If you have just one social media account, then you have the opportunity to create a compelling professional bio. Every social network (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc) has space for you to tell others a little about yourself. Every network has different ways to do so, but regardless of the ‘where’, you need to know the ‘why’ and ‘how’.

While this is a tremendous opportunity, writing a great professional bio is difficult. Just like personal branding, bio writing forces you to think about yourself and prioritize what’s most important about you. It’s an intimidating task to boil down your entire existence and professional life into a few lines or one paragraph that’s clear, powerful and positive.

Your professional bio may be the first experience a potential client, employee or center of influence has with you. In the research we did for Brand Aid, we found that 76% of people look up a salesperson or executive before meeting with them. What’s more interesting is the fact that 4 out of 5 people found something that changed their mind – this can be something positive or negative. With so much riding on your digital first impression, your professional bio should give people a good idea of who you are and what you represent, not just your job title and how long you’ve been there. You want the reader to feel as though they know a great deal about you and want to learn more.

Where to Start

As mentioned above, your professional bio can’t be something you just come up with on a whim. You have to have a good handle on your personal brand first. This begins with identifying a set of values and what you really stand for. This goes well beyond differentiation. You need to tell a compelling story that is appropriate and authentic. Next, it is about managing your reputation and message to reinforce those values. This is where your professional bio comes into play.

Learn From Others

The good news is, there are plenty of people out there doing a great job at personal branding, specifically when it comes to their professional bios. Look at co-workers, peers, and even celebrities to see what they are doing. Most of the best brands do a good job of not only telling who they are, but they do so with some personality built in.

Things to Avoid

  • Not utilizing the space allotted on your Blog, site, social media etc appropriately
  • Inconsistencies in message across platform
  • Outdated information
  • Mistakes in spelling and grammar
  • Not using links out to your site or other accomplishments
  • Just listing ‘stuff’

Tips for Writing a Great Professional Bio

  • Again, start with a clear personal brand which can be adapted
  • Write different bios for different places, and understand your limitations across platforms (more on this below)
  • Introduce yourself like a real person
  • Tell a compelling story
  • Think of ways to get people to read more (i.e. link to your site or work/Blogs)
  • Have a call-to-action
  • Review at least quarterly

Character Limits for Professional Bios on Social Media

  • Facebook Short Description: Limited at 155 characters
  • LinkedIn Professional Bio Length: Limited at 120 characters
  • Twitter Bio Character Limit: Limited at 160 characters
  • Pinterest Description Length: Limited at 160 characters
  • YouTube Channel Description: Your main channel description can be up to 5,000 characters in length!
  • Google+: No limits and plenty of guidance provided
  • Instagram Description Length: Limited at 150 characters

The Bottom Line?

People are searching for you, and when they find you, they will read your professional bio. Whether they remember it, and whether it makes them actually care about you, is really up to you. It’s all a matter of how well you define your personal brand and bring that to life in your professional bio.

How to Maximize LinkedIn

If you have an incomplete profile accompanied by a shadowy image representing “you” then you are not creating a positive first impression for potential clients. Not to forget the importance of your professional bio.

People want to do business with a person, not an avatar, so don’t waste the opportunity to connect. Click below to access our Free Guide to Maximizing LinkedIn.