Less carbohydrates? Check. More exercise? Check. Now for the really important stuff: upping your social-media game. Social media–whether Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Instagram—is here to stay and will remain important to enhancing your personal and professional relationships. Here are 7 things you can do to improve your social-media-facing face:
- Fix your avatar. Your avatar is the first thing that people judge. It should be your face, in focus, lit from the front, and asymmetrical. Don’t crop your face from a large, crappy cell phone picture. The purpose of an avatar is to convince people that you are likable, trustworthy, and competent. Don’t try to tell your life story with it.
- Update your bio. The second thing people look at to determine if you’re worth taking seriously is your bio. Is yours up to date and complete? This is the place to tell your life story. The more information that you provide, the more ways there are for people to connect with you. Your bio on social-media sites is just as important as your LinkedIn profile—hopefully you realize how important your LinkedIn profile is too.
- Add a photo or video to every post. You can double the effectiveness of your posts by including a picture or video. In the valley of text, the post with graphics is king. This may add a few minutes of effort, but no single action can make your posts better than adding some eye candy to every post. Power tip: you can add up to four pictures to a tweet.
- Master your camera. This is a corollary to the previous resolution. The camera in your phone is better than most cameras used by professional photographers until a few years ago. Here are some simple principles to observe to taking better pictures: turn your camera sidewards so that your pictures are more wide than tall; ensure that the source of light is in front of your subject, not behind it; get closer to your subjects—pictures of people do not need to capture them from head to toe, chest-up is good enough; shoot asymmetrical pictures (“rule of thirds”) because they are most interesting than positioning everything/everyone smack dab in the middle.
- Use a scheduling service (for example, Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout). Since we added effort by requiring photos and videos in posts, let us remove some now. These services enable you to write one post and share them on multiple services such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also schedule your posts for ideal times based on where your audience lives and their social-media consumption habits. (Disclosure: Guy advises Buffer.)
- Share at least one post per day. Think of social media as flossing but with greater benefits: enhanced relationships, greater visibility, and, seriously, fun. These goals are imminently achievable, but they require consistent effort over the course of several months to see results. You’ll have to stand by the side of a river a long time before a roast duck or social-media goodness flies into your mouth. Very few people post too much good stuff.
- Take the high road. This is the toughest resolution of them all. It’s not only hard to “win” online arguments, it’s also hard to prove that they are worth winning. The most important people in arguments are not the ones you’re taking on. The most important people are the ones who are watching your reaction, so take the high road and stay positive. If you can’t stay positive, then simply ignore the bozos, haters, and psychopaths. When it comes to social media, ignoring is bliss.
If you can stick with these power tips and resolutions, you’ll awesome-ize your social-media presences, and we promise that good things will happen. And by mid-2015, you’ll be thinner, healthier, and more popular. Than ever.
Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick are the co-authors of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users.