One of the greatest (and simplest) ways for community managers to connect with their users is with their “Profile” page. Most communities offer users and staff a profile page where they can upload a picture, write a brief biography or list a few interests.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a bio that’s been filled out carefully and with a specific focus on humanizing and de-mystifying you. Your profile page will receive a lot of curious visitors, especially in the early weeks with a new community.
Here are my top tips for building your profile pages:
1. Use your real picture!
Cartoon avatars are fun, especially if you have a custom caricature of yourself, but you’d do well to save that picture for later. You should use a recent picture, attired appropriately – if your community is relaxed and informal, a staid, professional headshot isn’t really appropriate. By the same turn, if your community is a little more buttoned-down, go ahead and use your professional headshot. Just make sure you smile!
2. Talk about your interests but keep it light
You should post a few things about yourself, if space allows. It could be as simple as a single sentence about what you like to do on the weekends, or a detailed overview of your hobbies, complete with pictures and even video. It depends greatly on the community that you’re working with but think of this sort of like online dating – you need to come across with sincerity and honesty. Put your best, most interesting face forward here.
3. Keep it up to date
Nothing looks worse than a “link to your blog” that doesn’t point anywhere or a biography that doesn’t have your correct title or has an outdated mission. If you change your biography seasonally, be sure to stay on top of that as well. An untended, out of date biography can make users think that you aren’t taking your role seriously or that you’re only a minor part of the company. Community members will notice even the smallest changes to your profile and quite often greatly enjoy the chance to learn something new about you.
Photo by bjornmeansbear on Flickr