social-media-biosThe other day, someone got in touch with me and referenced my Twitter bio – the reason she contacted me. Thing is, I hadn’t updated it in two years and much had changed.

After apologizing, I set out to update my Twitter bio. Then, doing the rounds, I discovered glaring holes in my LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Facebook profiles. Here’s how I went about updating my bios.

Listicle or Narrative

You must first decide on form. Do you want a resume-style bio or a narrative? It’s all about storytelling these days, so I chose the latter.

A few days ago, @ourexpertsays came across my Twitter stream and a quick look at his bio revealed a succinct combination of resume-narrative with clever/humor for good measure: “Managing Director of V&L Institutional Services PC Group, voted by classmates as one of 7 billion most likeable people on the planet.”

Well established personalities can get with pithy lines, but for consultants, entrepreneurs, and others trying to get noticed, a fleshed-out bio is essential. But forgo the temptation to bullet-point your accomplishments, and create a narrative around them, instead.

Start with Twitter

If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”

This quote has been attributed to many people, and it resonates more than ever in today’s social media micro-narrative age. Taking time to create a succinct story-bio on Twitter allows you to easily repurpose it on other channels that provide more than 160 characters.

Use the narrative style for LinkedIn, also. Create a story for the “Summary” section. This can be the story you created for your Twitter bio. I also changed all of my employment history to stories instead of resume-style bullet points. No one cares about a list of responsibilities for a job I had 15 years ago, but a short and sweet two-sentence story will probably be read and appreciated.

Avoid spamming users with update notifications

LinkedIn and Facebook are notorious for notifying your followers, friends and connections with every little update you make. Here’s how you can update your LinkedIn profile without spamming everyone:

  • Hover the cursor over your profile pic on the top menu bar.
  • Choose “Privacy & Settings.” You will be promoted to sign in again.
  • Under “Privacy Controls,” click on “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts.”
  • Deselect “Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies.”

Facebook removed a similar feature, so for now, you’ll have to update your profile late at night. Facebook is usually for friends and close contacts so keep the language casual. You’re not auditioning for a job on Facebook, though it can happen, so keep your profile narrative clean, also.

Google+ straddles the professional and personal so a beefed-up Twitter bio will do the trick.

If you don’t have a popular website or blog, your social media bios are usually the first information people (including colleagues and potential clients) find about you. When was the last time you checked and updated them?

If you have a favorite Twitter bio, please share in the comments below.

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