Guy Kawasaki: How to Create a Social-Media Profile

Guy Kawasaki

Bestselling author and tech entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki has long extolled the virtues of “enchantment” as a means of building strong relationships, whether between two people or between people and brands.  His earlier book argued that enchantment, when done right, can be more powerful than persuasion, influence and traditional marketing.

In his latest book, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book, Kawasaki tells aspiring self-publishers how to publicize their work and encourages them to enchant followers into buying and promoting.

As the second part of our four-part series on APE, which will culminate in a Dell-sponsored webinar and e-book giveaway on May 7, 2013 at 1 p.m. EST, we share a chapter from the book outlining just how he applies that same philosophy to the world of social-media. The first detailed how to create an enchanting personal brand.

Chapter 25: How to Create a Social-Media Profile

This chapter helps you create an enchanting social-media profile. Every social-media service enables you to create a “profile” that provides biographical information, and many people view these profiles to decide if you’re worth circling, following, or liking.

A useful analogy for social-media profiles is two online dating sites. At HotOrNot, people decide whether they want to meet someone by looking at their pictures. At eHarmony people complete an extensive questionnaire along twenty-nine dimensions of compatibility.

Social media is closer to HotOrNot than eHarmony because people make snap judgments. Your profile is important because you have a few seconds to convince people that you’re worth paying attention to and therefore worth circling, liking, or following.


If you haven’t registered for a social-media service yet, select a name that is simple. This will make it easier for people to find you and your posts. For example, the simplest and best name for my accounts is “Guy Kawasaki” as opposed to “GKawasaki,” “Guy T. Kawasaki,” or “GTKawasaki.”

Profile and Cover Photo

Your profile photo is a window into your soul. It is usually the first thing people see about you, and they will make an instant judgment about your likeability and trustworthiness. You may think these tips about profile photos are duh-isms, but I see crappy profile photos every day. Here’s how to create a good profile photo:

Show your face. Don’t use a logo, graphic, cartoon, pet, or kid. Find or take a photo where you have a “Duchenne smile” (the kind of smile that uses both the jaw and eye muscles, named after French neurologist Guillaume-Benjamin Duchenne).

Use a tight shot. Emphasize your face. It’s neither necessary nor desirable to show everyone in your life including your dog and the setting sun.

Go asymmetrical. Don’t stick your face exactly in the middle of the photo. It’s a lot more interesting off to one side or another. Professional photographers seldom place a face in the middle of a photo.

Do it well. Ensure that your photo is in focus, your face is well lit, and there isn’t any redeye. Don’t use a cheesy photo from your ten-year-old, one-megapixel camera phone. You don’t have to be Yousuf Karsh or Annie Leibovitz, but don’t be a clown, either.

Google+ enables you to display either five small photos or one large cover photo in addition to a profile photo. Facebook enables you to display a cover photo and profile photo. Whether you use five small photos or one big photo, their purpose is different from a profile photo.

A profile photo should primarily show your face. When people read your posts or your comments, they should feel like they are looking at you across a table. The five small photos or cover photo should tell your story and portray your passions. They provide a pictorial biography that’s equal to a thousand words.

Many people don’t have a Facebook cover photo; this is a waste of a marketing opportunity. Facebook explains how to add one in its FAQ, so be sure to add one. There’s also a YouTube video by Terry White that explains how to create a Facebook cover photo— his principles apply to Google + cover photos too.

Here’s one more resource for creating a good profile photo. The folks at LunaMetrics compiled a cheat sheet of the dimensions for profile photos as well as the photos and videos accompanying posts for Facebook, Twitter, Google +, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Biographical Information

Biographical information is not the place to show your sense of humor or uniqueness. Go for the simple and solid: an explanation of your educational background, what you do, and your areas of expertise. The goal is to personify likeability, trustworthiness, and competence, so resist the two extremes of clever coyness and over-the-top crassness. A good test is whether you would like  and trust a person with your biographical information. An even better test is whether you’d want your son or daughter to date someone with your biographical information.

Contact Settings

Give up the notion of people leaving you alone if you want to succeed as an author. Provide your e-mail address— or at least an e-mail address that you don’t mind getting cluttered with spam— so that reaching you is easy. I provide my cell phone number in my e-mails— how’s that for accessibility? People never call it. You should be so lucky that thousands of people want to get in touch with you— it means you’re building a platform.


These are the essential elements of an enchanting and effective social-media profile. Just keep in mind that your profile has to attract followers in a HotOrNot, at-a-glance world filled with attention-deficient people.

Nick Clunn is an award-winning journalist who has worked for several websites and daily newspapers, including The Record in New Jersey. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at Montclair State University. Follow him @NickClunn.

Nick Clunn
Nick Clunn is a journalist covering the tech beat and an adjunct professor at Montclair State University. He lives in New Jersey, where he had worked as a staff writer for several leading daily newspapers and websites.
Nick Clunn
Nick Clunn
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