enough for someone to follow? What is your thing and how can people benefit from it?
Remember and never forget that social media is very open and transparent. If you are going to use Twitter to complain non-stop about customer service, or use Facebook to constantly call out your mean mother-in-law, no offense, but that is not exactly something that I, or anyone else, needs in their feed.
Think about your content and what message you're trying to communicate. Think about the story you are telling through your posts, and ask yourself the most important question of all:
Would I follow me?