Does Your Social Media Profile SUCK?

OK so maybe that title is a bit harsh — but let’s just be honest with each other, since we’re both vegans and care about this issue a lot…

…so are your pages and the way you present yourself and this message — on your blog, your website, social media profiles, various forums and discussions — actually helping or hurting this cause…?

I’ve been involved in online marketing for quite some time now and during that time I’ve seen my share of bad pages – from plain boring and ugly, to downright scary. Admittedly the technology today makes building beautiful pages much easier than it used to be – gone are the days of animated GIFs and hard to navigate Flash sites. However, this doesn’t mean that the Internet is all peachy now, or even that it’s all about the looks. I do realize that the page doesn’t have to be pretty to be useful or effective. However, for the most part, just as in the real life, the looks affect the perception and first impressions do count. So, when I land on such page, I may stick around if I’m really committed and interested in the topic, but usually I hit the back button and never return.

Since I became vegan three years ago, I’ve been following many vegans, and I have to say some of the profiles and pages are amazing, some are okay – and some are downright creepy. And I know that that’s the nature of the beast – that there just are a lot of awful and scary web pages and social profiles out there just because everybody can set up a page on whatever topic their choose and put whatever content they please – and usually I could care less – but in this case I DO care and I feel I cannot just move on and ignore it, because if it’s a vegan with a passion trying to deliver this message– but failing– then an opportunity is wasted – which means one fewer person being an effective advocate for the animals.

So, while there are many vegan profiles and pages that are AWESOME, it really pains me to see that there are many that even if they show promise, don’t live to their full potential; not to mention those that SUCK BIG TIME, sad and ignored on the fringes of the cyberspace, with no followers, no engagement, except maybe a few other vegans, which really makes me SAD…because….

To make this message heard, to attract more people, to make everyone excited…

…we need more vegans being effective and crushing it online (and offline, but online is more of my specialty)…

Or in other words…we need more of the AWESOME!

With more people following, learning, engaging, and interacting.

… and ultimately going plant-based or vegan, and becoming advocates for the animals as well.

While I’m not delusional and I know that we cannot convince everyone – some people just don’t want to listen , I do believe that we could be reaching more people who WANT to hear this message, who are READY to make this change, they just need a little nudge and encouragement – and I know because just a few years ago I used to be one of them.

(you can read more about me and how it happened HERE which included, SPOILER ALERT, someone very close to me actually comparing vegans to FASCISTS.)

I think about this issue all the time — let’s face it, it’s impossible to forget about it for even a split second, with all the messaging, advertising, and mainstream culture reminding it about it ALL THE TIME, and I feel an obligation to speak up. Coming from the online marketing background – since I’ve been doing it for over 8 years now, I feel this is where I could make a difference. So, I thought I’d create this resource to make it easier for people – to help go from mediocre or bad to awesome – so that were reaching more people in less time, and ultimately making a bigger impact.

Please don’t feel offended by my critique – I’m really trying to help.

I don’t want to make this into some kind of formal social media marketing or web design course. I know that you don’t have time for that and you don’t need that.

However, since I see so many vegans ALREADY spending time and making an effort, creating pages and posting updates –why not make this effort pay off in bigger following, engagement, and ultimately – conversations and conversions?

And the best part is that, with the tools that are out there today it doesn’t have to take a lot of time effort. Here is how…

Okay, so after that convoluted explanation, let’s get to it and identify what you should do in order to promote this message so that it actually gets noticed, registered, and heard by as many people as possible.

And it all starts with creating an online presence of some sorts – a website, a blog, a social media profile, Youtube channel, etc. Here are some things to pay attention to:

Ok so maybe that headline was a bit harsh — but let’s just be honest with each other…

Your Facebook Page sucks.

I’m not saying you suck personally, don’t confuse things here.

I’m just saying that most people marketing their business on Facebook are doing a poor job with their pages.

And they need a wake-up call!

2 Reasons Your Social Media Page Sucks

I could probably list 100 items here — but I’m going to keep it simple and list the Top 3 reasons your page may suck.

>> 1. Your Cover Photo or Profile Photo Sucks (or Both)

This may seem trivial to you — but it’s just too important to ignore.

Your cover photo, profile picture, and/or avatar are the first thing people see on your page or profile — and the image potential fans see in “Like Stories” about your page (in the news feed) or when your tweet gets re-tweeted in their Twitter feed.

Nobody wants to interact with a cartoon character or a robot or a weirdo. (And I know that you are none of those things….)

So…before you use an image of a skeleton sitting on a couch, with a background of veggies — I swear it’s a real profile of obviously I’m talking about here – which clearly indicates to my subconscious mind what happens to people who eat plants – …which makes me want to be cautious – and go back to reading all the good advice from the folks, who advocate that we go back to eating like we’re still living in caves — except maybe with a wifi, microwave and Cable with 100 channels…– and I’m just kidding here, … a bit… (and I love you Vegan Skeleton Twitter — I cannot find the link to the profile now, but I’ll post it when I do). 

Whether you’re posting on your personal pages, or pages that you’ve created for an organization, cause, website, or business – make sure it’s presentable, and better yet, show that there’s a human behind it. Most people like to connect to a person, not a cartoon character, a logo or some stock image. Or a photo of your cat. Or dog. (And I do love cats and dogs! – I just recently adopted an 8-year-old dog from a shelter who spent almost his entire life there – and I feel like posting photos about him all the time!).

I recently joined a ‘Vegan Friend Me” community on Facebook and hanging out on Twitter a lot – and I was SUPER HONORED AND EXCITED to invite all these vegans to become my friends online (– and I did!) – but I felt puzzled when looking at some of the profiles – not sure what to make of them, or feeling overwhelmed or otherwise uneasy–and if I feel that way – and I’m vegan – then imagine what non-vegans feel! It’s the same on Twitter and other social media.

So my first piece of advice is to be real – and it starts with actually showing people your face. Don’t underestimate the importance of having a good avatar or profile photo. We constantly need to be reminded that there is a real human being behind the screen. An avatar of yourself instead of a cartoon character (or no picture /avatar at all) will result in more re-tweets. A good avatar builds rapport as well as trust and credibility, as people will remember you for what you look like. We need visuals to remember people by. Having an avatar of yourself will also get more followers than any other avatar you choose. When people re-tweet your tweet, or share your posts on Facebook, those people’s audiences also get to see your avatar. Many people will not follow you if you don’t have an avatar. Never be afraid to show a picture of yourself for your avatar.

So, fortheloveofanimals, include a decent picture of yourself on your profile, as well as some basic facts about you. It doesn’t have to be in-depth, or anything overly personal, just something revealing your personality a bit. If you’re on Facebook or Instagram, share some photos from your life, doesn’t have to be anything too private, just something that will act as a reminder that there’s a human being behind all these posts.

Here are some free resources for you regarding cover photo best practices for Facebook:

>> 2. Your Content Sucks

Are your pages full of gory pictures and videos? Depressing statistics? Negativity? 

As someone who is deeply passionate about this issue — I understand your intentions. But let’s try to look at it from a point of view of a person who is new to this. Shock therapy sometimes works, but most people need a little gentler approach. They need to get to know you and feel a connection FIRST, before they trust you enough to even consider your point of view or be INFLUENCED BY YOU. 

As much as you want everyone to listen to your message – and as a vegan I do know the importance of sharing it with as many people as you can and as many as will listen – that’s the key here, they have to WANT TO LISTEN!

If they block you from their feed because they think you’re being obnoxious – this may be okay by you, and is no reason for despair, as you surely cannot be friends with everyone — even if it’s ‘virtual friendship’ we’re talking about here – but isn’t it worth asking whether you’re not limiting your reach by the way you present yourself and this message?

If they block you from their feed or never connect with you — that’s a lost opportunity to talk to someone and influence them.

Which means don’t be just one-dimensional and predictable. Don’t post about the same thing all the time. Surprise and engage people on different subjects, including current events, trending topics, your personal stories, experiences, etc. Mix up your content. Post text, photos, and videos on various topics.

On Facebook the more often one person connects with your content will determine how often they see your content. This may seem obvious, but remember that Facebook’s ultimate goal is to keep as many people as possible glued to the social network for as long as possible. If your posts keep people engaged, as measured by likes, comments, shares and time on screen, the social network will reward you with further reach.

Unless you have a magic touch and can engage people in discussions about veganism on your pages, like for example, prof. Gary Francione, this usually means posting on a variety of topics, not just veganism and animals – because being one-dimensional and just talking about this one topic all the time — it will turn most people off. As much as it pains me, this is the reality we have to deal with. If we want to attract new people to this message, it means casting a wide net, which means we have to stop preaching to a choir of fellow vegans.

As much as it pains me, the reality is that being one-dimensional and just talking about this one topic all the time — it will turn most people off. 

If we want to attract NEW people to this message, it means casting a wide net, which means we have to STOP JUST PREACHING TO A CHOIR of fellow vegans.

If you fill your page with posts that no one likes or comments on – even if the topic is VEGANISM, which both you and I know is one of the most important messages of all time (if not THE most important); it doesn’t change the fact that most people don’t want to hear it, are not ready to hear it — at least not all the time – so you need to be a little more strategic about it.

On a practical level, it means that you should be sharing all kinds of content on topics that you (and your audience (friends, fans, followers) find interesting. As much as you may feel consumed by the desire to educate and convert, you won’t be very effective unless people actually want to interact with you. Which means sharing some content that actually interests THEM. Find topics that you enjoy and start sharing and engaging with people. Then they’ll more likely be receptive to your message.

It doesn’t mean you have to come up with all the content yourself. Share articles, images, and videos that will keep your friends and followers coming back for more.

It also doesn’t mean that you have to try to please EVERYONE or that EVERYONE needs to be your friend online. Just find your TRIBE and create a COMMUNITY of people who share your interests and values.

I have much more to say on this topic, but this post is already getting too long – so let’s stop here …for now.

Awake Now?

I hope this wake-up call worked.

Remember….

There are people who are waiting to hear this message FROM YOU. By the virtue of being you, having your experiences, your talents, your gifts, your skills, your background, your story – you are uniquely qualified to deliver this message in a certain way, reaching a certain group of people. That message may resonate with them only when they hear it from YOU.

You can make this message heard – show up online (and in real life) in a way that SUITS YOU, is based on WHO YOU ARE – and you’ll be much more effective when you’re being authentic, than when you’re pretending or hiding.

So don’t conform to just what everybody else is doing online. There are many ways to making this message heard – most of which haven’t been invented yet.

What’s your flavor? What’s your style? And who are the type of people you’d love to hang out with? Who do you click with?

When people are finding similarities – it makes it easier to develop rapport – and ultimately, influence.

It all starts with not sucking!

So, keep posting, keep sharing…

If not now, then when?

If not you, then who?

Best,

Joanna

 

PS. Join my Social Media Influencer Circle and receive some cool stuff including: The VEGAN Social Media Swipe File, My top tools for social media automation (so that you spend less time glued to the computer or phone, and more time talking to people and helping the animals), as well as the selected chapters from my new Social Media Influencer ebook and email course, in which I outline the strategy for creating awesome pages and attracting huge following on social media.

Click HERE or the image below and sign up RIGHT NOW! There is no time like the present, and no time to waste:

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PPS. Let me know in the comments what you think — does your page SUCK? Or does this post SUCK? Perhaps you do the things that I criticize here, and it’s working for you fantastically — you have a great following and are making a difference — let me know by posting a link to your profile –I’d like to see it and feature it on my blog!