It used to be that bios appeared in few places. You could write a bio and use it for all your speaking engagements, book covers, bylines, etc. Being asked to write a bio was typically a special occasion request for when you were doing something extraordinary like speaking at an industry conference.
Ah, but now that’s not the case. Practically everywhere you turn, someone is asking your for a bio. Social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, the list goes on. People want you to explain who you are. And, even more fun, none of them have the same requirements. Some allow more characters than others. Some speak to different audiences. So you now need multiple versions of your bio.
It’s my experience that nearly everyone hates writing their own bio. It’s a pretty universal hatred. It can be difficult to see yourself how others see you. It’s easy to fret and over-think your bio as a result. So, here’s a quick guide to what your bio needs.
4 Dos for Writing a Successful Social Media Bio
1. Your Line of Work People want to know what you do. It’s a fact of life. Finding a way to make your work sound interesting while keeping things simple isn’t always easy. But if you can find a few words to sum it up (For example, I use digital marketer, even though there are many terms that can apply to what we do) that can be something you want to use over and over again. From there, you can broaden your social media bio with the items below.
2. Major Accomplishments Did you win a Nobel Prize? Write a book? Serve as Mayor of your town? Win a hot dog eating contest? If it’s relevant to your industry, you should consider adding it to your bio.
3. Certifications If you have completed any advanced degrees of certifications, it helps people to understand your background and expertise without you needing to go into in depth, wordy explanations. Social media bios should be concise and easy to read – certifications can help to get you there more quickly.
4. A Sense of Humor This is not a place to make inside jokes. But it doesn’t hurt to show a little personality. If you know the lyrics to every Bon Jovi song and need to lighten things up a bit, you can definitely mention it.
2 Don’ts for Writing a Social Media Bio
And, as a general rule, here are a couple things I’d shy away from including:
1. Cute Titles If your business card doesn’t list you as a guru or ninja, don’t use those terms in your bio. They used to be a way to differentiate oneself but they’ve got an army of people who find them questionable. If it’s not a truly accurate description of what you do, avoid it.
2. A Declaration of “Busy” Sure, you might be a working parent and that’s awesome. But there are a ton of other working parents out there. Roughly seven out of ten of them have bios with the exact phrase “trying to juggle it all”. While this is an inaccurate statistic that I just made up, it’s a phrase that seems to pop up frequently in bios. Don’t tell us how busy you are – we’re all busy. Tell us what you’ve accomplished.