Why a Personal Social Media Presence Is a Must-Have If You’re Starting a Business
A lot of mid-career professionals come to us looking to start a business after years or decades in a highly successful corporate career.
While the vast majority of these folks have skills they need to be highly successful in their new chosen paths, I see many of them coming in without the single most crucial aspect you need to go at it on your own: a social media presence.
It’s sad but true: zero social media presence means that, to the internet, YOU DON’T EXIST.
And to potential clients, neither will your business. Social media activity and google-ability is one of the first steps to establishing trust. Would you trust a life coach with no LinkedIn profile or no presence on Facebook? Not even a personal page? A contractor with no presence on the internet whatsoever? Nope. And since people can easily tell if you just set up a page yesterday, it’s something you need to get a head start on to reap the benefits.
But it’s not too late to get started
So what if you find yourself amongst the group I’m calling out above? It’s not too late.
Set your social media up NOW!
Making these crucial (and public) social connections establishes you as a trustworthy person, not a shady grifter (See: Imposters, Dirty John, Ozark) or someone who doesn’t know how to connect with people. You’re cultivating a human aspect with your social media presence, even though it’s a digital platform.
Start getting comfortable with the idea of putting yourself out there.
You’ve got this! You don’t have to share a ton of selfies or photos of your family, or even give a bunch of details about your personal life. In fact, if you have a headshot and a bio, you have everything you need to start building a meaningful and business-propelling social media presence. Start with LinkedIn, then tackle Facebook, and you’ll be well on your way.
FIRST: Set up a LinkedIn profile
1. Add a photo.
Make it semi-professional—not a photo of you out drinking or a vacation selfie.
2. Add some career history.
This doesn’t need to be an exhaustive list of jobs dating back to when you graduated high school. Just add two or three recent positions, any professional groups you may have participated in, or volunteer work you’ve done recently. That’s plenty to start with.
3. Start connecting with people you know or have worked with in the past.
Friends and family are fine. If you have less than 500 connections, LinkedIn will show exactly how many you have… and it’s going to look weird if that number is 3. But there should be a good amount of people who want to connect with you on LinkedIn, even if it’s not over 500. Around 100 feels like a safe number.
If you’re not there yet, focus on building your network at in-person events in your local community or industry specific online events. Do not send LinkedIn connection requests to total strangers.
4. Add some posts.
LinkedIn is like other social networking sites in that you can add posts that will show up in other people’s feeds. But did you know that LinkedIn is even more effective at sharing your professional content than the other platforms? Posts here have better reach as they’re shared with not just your contacts, but also the contacts of anyone that engages with your content.
NEXT: Set up a Facebook account
I hear the grumbling already! But hear me out. Just because you need to set up a Facebook account doesn’t mean that you have to “be on” Facebook. You’re going to need a personal account in order to set up a Facebook business page, so you might as well go ahead and rip the Band-Aid off!
1. Add a photo.
This can be a more fun photo than the one you used for LinkedIn, but keep it family-friendly.
2. Add a header image.
Make it personal if you want, but not too generic. A picture of the beach or a waterfall from a trip is totally fine for this platform. And it doesn’t have to be a family photo, even if your family is extremely important to you.
3. Add some posts.
I would recommend adding a few public posts so that people can get a feel for you when they google you. If you’re a financial planner, maybe that’s an article you shared with some interesting tips on tax planning. Or if you’re a contractor, it could be a post about the latest bathroom remodel trends you’re excited about. Or share your own work! Even if you haven’t set up a Facebook business page yet, you can still share your own work there!
You can really lock down the privacy settings on Facebook—and it’s totally ok (and a good idea) to do so. You can set your preferences so that a random person reaching your profile from Google doesn’t see your list of friends or any other personal info you don’t want shared. Choose what YOU are comfortable with. Their security review will walk you through all the steps.
In the current iteration of Facebook, if you navigate to your profile and click the eyeball icon, you can view your profile exactly how a random internet user who isn’t your Facebook friend would see it. That makes it easy to make sure you’re not showing anything you want to keep private.
You did it!
Now that wasn’t too bad, was it? Eventually, you’ll also want to set up a Facebook business page, but that’s a story for another day. For now, you’ve cleared the first two hurdles in your race to build the kind of social media presence that will help you launch your business!
You don’t have to stream on Twitch or be TikTok famous—you just have to establish yourself as a human being who exists in the modern world. And that’s the first step to getting clients to trust you with their precious time and money.
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