May 14, 2022

Most Social Profiles Aren't Very Good. Here's How to Fix Yours.

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In order to grow a meaningful audience online, it's critical that you give people a reason to follow you.

I've spent the last 3 years growing past 315,000 social media followers on Twitter and LinkedIn. At the same time, I've watched other people write content every single day and struggle.

One of the main reasons is that they don't make a compelling case for why someone should follow them. What a wasted opportunity.

There is no objectively "right" way to design your social profiles, but I want to share how I think about it.

Here's my 4-step checklist below to make sure you're giving your readers a reason to hit the "follow" button.

Let's dive in.

Use your banner real estate wisely

The very first thing people see when they hit your Twitter or LinkedIn profile is your "banner" image.

Because it's such a large piece of real estate, it's important to understand how to use it.

Unfortunately, so many people use it to share a picture of their city skyline, their logo, or some picture they downloaded off of Unsplash. None of those things are actionable.

This is prime real estate. Use it to achieve a specific outcome:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Drive newsletter sign-ups
  • Send people to your website
  • Sell a digital product or service
  • Get them to follow you on social media

I know you see a lot of larger accounts use some hip, interesting picture that means nothing, but they can afford to.

They already have brand recognition.

When you're just starting out, it's important to be clear, not clever.

Austin Belcak is a perfect example of someone using the banner image extremely well, calling people to sign up for his Dream Job System Podcast.

Your headshot is the first trust builder

When you first look at someone's profile, you make an assumption about what type of person they are just by looking at their headshot.

Is this the best way to judge someone? Of course not. Do we do it anyway? Absolutely. It's human nature.

Headshots are meant to evoke a feeling:

  • Kind
  • Tough
  • Playful
  • Powerful
  • Empathetic
  • Professional

Your headshot should align with your brand. I sourced a specific photographer and paid good money to get the headshot I wanted because it was important for me to evoke a feeling of confidence.

It's one of the best investments you can make.

Your tagline is the "why", not the "what"

If you have a clear banner and a great headshot, you're ahead of about 50% of the profiles I see on social media.

But, your "tagline" is often a make-or-break moment.

The goal of the tagline is three-fold:

  • Tell people who you are
  • Tell people what you do/who you help
  • Tell people what they should expect if they follow you

Who you are: I love the idea of claiming a category or becoming known for one specific thing. David Perell does this really effectively, becoming known as the "Writing Guy".

What you do and who you help: Nobody needs to know that you're a "Director of Marketing" or "Account Executive" or "Software Developer". None of those things are helpful to the reader. Alex & Books is clear and to the point. He helps you "find amazing books & develop a reading habit."

Tell people what they should expect if they follow you: This is your opportunity to spell out exactly what people should expect if they hit the follow button. So, again, be clear. I tell people exactly what to expect when they follow me.

4. Show people how you think at a deeper level

If you have a smart banner, a solid headshot, and a clear tagline, you'll probably earn a lot of followers from your content.

But one of the most overlooked ways to increase your chances is through showing off your expertise at a deeper level.

On Twitter, you can do this with your pinned Tweet. On LinkedIn, you do this through the Featured Section of your profile.

This is a great place to tell your story (pinned Tweet) or show off your newsletter or projects (featured section on LinkedIn).

For example, I use my pinned Tweet to tell the story of building my one-person business past $1M. It gives people a deep sense of who I am, and what I'm building.

And because it has over 7,000 engagements, it also has an element of social proof to it. Bonus!

On LinkedIn, Madeline Mann uses the featured section effectively to host workshops and live webinars to learn more about her products and services.

She drives people there through her content and then converts them into customers.


1. Banner image to achieve an outcome

2. Headshot to evoke a specific type of emotion

3. Tagline to clearly state what you do and who you help

4. Show off your deeper expertise through pinned Tweet & featured section

Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. ​The LinkedIn Operating System:​ Join 16,000 students and 30 LinkedIn Top Voices inside of The LinkedIn Operating System. This comprehensive course will teach you the system I used to grow from 0 to 465,000+ followers and $4.7M in income.

2. ​The Content Operating System​: A multi-step system for creating a high-quality newsletter and 6-12 pieces of high-performance social media content each week. Join 7,000 students here.

3. ​Promote yourself to 175,000+ subscribers​ by sponsoring this newsletter.

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