A few weeks back I talked about how to summarize your idea in both 30 and 60 seconds. This time? It’s all about how to summarize yourself in 30 or 60 seconds or in the word-count equivalent (150ish words or fewer).
One of the places you need to do that? Social bios. LinkedIn. Twitter. Instagram. You know the drill. All of those places give you a teensy-weensy space to summarize yourself. In some of those spaces, how well you summarize yourself can be the difference between someone exploring your profile further and moving quickly on.
If that summary works well? Then your odds of “making the cut”—for people to meet with, interview, fund, etc.—get just that much better.
So how do you summarize yourself in a social bio for business? Well, a lot of things I’ve written about before still apply. Just like when you’re summarizing your idea in 30 seconds, you want to fulfill that “irresistible equation” of:
DESIRED + DIFFERENT
“Desired” helps people know you have what they want. “Different” helps you stand out.
To see how that can work in a social bio, watch the latest episode of “What’s Missing From This Message?”. You’ll see how I take Glenn Hansen’s “About” section of his LinkedIn profile and rework it to help fit that irresistible equation even better.
In Glenn’s case, making his message stronger was mostly a simple matter of switching the order of his points—something you can check for in your own social bio. The very natural instinct in a bio like that is to start with who you are and what you care about, and then apply that to what you do. But remember that relevance is always the first test your message needs to pass because relevance keeps attention.
That’s why I believe your business-focused bios should always start with some aspect of what you do that your audience already cares about. Some problem you solve. Some outcome you provide.
Once you’ve established that, then you can expand on how you do that in a way that sets you apart. And frankly, since so many people skip that first step of “desired” in their bios, by making sure your bio is relevant first, you’ll likely stand out for that reason alone. Any “different” aspects about yourself you add after that just make you that much more remarkable. (Win!)
Your “About” bio is often the first thing people read about you. When it contains both what’s desired and different, it surely won’t be the last.By making sure your bio relevant first, you'll likely stand out for that reason alone. Click To Tweet
Please note that many of the links are affiliate links, which means if you buy a thing I link to, I get a percentage of the cost, and then donate it to charity.
How can you make your social profile bios even stronger? That’s what we’re talking about on this episode of What’s Missing From This Message. This week, we are talking about a LinkedIn about section on Glenn Hansen’s LinkedIn profile. Glenn Hansen runs a company called Hansen House Content, and he wanted me to take a look at his LinkedIn profile. What’s interesting here is that you can do a lot in a very small amount of space. So let’s take a closer look at what Glenn has to say about himself. All right. So this is going to be short and sweet because if we look at this about content, it’s short and sweet. It says, I ask a lot of questions. This curiosity helps me write, photograph, and share stories about businesses and business owners. I design communication strategies that create and deliver content to solve business problems. That’s what I mean when I talk about content marketing, and then he gives a list of tools that he brings to his work. So lots of great stuff, writing and editing, photography, video production, all of this.
Okay. If you’ve been following along with other episodes of What’s Missing From This Message, you know that in something this short, I’m really looking for two things to make it as strong as possible. One, how do you give me something that I want? And second, how do you do it in a way I don’t expect? Now the implication of all that is that you’re going to start with something that I, the reader, am interested in. So if we take a look at Glenn’s about section, let’s put it through that test. Does it start with something that I want? Well, his first line here is, I ask a lot of questions. Now, if I want somebody who asks a lot of questions, that’s great. Let me be clear, I really like what Glenn is saying about himself, but generally I’m going to suggest that he needs to flip the order of things a little bit so that you, in kind of human psychology form, you start talking about me before you start talking about you.
I know that that seems kind of bananas on an about section because it’s supposed to be about you, but really particularly, we’re talking about LinkedIn. It’s still all about me, the reader. So the questions piece is good, but I want to put a pin in that and hold it for a little bit later. So let’s keep reading. This curiosity helps me write, photograph, and share stories about businesses and business owners. Now, this gets closer, particularly the second half of that sentence, helps me write, photograph, and share stories about businesses and business owners, but it’s still, I would say, a little bit flipped here, right? Because what I want as a potential reader, who’s a business or a business owner is if I want to share stories, that’s what I want to see first. Then I’m going to be more interested in how you do that.
So again, let’s put a pin in the curiosity, write, photograph, and share piece or the write and photograph piece, at least, put a pin in that, and let’s keep our minds on this share stories about businesses and business owners, because so far that’s the first thing that really speaks to me, the reader, as something that I want. Now let’s keep reading. I design communication strategies. Oh, okay. Well, that’s even closer now to something that I might be looking for, because I may want to share stories, but why am I looking to share stories? Because probably on my KPI for my quarter is that I need to design a communication strategy. See, now we’re getting even closer to what I, as a reader, actually want, which is a communication strategy. Then as he goes on to say, then he creates and delivers content to solve business problems. Okay. This is a really good sentence. I would actually recommend that this whole sentence as written goes first.
So the first thing that I hear, I see, when I read about Glenn is that he designs communication strategies, then he creates and delivers content to solve business problems because ding, ding, ding, that gives me something that I want, communication strategies, with my larger reason I’m doing that. Oh, I need to design this communication strategy because we’ve got this business problem. If Glenn is leading right out of the gate with, I design communication strategies that solve business problems, I’m like, “well, hot diggity. Glenn, you’re my guy.” So I also like the inclusion there of create and deliver content to solve business problems. So honestly, if Glenn put nothing else in his about page section here on LinkedIn, other than this one sentence, he’d already be doing really, really well. Then the last sentence here, just to keep going is, that’s what I mean when I talk about content marketing. Okay, where did the content marketing come from? I get it. It’s key word. People might be going, “Who talks about content marketing?” But I would suggest that Glenn either leads with content marketing.
I’m a content marketer, period. I design communication strategies then create and deliver content to solve business problems, period. Then you know what? Then we know that’s how you talk about content marketing, because you’ve just defined it. I don’t know that that’s necessary, but I’m not an LinkedIn SEO expert, but that’s how I would take those two sentences and change them. So I’m a content marketer, I design communication strategies, and create and deliver content to solve business problems. Now, if you’ve heard me talk about this before, at the very least, that makes what he does now much, much more relevant than leading with, I ask a lot of questions, I’m curious, and I do all this other stuff. So that’s why I say if he only did one sentence or two, one sentence, you do the, I design communication strategies. If it’s two, lead with I’m a content marketer, then follow with the design communication strategies. Both of those things together, answer that question, does this person have the thing that I want? Does this person do the thing that I want?
Now, remember I said, there was always two things I’m looking for when something’s this short and that is, does it give me something that I want? So we’ve solved that now, but the second thing is, does it do it in a way that I don’t expect? Now, on your about section, that’s your opportunity to start to break out a little bit and to give a little bit of differentiation about yourself, even in a space this short. With Glenn, I think there’s some clues in these parts that we put a pin in, right? So this curiosity piece, this write, photograph, and share stories piece, because those three things, curiosity, well, the curiosity, the write, photograph, the share, those things start to give me some clues that Glenn may not be my average picture of a content marketer.
So with the first two sentences, as I suggested, I’m a content marketer, I design communication strategies, then create and deliver content to solve business problems, I’m kind of confirming my own understanding or just making sure that Glenn and I are on the same page when we talk about what we’re looking at, when we’re talking about content marketing. Now the issue is of course, that lots of people could say that same thing. So we want to add in that something that people don’t expect on that second piece, right? Something that’s unfamiliar, unconventional, a little bit different. Now, for this, I don’t know precisely yet how to solve this, but there’s something really interesting to me about Glenn with how much he does around content marketing. For this, I’m going to look at that list of tools because the writing and editing, I would expect that.
The second two things, the next two things though, those are not necessarily common things in your average content marketer, where you’ve got the photography piece and the video production piece. So it’s those things, and particularly in his second sentence as written, where he says, write, photograph, and share stories, I start to get really interested about what could Glenn say about how he designs communication strategies to create and deliver content that really take advantage of this almost world-building, that’s possible if he writes and photographs and shares stories. So I would want more conversation with Glenn to help him really figure out how do we frame that in a way, how is it that you see the world that applies to your communication strategies? So basically you would say something like, I’m a content marketer. I design communication strategies, then create and deliver content to solve business problems. I do that by, would be a way to including that by writing, photographing, and sharing the stories about businesses and business owners that, now give me some elements of your point of view Glenn because you must have one.
As clearly a very creative, oriented person, meaning writing and photography, I want to hear more about that. Not just that you write and photograph, but why do you do that? How does that affect what you do? Now, if you had a little bit more clarity on that, then it is possible that you could even bring that into that summary statement thing that I was talking about before, where instead of just saying, I design communication strategies to create and deliver content to solve business problems, it’s that it’s that middle phrase that, then create and deliver content, that you could potentially swap out with something that’s even more differentiating. I design communication strategies that use written and visual storytelling to create the stories that allow people to see the solutions to their business problems that they can’t see themselves right now. I don’t know. That’s just me talking off the top of my head, but do you see where I’m trying to get there?
I want to bring a little bit more of Glenn’s point of view into that summary sentence, because I think even in as little tiny bit. On purpose, I’m not showing you the rest of his account and other stuff, because a lot of times this is the only thing we’re looking at, right? We’re just looking at this piece that allows us to really get a sense of what somebody is, who they are, do they do what I want them to do, and do they do it in a way that I’m intrigued enough to reach out, find out more, et cetera? All in all, there is not much missing from Glenn’s message at all. That’s pretty impressive given how short an about section or your social profile bio needs to be.
But you can do a lot in a little bit of space and, in Glenn’s case, that means just flipping the order of some of the information he’s got there and giving us just a little bit more of an insight into how he sees the world. Those are things that you can do with your social profiles as well. So think about how can you describe what you give to other people that’s what they’re looking for right now and how do you do it in a way that’s different and distinct to you? I’m Tamsen Webster of tamsenwebster.com. If you want me to take a look at your message, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you may just see it on a future episode of What’s Missing From This Message.
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