You may have heard of Match.com – the industry leader in online dating. Millions have signed on with them in hopes of finding true love amongst the company’s vast database of others searching for the same. Not only does the company excel at connecting hearts, they also excel at implement their hidden agenda of depleting our wallets in the process.
Years ago, I signed up for Match.com. Yes, it’s true. If we all were to look back at our Match account history (don’t lie, you know you had one too), our personal profiles were key to creating a presence on Match (and, thus, finding true love). Yes, I learned a great deal from Match in those early days – things that have relevance when it comes to creating eye catching profiles and an influential presence in social media.
The Match.com School of Social Media Success:
1. Profile picture. On Match.com, the profile image is key to making a strong first impression to keep those first date invitations rolling in shortly after the initial contact. As the old saying goes, you have 10 seconds to make a great first impression.
Just as with Match.com, your profile picture on the various social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter) speaks volumes. And, hopefully, it’s saying good things, the right things.
When customizing a social media profile, upload a crisp, clean image. Avoid blurry photos or those that make your face difficult to see. Never use airbrushed or otherwise altered pictures, unless a professional has done those tweaks for you. Update the picture at least every 12 months (some say every 6 months). Let’s be honest, we all had those first dates where the girl or guy showed up shorter, heavier, or a decade older than their profile picture implied. Wait! Was that you?
As with a Match first date, your profile picture should truly represent how you look. So much so, that your social media friends could recognize you within three seconds should they meet up with you in real life.
Feel insecure about snapping a selfie?
Ask a friend to snap a picture of you doing something you love (i.e. kayaking, laughing, running, wearing a goofy hat). Let your personality come through and let it be true.
2. Profile bio. Unless your online paramour is looking for a cheap one night thrill, then he or she will want to know a little about you before meeting you for the first time. Do you enjoy piña coladas and getting caught in the rain (heh heh…I know you remember that song). Or maybe you love crafting, running, surfing, gardening, playing Skyrim (or whatever’s popular now). Whatever it is, it should appear in your online dating bio.
The same goes for social media. Tweeters, and those on other social media platforms, search for new people to follow based on the content in their bios. If you want to connect and grow your influence, you’ve got to authentically reveal yourself in your bio. You need real, engaged followers. Regardless of how much your mommy or grandmother love you, neither of them have an interest in getting on Twitter just so it can look like you have something going on. Everyone will know the truth. You don’t. Get real.
3. Engage. See someone on Twitter or Google Plus talking about something that intrigues you? Don’t follow the same MO of the Match.com wink creeper…engage in the conversation. Comment on an interesting point made in some shared content. Ask others their opinions on something that they’ve shared. Then, yes, you’ve got to put in your own two cents (Heck, it’s a lot less expensive than the Match.com wallet grab ploy). Social media is about conversation. It’s about dialogue and sharing. The act of engaging allows that to happen. Do it.
4. Authenticity rules. Like true love, influence blossoms in the fertile soil of truth. The last time I was on Match.com, my profile image featured a snapshot of me with a sports media personality. After extensive engagement, one of my Match admirers invited me out to coffee at Starbucks – or so I thought! Oh, sure, we met at Starbucks for coffee, but that had nothing to do with what he really wanted. He hoped that I would divulge the dirty details of my friendship with the sports reporter in my photo. Turns out he actually wanted a date with “The Kang of College Football”.
After about 30 minutes of playing verbal tug-of-war over topics I didn’t care to discuss, I finally offered to call said sports personality and set up a date with this guy. Clearly, he wanted to go on a date with Chuck and not me.
Don’t engage with certain people on Twitter or Facebook with an ulterior motive in mind. Do it because you want to get to know more about them and what they do. That’s called “using” a person for your own benefit and it’s not cool.
Social Media + You = Love 4 Ever
Social media engagement isn’t just a series of one-night stands. Long-term love relationships take time to develop and so do social media relationships. And, as with those first dates with Match.com members, if you’re authentic from the start, you’ll soon learn which people are worth your time and effort and which ones don’t.
Social media represents the best way to build your brand…or destroy it from the get-go. Build real relationships when you’re using social media. Share meaningful, relevant content and strike up real conversations. Keep an open mind and let your true colors fly for all to see. Oh, and (yes I’m talking to you) keep that Match.com photo up to date!