What is a ‘bio’ and why is it important?
In our world of messages that are 140 characters or less and a landscape that has our brand pages competing with hundreds of others with similar names, online platforms are placing more emphasis on being able to communicate who we are in more succinct ways. Now we can hover over icons on our browsers and see descriptions of what a page, product or brand is all about without even clicking. And on mobile screens, bios take up nearly 30% of the real estate along with our profile photos and other vital information when someone lands on our branded pages.
“Bios” are the short, succinct, “elevator-pitch” style information we provide about our product, brand, or service. They’re something most of us have been writing for years, whether it’s branding our personal pages or pages for our businesses. But when it comes to curating our brands’ online presences, we must give our bios a little more consideration. Our bios on social media tell users who we are and must be attention-getting in order to be effective. What do we want the reader to know about our product or service? What do we want them to do upon first impression? How can we communicate these things and our personality in 140 characters or less?
First Impressions are Everything
The number one health indicator of social media communities is the size of the following audience. If users find us interesting, they will follow us. Sometimes they already know about our brand and will follow us if we produce valuable content. But these days, with most people having already built robust communities of people and brands that they connect with on social media, we are mostly competing for attention from people that don’t already know who we are or what we do.
One important application that goes far beyond the profile page itself is that search engines like Google and other internet resources like OpenTable use the information displayed in your bio to populate their own sites. Maintaining an effective bio helps ensure that your brand is presented accurately elsewhere.
It’s important to develop brand “buzzwords” with your brand manager for you to use on social media. Your bio should clearly describe what you offer and where you are. The example below shows consistency among social media platforms and search results. The buzzwords in order of importance are “Brasserie” “American” “NYC” “Local Purveyors” and “Bistro.”
What action should the user take?
So now we have their attention. Along with a great-looking and consistent profile photo, a user has read a description of who we are. Hopefully they have followed us. But we can also use our bios in interesting ways to encourage further action, like make a restaurant reservation, recommend our page to their friends, link to a landing page, or participate in a hashtag campaign (user-generated content).
It’s important to consider that some platforms allow us to have longer bios than others, so it’s good to have a version prepared for longer formats as well as a 140-character or less version. By adding in your brand’s personality, users are able to quickly relate and are more likely to follow and remember you (see below).
At any rate, it is vital to offer a user a way to contact you in or near your bio. If a platform doesn’t allow you to list your website or other contact information in another field, then it is important to include a shortened link in the bio that leads users to contact information, a landing page, or some sort of other action or social media (like making a reservation, for example).
What’s the big idea?
Your bio needs to be attention-getting, short, consistent, and memorable. If it meets those criteria, people will follow you, recommend your page by tagging you, and be able to find you later.
Big Idea is a fully-integrated boutique advertising and marketing agency in New York City. We help companies find a brand voice that resonates with consumers for attention-getting creative that delivers real results.