social media how toWhen did you last revisit your social profile on Twitter or Facebook?

Do you want to maximize the impact of your social networking efforts?

Basic housekeeping tasks are necessary for maintaining complete and engaging profiles.

social media buttons

Update your social network profiles. Image source: iStockPhoto.

In this article, you’ll find 26 tips, an A-Z guide, with recommendations to help you get the most of your social network profiles.

#1: Adhere to Image Sizing Requirements on Social Networks

If your customer arrives on your Facebook Page and sees your profile picture as either too small for the space or out of focus, there’s a good chance they’ll develop a quick impression. Something to the tune of, “If they couldn’t get that right, what else will they get wrong?”

Here’s a helpful cheat sheet with dimensions for image sizes on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more. Print it out and hang it over your desk.

#2: Beef Up Your Site With Multiple Social Share Buttons

We don’t always have the benefit of knowing our customers’ preferences for sharing content.

Make it easy for customers to share your content where and how they want.

Provide multiple sharing options so that your customers who prefer Twitter can tweet, those who love Pinterest can pin and your customers who have an affinity for Facebook can share your article there, etc.

social share buttons

Social Media Examiner offers many places for readers to share articles.

#3: Create Leads For Upcoming Events

Just because people hear about your event on a social network doesn’t mean they know how to register or buy tickets.

Sean Carlos suggests, “Do ensure that event descriptions make it clear where official registration happens. It’s too easy for users to assume that saying ‘I’m going’ on Facebook is tantamount to an official registration. Seasoned event organizers will know differently.”

Include easy-to-follow registration links when you promote your company events online.

#4: Delineate Keyword-Rich Text on All Your Social Profiles

SEO and keywords aren’t a thing of the past. In fact, with search engines delivering social network profiles in their results, they’re more critical than ever.

Angela Lucas offers this advice about using your keywords on social media platforms, “The more you use a keyword, the more likely you’re going to be associated with that keyword on a particular social platform.”

Use a tool like Google’s Keyword Tool to make sure your business is associated with the right industry keyword!

#5: Encourage Customer Reviews

Lisa Fugere puts the issue of reviews in perspective. “Seventy-five percent of the businesses that you can find on social review sites have no reviews. That means that even if you’ve done nothing to bring your brand online, it likely already is.”

Encourage your customers to share their experiences on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor or Urbanspoon.

#6: Feature Unique Hashtags

Hashtags, words or phrases prefixed with the symbol #, provide a means for grouping messages. Hashtags work well for making your content or event stand out in the crowd.

For example, Peet’s Coffee & Tea uses #giveacup to draw attention to their Single Sip Truck visits.

peets hashtag

Fans of Peet's Coffee & Tea can follow the Single Sip Truck by searching the #giveacup hashtag.

Use descriptive hashtags to help keep your fans interested in and engaged with focused parts of your business or campaigns.

#7: Get Real on Social Networks

As your communities grow, it’s easy for customers to feel as though they’re lost in the crowd.

In 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote the landmark book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. In the book, Carnegie wrote, “Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Go the extra step and use your fans’ names when you respond to their questions or comments on social networks.

#8: Hunker Down and Add More Social Networks When and if You’re Ready

How many new social networks have emerged since you first developed your online marketing strategy? It’s possible a new channel might help you achieve a goal you’re struggling with. Are your products and services a natural fit for Pinterest? Can Instagram extend the reach of your campaign with photos?

Binh Nguyen has a helpful directory that includes social network sites, micro-blogging sites, groups and social community sites, micro-video blogging sites and video-sharing sites.

Reassess your social sites and use the directory to identify new places to build a presence for your business.

#9: Insert Your Company Name in Your Blog’s Title Tag and Meta Description

If your blog doesn’t contain your business name, people searching for you may not be able to find you. Whole Foods Market has a blog entitled, Whole Story. Even though it’s a catchy title, people searching for their blog won’t necessarily know to search for “Whole Story.”

Include your company name in the Title Tag and the Meta Description on your blog to eliminate any potential problems. For example, Whole Foods uses “Whole Story | Whole Foods Market” as their title tag and “The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog” in their meta description.

whole foods blog

Whole Foods added their company name to their blog title and description to make their blog more findable.

#10: Jump-Start Search Results for Pinterest

Many social networks have settings that affect whether your profile will show up in search results.

For example, Pinterest has a settings option to keep your profile “private” from search engines.

To ensure that your content surfaces in search results, go to settings and switch “Search Privacy” to “No.”

pinterest settings

Check your settings on Pinterest.

pinterest search privacy setting

Review your search privacy setting on Pinterest.

#11: Keep Your Focus on Perfect Blog Post Titles

A lot of time goes into the research and writing of your blog posts and one area that’s easy to overlook is the title of the piece.

Tracy Gold writes that at the Content Marketing Institute they spend “an average of 30 minutes per title in search of the absolute best wording. That adds up to a good chunk of time, but what’s the point of having an excellent blog post if its title won’t draw in traffic?”

Title your posts with thoughtful keywords that will resonate with search engines and readers.

#12: Link Your Content With Google Authorship

Content is published at an astounding rate and it’s easy for your articles to get lost in the masses of results that show up in a search.

Google Authorship links your content to your Google+ profile so that a photo is displayed next to your content in search results, along with a link to more of your relevant content.

Kristi Hines discusses Google Authorship along with many other ways to use Google+ to expand your business influence.

google authorshipWay

Optimize how your content appears in search engine results with Google Authorship.

#13: Make Signing Up for Your Blog by Email Easy and Inviting

Readers who discover specific blogs that they look forward to reading often want to receive updates about new articles right in their inbox.

For example, over 215,000 people have signed up to have the latest Social Media Examiner articles delivered to them.

email signup

If you're not signed up already, take a moment and request Social Media Examiner updates today!

Use a simple form that’s easy to complete and encourage readers to sign up for email updates about your new articles.

#14: Nurture Your Blog Posts With Titles That Match Content

Beyond the right words, blog titles create expectation about what the reader will find once they click on a link. Content that doesn’t match the title’s promise, or only offers a glorified sales pitch, will alienate readers and prompt them to click away.

Once you’ve gained a reader’s attention, follow through on the promise of your title with content that delivers!

#15: Optimize Your Social Presences

As businesses add social profiles to their strategy at different times, it’s easy to create profiles that don’t share cohesive branding elements.

Pamela Vaughan advises, “First and foremost, you must make sure your presence is optimized. Make sure the bios/profiles for your social media accounts are complete and that they include clear and concise descriptions of your business, your company logo, and your website URL.”

Schedule regular housekeeping checks of your social network presences to keep information, logos and images up to date.

#16: Pack Your Social Media Markup Tags With Necessary Information

Barry Wise says, “Social media optimization (SMO) is the new SEO.”

KnowEm offers a free tool to analyze your SMO markup tags and help you find out where you can make improvements.

knowem social markup tags

Example of KnowEm's social markup tags.

#17: Quit Hiding Your Picture

Are you an egghead on Twitter? A bluehead on Google+? Faceless on Facebook and LinkedIn?

Think of it this way: You go out in public every day, introduce yourself to people you’ve just met and give them the benefit of associating a face to a name. That shouldn’t be any different on social networking sites.

Stephanie Frasco writes, “Your face is important. It shows who you are and that you’re real. Beyond coming up in the search more often, you’re also going to give members that trust factor that is often missing from social networks. This picture is important. It should give other members a good representation of you.”

Load your picture to the profile image on each of your social networks to help people recognize the public face of your business.

#18: Ramp Up Your Social Network Profile Bios

Often, businesses pay an incredible amount of attention to the visual elements of their social profiles and forget to complete the bio portions.

John Clark offers a number of suggestions: your bio should tell prospects what your company does and what benefits you deliver, leverage keywords while still offering prospects a compelling reason to engage, provide a free offer (e.g., download, trial, etc.), include a link to a landing page with a targeted message instead of your homepage, be visual and make every word in your bio work hard.

Review your social bios every three months to ensure they’re in line with your current value proposition.

He’s captured the basics in the reference tool below:

john clark reference tool

Use this reference tool from John Clark to double-check your social media bios.

#19: Select Prominent Places for Social Network Links

Have you ever landed on a website and had to hunt around to see whether the business has social networking pages? Some are buried down deep in the navigation structure, or even placed under something like the “About Us” page.

While there’s not really a tried-and-true de facto place that people adhere to, some businesses gravitate to the upper-right corner of their home page, some to the bottom of the page. Take a look around at other sites in your industry. Where are your prospects likely to expect to find your social networks?

If you want customers to find you on social networks, put your social network icons and links in a prominent place (or two) on your website.

#20: Tell Users About All of Your Social Presences

Coming on the heels of #19, don’t forget to update your website with icons and links for new social networks as you integrate them into your strategy.

#21: Use Multimedia Content

John Walker makes a great pitch for using visual content to optimize social profiles. He writes, “Pictures, videos, slideshows and other multimedia content are a great way to make an impression on your social media profiles. Social media sites are increasingly leaning more toward visually oriented media. People just aren’t reading text like they used to and multimedia content tends to be shared more. When you use visual content, you create a much more interesting and visually pleasing profile.”

#22: Vary Tweet Topics and Hashtags as New Products Emerge

Gaining traction for a new product or business can be difficult with all the noise traffic on social media today.

Hashtags offer a great option for focusing engagement and promoting interest. Twitalyzer provides great analytics for Twitter profiles and you can use it to track hashtag usage within your account.

If you find that your brand frequently uses a specific hashtag, consider adding a new one to highlight a product that needs a visibility boost.


@Starbucks analyzed on Twitalyzer.

#23: Widen Your Reach

Finding sources and experts for articles you’re writing is an essential part of the process.

Create a list of companies and people who are talking about topics you’re writing on. The lists can be public or private and will help widen your reach of people to use as sources or to exchange information with.

In addition to Twitter lists, Listly can help you maintain lists of topical URLs and see curated lists of people who have information that might be helpful to you.

#24: Excel on YouTube With “About” Descriptions

Incomplete profile descriptions can leave viewers wondering about who you are and what you do.

YouTube can be a very powerful platform for a business. Here again is another example of a place where companies may miss the mark by failing to fill out the About company field.

Whole Foods Market took advantage of the About field on their YouTube channel. Peet’s Coffee & Tea didn’t include any text.

Are you on YouTube? Be sure to include a description of your business.

whole foods on youtube

About Whole Foods Market on YouTube.

peets on youtube

About Peet's Coffee & Tea on YouTube.

#25: Yield to Negative Comments

Businesses on social media will likely encounter a customer who feels wronged in some way. If they can’t reach someone within your organization on your website or with a customer service number, they may choose to enter through a different door and post their complaint on one of your social networking sites or Yelp.

Address complaints offline and one-on-one with your customers to make them feel heard and respected. You will instill the confidence that you’ve promised and they’ve come to expect.

#26: Zero in on Social Network Visibility

As the number of social networks you use multiplies, the task of keeping track of their elements can become daunting.

When you use the same keywords, descriptions and other common company information time and again, you may find it helpful to create a file where you can keep all your profile information together.

Dana Lookadoo shares a helpful Online Visibility Worksheet for optimizing social media profiles and tracking profile information.

Over to You

What do you think? How many of these tips have you used? Did you see some that can help maximize the impact of your social networking? Share your experiences in the comment box below.

Image from iStockPhoto.
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  • Aleks George

    Very thorough list. Well done! A nice blend of the obvious do’s, with some real subtle gems. I especially like the idea of google authorship and unique hash tags.

  • deb1221

    Hi Aleks, Thanks for reading and commenting. Google authorship is a very nice way to make your content stand-out. If you haven’t read it, check-out too, Andrea Vahl’s article from yesterday about Facebook and hashtags. More grist for the mill! Best, Debbie

  • Debbie, another awesome post. Your killing it with the 26 Tips, Tactics and Steps. When is the book coming?

  • deb1221

    Hi Seth, Thanks! Funny, sometimes I find myself thinking in 26 tips. A book would be a lot of fun! Best, Debbie

  • I have my own website and social sites connected to it, but I have never really tried to push my own unique hashtag. Do you have any tips for creating you own # and pushing it to your target audience?

  • Nirmala Santhakumar

    Really an awesome post to expand the social profiles.

    Am a part time but a devoted blogger searching for some enhanced ways to improve my social presence.

    Hope this post would help me to do so.

    Thanks for presenting the worthy article for the bloggers.

  • Michael Wilson

    I like tips #5 and #7 the most because I think it’s most important to have some human interaction with your fan base because it will allow them to ask you questions on a product or service that they have had some difficulty with. Giving that person a human response will encourage them and others to come to your page and address any issues that they have. Making your page open to customer feedback is important because you want their perspective because they are the ones buying your products, and they should be able to tell you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong so that you can improve your products along with your strategies.

  • Great post, Debbie! It’s valuable to be reminded of some of these that are easy to forget or neglect, like keyword rich descriptions across all social profiles and as well as Google authorship. Thanks for the great content!

  • Debbie thank you for the great tips! I was nodding my head the entire time that I was reading – thanks for reminding me of all the little things that can add up to BIG results on Social Media!

  • deb1221

    Hi Barry, Thanks for the question. I was working with a client who did the following and found some good success with their new hashtag.

    Start to follow the people who are using a related hashtag along with the Twitter profiles who are retweeting their messages/hashtag. Share their content (assuming it’s something that’s truly of interest to you and worth sharing).

    Some of those folks will automatically follow you and some may check out your Twitter feed to make a more educated decision about the follow.

    Then introduce your hashtag and chances are good that you’ll pique their curiosity on this new hashtag. Hope this helps. Best, Debbie

  • deb1221

    Thanks, Nirmala. I hope the post proves helpful to you. Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment! Best, Debbie

  • deb1221

    Thanks, Michael. I agree completely.

    I ordered something from an online business last week. The package arrived promptly and the product was great, met my expectations.

    I received an email from the company this morning asking how I like the product and if I would be willing to share my experience. Big companies have this down to some extent. It’s the smaller ones who stumble a little here. But, as big brands, keep teaching us, sometimes you need to ask for the review even when you don’t know for certain whether the person is going to review you favorably or not. Then, good customer service will hopefully deal with the complaint. Best, Debbie

  • sk

    Very nice post containing lots of information to use Social network properly.

  • deb1221

    Hi Sarah, Thanks. I know I’m often preaching to the choir here but it is surprising what you can find when you start to dig deep. I’ve had that experience with my own profiles (yep!) along with those that clients have asked for my help with. It’s amazing how sometimes a small fix will make your content visible to the people who are more likely to appreciate it in the first place. Best, Debbie

  • deb1221

    Hi Entrepreneur On Fire (adhering to #7!) My pleasure! I’m happy to hear that the article was helpful to you. Best, Debbie

  • deb1221

    Hi sk, Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Best, Debbie

  • Thanks I’ll try it out.

  • Karyn Gavzer

    Thank you for the excellent information you shared. As a small business person, it is overwhelming to try to keep up with everything and I appreciate your practical, timely informationa and advice. I have a question for you —

    Google’s key word tool page says, “In the coming months, the external Keyword Tool will no longer be
    available. To get keyword ideas, sign in to your AdWords account and try Keyword Planner.” Will be talking about this in one of your columns soon?.

  • deb1221

    Hi Karyn, I know. It can be very daunting at times to keep up with so much info coming at us left and right. Picking a few key places to read each day can be very helpful. SME is a great resource.

    I will pass along you question re: Keyword planner. I’m confident that if there’s a significant change people need to know about, SME and editorial director, Cindy King, will be on it! Best, Debbie

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Nice in-depth post!

    I ran an analysis on KnowEm? and was surprised that it returned with “No Google+Author Info Found.” I signed up with Google Authorship and my posts show up in Google with my picture. Interesting.

    I use hashtags, and I am in the process of updating my Twitter bio. I’m also hiring a web designer to makeover my website. Although, I’m nervous because I like my current theme, but it can use a reboot.

    Did I see some tips that can help me maximize the impact of your social networking? Yes, I did. They’re on my schedule.

  • I have to go through this with every client, so thanks for the breakdown @deb1221:disqus!

  • deb1221

    Hi Amandah, No time like the present! Good luck with all your updates.
    Best, Debbie

  • deb1221

    Hi Sean, Thank you. Appreciate it. Best, @deb1221:disqus

  • Curious about #16 – I plugged in my website and then a specific blog post and it’s saying for both links that rel=”publisher” and rel=”author” isn’t found. Those tags are on the site though, as Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool proves that everything is fine.

    Is #16 working for anyone else? Thanks! 🙂

  • EmilyQuestions

    A complete list of to-do’s, Debbie. Great stuff – thanks for doing the heavy lifting and making it easy to employ!

  • Great post – I need to go back through it a few times to make sure I update everything you’ve mentioned. Thanks.

  • tim putnam

    Great information, thank you

  • Roberto

    Two questions, 1) How do I add the signing up form for my blog. 2) Does people sign up for the blog count as opting in for my e-mail marketing efforts?

  • Extremely insightful! Thank you! Time to go to work!

  • deb1221

    Hi Alice, What I’d suggest is sending your question directly to KnowEm? and see if they can offer any insights. I’ll send them a message too that you might be in touch with them. Best, Debbie

  • deb1221

    Hi Emily, Glad to hear article has been helpful to you. Best, Debbie

  • deb1221

    Hi Wendy, Good luck with your updates. I’d expect they’d take a few attempts. Or, at least, one slow rainy day! Best, Debbie

  • deb1221

    Thanks, Tim. Glad its helpful to you. Best, Debbie

  • deb1221

    Hi Rose, Always good to have a plan! Best, Debbie

  • deb1221

    Hi Roberto, If you’re using wordpress, there are widgets to help with things like email sign-up forms. Check out this article on DIY Themes, “How to Add Email Signup Forms to Your WordPress Blog ”
    (google it, sometimes it takes a while for a link I post here to go through, so just in case I won’t put link here now)

    By signing up for your email newsletter they are opting in. As always though you need to have an unsubscribe and change subscriber settings option. I’m sure I’m not alone with having the experience where I opted in to something and then was deluged with more email then I cared to receive from the company.

    Hope this helps. Best, Debbie

  • Carolyn G Waudby

    Highly useful, practical tips very clearly explained, Debbie. I am doing some of the above – but the need to fill in business descriptions on my various social media profiles and stating the obvious in meta descriptions and blog titles are both areas I need to work on.

  • deb1221

    Hi Carolyn, Glad to hear that some of the tips pertain to some immediate needs.

    I think the worksheet in #26 (or something you customize for your own purposes) will be a helpful way to go about it. Best, Debbie

  • Barry Wise

    Hi Amandah;
    I’ve ran both and through the tool and I can see the Google Authorship info, perhaps we had a temporary error?


  • Guest

    Hi Alice;

    My name is Barry from KnowEm, the author of #16. The tool looks for the authorship tags, specifically in the format “link rel=author href=” Google does accept other methods, such as verifying via email, etc., but we only look for those specific tags. If you could let me know the URL of your site and I’ll take a look to see if there’s some reason we’re not picking up your tags.

  • Gillian Gingell Wormley

    This proved to be SO useful – thank you so much. I’m not a really super competent online person, but there’s so much help and info given, that many of the tasks were easily completed.

  • deb1221

    Hi Gillian, That’s great to hear! Thanks for letting me know. Best, Debbie

  • Morgan Briesmaster

    Thorough! I found adding creative hashtags & social sharing options (versus only placing your social media buttons) interesting / helpful.. Thank you, Debbie!

  • deb1221

    Hi Morgan, Glad those were particularly helpful. Always great to hear about what resonates. Thanks for writing! Best, Debbie

  • Barry Wise

    Hi Alice;

    My name is Barry from KnowEm, the author of #16. The tool looks for the authorship tags, specifically in the format “link rel=author href=…” Google does accept other methods, such as verifying via email, etc., but we only look for those specific tags. If you could let me know the URL of your site and I’ll take a look to see if there’s some reason we’re not picking up your tags.

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  • AmandahBlackwell

    Barry, thanks for checking!

  • Hi there Barry!

    Thanks for the reply. I tried these 2 blog posts on KnowEm:

    I didn’t use the email verification method, since I’ve been using the rel=”author” tag and the SDTT still says authorship is working on both links.


  • Barry Wise

    Hi Alice;
    Thanks for sharing – I was able to look into it further and it looks like we have to expand our code checker. We were looking for rel=author href=xxx, and your code has the rel=author after the href. I know it’s a silly syntax error on our part, we’ll get it sorted!

    But I did notice you have ?rel=author after your URL and rel=author in the a tag markup. You don’t need the ?rel=author, for this tag it’s redundant (but of course, that’s just a silly syntax issue also, because it’s obviously working anyway!)

    Thanks again, because you pointed it out we’ll be able to fix it!

  • Christine Ellsworth

    I found a lot of GREAT information to bring to the attention of my group. Great well thought out post Debbie Hemley, Thanks!

  • What an informative article! It would really be helpful to small businesses who cannot afford to hire agencies but want to progress digitally. Nicely written.

  • Natascha Thomson

    Thanks for this great blog. Your site consistently delivers great content!

  • Hi Barry, glad it’s an easy fix! Thanks for looking into it!

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  • Very Informative and Impressive post !!

  • Woww!! It is just amazing post on social networking. Lot of stuff to read…Amazing tips. I will definitely look towards all those tips that i am missing.. Insightful Post!!

  • Incredibly rich post Debbie! Lots of great tools and tasty nuggets! Thank you.

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  • Thanks for shearing useful article…