One of the most embarrassing moments of my life was at Zik’s Flat Hostel in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I was a fresher who had troubles keeping up with life on campus. I was bad with time management, since I had no one to monitor me. The environment was entirely different from where I had come from- a military boarding school. I had finally gotten the freedom I needed, so I cared less about certain things. Housekeeping was one of them.
One Saturday evening, I received a male visitor in my hall. He came in unannounced because I had given him my room number two weeks before. He tapped on the door and called out his name.
I quickly changed into my clothes, folded my wrapper and dressed my bed. I asked him to come in and take a chair whilst I checked my cupboard for biscuits to serve him.
‘For which seat I go siddon sef [On which seat would I seat]?’ Emeka inquired. I got confused. Each room in Zik’s Flat had just one seat. I looked in its direction to be sure no one had stolen it.
What? My unwashed underwears were displayed on the seat! This was something I would have avoided; I did not pay attention.
You know, I am left to ponder on people who have apartments on social media. They leave their houses dirty with their unwashed underwears flying about the whole house.
I woke up, the other day, to Facebook friend request from a faceless Wiz Khalifa who has not up to fifty friends on Facebook, works at Self Employed, schools in Nigeria and lives in Owerri. This Wiz Khalifa must be blessed with the gift of bilocation!
We must understand that since we cannot hang out physically with over 5000 friends in real life, our identity is still important. Clumsy social media timelines gives the impression of someone who is unorganized. A good/professional social media profile must pay attention to the following details:
Names should be written in full. This is the proof of originality. Stage names and nicknames have their second place in our profiles and pages. It should not take the space of your full names. The key to being professional is to first be yourself. No one wants to deal with a Wiz Khalifa that lives in Owerri. It sounds like fraud! Your timeline is your space, you have got to own it!
Your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram usernames should tally. If Jennifer has @jenny_baby, @jenniebaby and @jennybaby1990 on these three platforms respectively, she would hinder her online visibility. Make it easy for others to find you with usernames that are easy to spell out, pronounce and remember. Sometimes, the username of your choice would have been chosen by someone else; be creative enough to look for something unique. Personally, @iamchidindu, is my username across these three handles. I did not get there overnight; I had to keep trying out better options until I landed on this.
A compelling bio says a lot about you. It should briefly tell your own unique story. Avoid certain clichés like ‘Cool, calm and collected’, ‘I am fun to be with’. Tell us who you are, what you really do in an exciting way. Target it to attract your ideal followers. Include your accomplishments. Humanize your bio. People love stories that are human, not perfect.
Your timeline is your apartment. You do not want visitors coming into a dirty place with indecent pictures and tags from all sorts of people and events on your timeline. If you say you are a professional in a particular industry, we expect to see that on your timeline. Your timeline is your space, not a dustbin. Change your tag settings. Privacy settings are also keys to targeting the right audience on your social profile.
However, resist the urge to keep everything private. You cannot send a friend request with a timeline that is locked up like a security department. You will give others the impression that you are an unfriendly and highly secretive person.
What type of content do you put up on your timeline? What is your aim on social media? To make noise or mimic people? To gossip or bear tales? Your essence on social media is to impact value. That is why it is an online community. The only difference between social media and real life communities is that you can address a higher number of audiences online. The quality of your content and the value you offer should not depreciate.
Your online activities should create lasting impressions in the minds of your followers. It should make your audience see you as an authority in your field. You cannot be a motivational speaker who keeps complaining about will of your life’s situations on social media.
Links and Promos
Each profile on any online social platform has a link. This web address sends someone directly to your own timeline. It will help prospects access you without much delays. This is an easier way to increase visibility as it saves the time required to navigate through the profiles of other people who bear similar names with you.
Also, promote yourself across your platforms. Add the links to your other social media accounts; include the links to your website.
Avoid use of blurred pictures with colour-rioting backgrounds by visiting a professional photographer. They are there to give you pictures of high quality. A good headshot with a confident pose makes attracts attention. No one wants to deal with one who is not confident enough to put a face to what they do. Avoid using pictures of animals, or things or places as your profile picture. This is your online passport.
Your timeline is a place to discuss the things that interest you. However do not just talk, listen. Make friends, build relationships, connect and engage with people of like minds. Join groups that will make the best out of your current state. Contribute, answer questions and ask where necessary. Soon you are on your way to building visibility, influence and profits.