As a media professional, I do a lot of research online. I am always amazed at how many businesses and professionals tell you little or nothing about who they are. Their “about” sections are a wasteland. Their social media feeds are virtually empty or filled with generic chatter. They say first impressions are everything, and the first impression I get is of a one-dimensional faceless paper doll, the type you made with those blunt scissors when you were five years old – not one of those beautiful Victorian collectables. If I’m researching to personally purchase a product or service, I move on to the next link.

This was driven home to me the other day when I received a Facebook “friend” request from someone I didn’t know. I went to her Facebook page to check her out. There was nothing personal in her feed that might give me a clue as to who she was. Her “about” section told me she was self-employed, a University of New Mexico graduate who lives in Santa Fe and her birthday and political party affiliation. Not even a photo so I have a face to relate to. We had some mutual friends, but since many people automatically say yes to friend requests if there is at least one mutual friend, I take those with a grain of salt.

It occurred to me I could probably learn more about a cartoon character on Facebook than I did about this woman. Just for the fun of it, I decided to check it out by searching for Shrek’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Shrek/). If I knew nothing about Shrek, I would have an immediate sense of who he is just by looking at his profile photo. Granted, Shrek’s “about” page is as sorely lacking as most of them, just a little basic information about the movie (DreamWorks, I would love to write this bio for you.). But Shrek’s feed more than compensates for this. The first thing I saw was an image of Shrek in his “costume,” pointing out the various parts for Shrek wanna be’s. There were video clips of Shrek’s pet peeves, his friends, his adventures. You could land on this page totally ignorant of who Shrek is and walk away feeling you know him.

Of course, those clips are for marketing, enticing you to go see/rent/buy the movie. But that is what your social media or web page should be doing for you – enticing people to visit your business or use your services.

So don’t be shown up by a fictional character. Use that “about” section to tell visitors what makes your business unique or what sets you apart from other service professionals. Don’t just post random tidbits on your feed or go to the other extreme of always hard selling your product. Your posts should give insights into who you are or what your business is about. Share a bit of expertise you have or a behind the scenes look at what you do. Personalize your feed so potential clients feel they can relate to you. No, I don’t want to know what you had for dinner or about the disagreement you had with your significant other. But is a nonprofit you believe in having an event? Did you see an exhibit or hear a local band that you can’t wait to tell your friends about? Did you run across something that made you laugh or an inspirational quote that brightened your day? Sharing those things can help to build a personal connection between you and your potential customers that will make them more inclined to use your services. (One word of warning: humor can be touchy, so think about how your potential client might respond before you post.)

I know from experience how difficult it can be to #market yourself or your business (see Tackling the Issue: Who Am I?). If you need help with that, contact me for a free consultation at arinmckenna@arinmckenna.com. I would love to help you market your distinctive story.

@2019 Arin McKenna. All Rights reserved