The Digital Elevator Pitch: How to Create Click-Worthy Social Media Profiles

Social Media Bios Are The Elevator Pitch of the Digital Age
Don’t underestimate the power of the social elevator pitch

People spend hours rehearsing their elevator pitch. Getting it right means delivering a powerful value proposition in the time it takes to travel between floors – 30 seconds to two minutes. The goal is to connect and continue the conversation after the doors slide shut.

If you think about it, your social media bios are the elevator pitch of the digital age. You have ten to thirty seconds – and 160 characters – to convince someone to engage with you.

Social Media Bios- The Elevator Pitch of the Digital Age
Another perfect business opportunity wasted because of no good elevator pitch

Are you investing time in your social media profiles? If you’re not, you should be.

To help maximize your “elevator time”, I’m going to share best practices, demonstrate the insight you can gain from your competitors’ descriptions and in a real world application of what we cover I’ll make a set of recommendations for how Silverpop can improve their Twitter, FaceBook and Google+ social bios.

In The Elevator With Marketo

Imagine you’ve come across a great tweet on marketing automation and visit the company’s twitter page to learn more – the equivalent of jumping on the elevator and hearing their pitch. You’re going to spend 20 seconds, then decide whether to follow them. In that scenario, who will you find more compelling Ad2action or Marketo?

Twitter Bio Comparison

The majority of you will opt to follow Marketo. Their digital elevator pitch is visually interesting and they’ve used their 160 characters to tell you the benefits and breadth of what they do.

Perfecting Your Social Media Profile Bios

Imagine the sales rep pacing his office rehearsing his elevator pitch, prepping for the moment he finds himself face-to-face with the CEO of his key target. That’s you perfecting your social media bio. It takes work to get it right.

Quick Tips:

  1. Share your value proposition. Remember, you’re trying to convince prospects and influencers to engage with you – follow, circle, like and comment on your social media activity. Your bio should tell them what your company does and what benefits you deliver.
  2. Keep SEO in mind. Many of the search engines are using social media bios in their algorithms. Craft your bios to leverage key words while still offering prospects a compelling reason to engage.
  3. Use CTAs. Consider adding a call to action to your bio. Further engage your audience with the offer of a free trial, free taste, free download, etc.
  4. Include Links and Consider Landing Pages. Be sure to include a link in your bios and you should consider sending them to a landing page with targeted messaging instead of your homepage. Read more about this concept from ConversionXL.
  5. Be Visual. The visual richness of social media has increased dramatically—from the massive hero image on Google+ to the new twitter profile pages. Learn about the new visual specs in this post from LunaMetrics.
  6. Maximize Your Real Estate. It’s critical every word in your bio works hard. Common mistakes include informing visitors that they’ve reached “The Official channel of [company name]” and identifying the team of contributors.

Unfortunately for Chrysler, their Twitter bio is a great illustration of both the above errors.

Chrysler Twitter Bio
Better to focus on sharing your value proposition and employing key words. And move your list of contributors to a background graphic. Visit Unbounce’s Twitter page to see how well this works.

Quick Reference

Keeping track of best practices and specifications can be a challenge. All the channels have made changes in last 12 months. I’ve captured the basics in the reference tool below.

Social Media Bio Best Practices Guide
Click for full-size image

Stand Out From The Crowd.

Every three months you should review your social bios to ensure they’re in line with your current value proposition. At the same time, take a look at your competitors’ social media “elevator pitch” and determine if you need to counter their positioning.

You can use a spreadsheet, or a side-by-side comparison like the one below from, Rival IQ. Check out the Facebook short descriptions from companies in the marketing automation space.

Marketing Automation Facebook Descriptions
Click for full-size image

Quickly you get a sense of each company’s value proposition. For example, Eloqua is claiming acceleration of revenue growth, Hubspot is promoting an “all in one” solution and more leads and Pardo is focused on “no hassle” marketing automation.

History Is Telling

If you track changes to your competitor’s social bios, you’ll be able to extract insights about how the market is evolving and inform your own marketing strategy. Here’s a look at how the marketing automation players changed their Twitter positioning over six months.

Marketo Twitter Change 9 months ago
9 months ago, Marketo deletes positioning for B2B marketers and expands the breadth of their offering.
Eloqua Twitter Change 8 months ago
8 months ago, Eloqua expands their bio to include “modern marketing strategies.” Likely not a key word addition, but an answer to Marketo’s change.
Pardot Twitter Change 7 Months ago
7 months ago, Pardot adds acquisition messaging, includes more benefits and specifically calls out SMBs.
Pardot Twitter Change 3 Months ago
3 months ago , Pardot expands their market, deleting the previous focus on B2B and SMBs. Also revise their benefits.

Based on this series of bio changes, I’d posit that Marketo kicked off a positioning shift that rippled through the market.

Consistency Counts.

The individuals you reach on social media don’t limit themselves to just one channel. They’re likely to engage with you on Twitter and Facebook, or Linked In and Twitter or maybe on three or four channels at once. When you’re optimizing one social media bio, it’s important to optimize all of them, reinforcing both key messages and key words.

Continuing to look at the marketing automation landscape, I’ve created a side-by-side comparison of Twitter, FaceBook and Google+ bios. Take a look and see who gets high marks.

Marketing Automation Social Bios Competitors
Click for full-size image

While all the companies have room for improvement, I’m giving HubSpot the highest grade for consistency and use of best practices. Marketo goes too far by having identical bios across all channels and fails to use links or calls to action. Add to Marketo’s downfall the failure to maximize the length of their bios, and we find Silverpop at the bottom of the class.

Putting Learning Into Practice.

Let’s put our learning to work and suggest ways for Silverpop to improve their social media bios.

Below are the company’s current descriptions:

Silverpop Social Media Bios

Best Practices Observations

  • Share Your Value Proposition. Silverpop consistently describes what they do, but outside of the long-form Linked In description, fails to explain the benefits they deliver. This makes their bios less compelling to the reader.
  • Maximize Your Real Estate. Silverpop can lengthen their bios to be more engaging. They have ~50 more characters available on Twitter alone.
  • Include Links. Adding a link to SilverPop’s Facebook description is not only a best practice, it would bring them in line with what their competitors are doing. They’d receive bonus points for directing traffic to a landing page with more targeted messaging.
  • Competitive Positioning. Reading through the competitive bios reveals that “unifying” channels may not differentiate Silverpop. HubSpot’s “all in one” positioning is virtually identical.


A quick survey of Silverpop’s website reveals elements of their value proposition that could better differentiate them in their social bios, including:

  • “We know marketers because we are marketers.”
  • They offer a “return on relationship” by leveraging unique customer behavior to deliver results
  • They empower marketers to create and manage sophisticated campaigns that drive revenue, build brand loyalty and increase ROI.
  • They are trusted by more than 5,000 brands worldwide.

Obviously the marketing team at Silverpop has a better understanding of their value proposition than I ever will – but to inspire them to evaluate their social media bios, I’ve drafted the following descriptions for consideration.

Social PlatformWhat I’d Say
TwitterMarketing automation built by marketers. Leverage customer behavior across email, mobile and social to increase revenue & loyalty. Join us. (160 characters)
FacebookMarketing automation built by marketers, trusted by over 5,000 brands. Leverage customer behavior across email, mobile and social to increase revenue, loyalty & ROI. Find your Return on Relationship. (220 characters – perfect for three favorite tiles)
Google+Leverage customer behavior across channels to increase revenue and loyalty. (10 words)

Although these recommendations leverage best practices, they may not accurately communicate Silverpop’s unique value proposition. My point is that a quick review of your social bios, in comparison to the market, is all you need to inspire positioning changes that result in better differentiation and a great digital elevator pitch.

Key Takeaways

  • As the elevator pitch of the digital age social bios are critical expressions of your value proposition and should be reviewed and optimized every 3 months
  • Stay up to date on best practices and visual specifications so your bios are working hard for you
  • Evaluate the your competitors bios (and those of companies you aspire to be like) for positioning insight and inspiration
  • Track changes in positioning to identify subtle shifts that signal market movement
  • Leverage marketing intelligence tools like Rival IQ to make tracking changes and comparing positioning easy (yes this is a shameless plug) or use your intern and a spreadsheet if they don’t mind tedious but incredibly valuable work :-).

— John Clark

About John Clark
John is a startup junkie who loves applying technology to painful, it-seriously-doesn’t-have-to-be-like-this business problems. For his team at Rival IQ, where he is CEO and co-founder, today’s problem is how to transform the ever-growing set of content, social metrics, and SEO data into insights today’s marketers can use to improve their game. Follow John and the team at Rival IQ on Twitter for continuous digital marketing and competitive insights.
» More blog posts by John Clark


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  2. Albie

    great post John, thanks for sharing. I’m currently in the process of trying to produce a social media ‘landscape’ report analysing the SM activity of a number of competitors to identify opportunities and best practices. Would love your take on what sort of metrics or content you’d look to include in such a report. Fodder for a future post perhaps?

    • John Clark

      Albie, glad you liked the post. It is a smart move to build out a social media landscape for your competitive set. The key things I would suggest you include would be 1) SM Competitor Matrix – list all competitors and if they are not-present, present or active (you will need to define) on a channel 2) All of the social media profiles just like I covered in the post to compare positioning 3) Key SM metrics including network size (e.g. Followers, Fans, Circled), activity level (posts, tweets, etc) and engagement level (retweets/tweet, engagement/fans).

      I’ve put together a quick google doc Social Media Competitive Landscape Template that you can use to build out this information. Building it out one time is doable but a pain, keeping track over time becomes a bit tougher with a spreadsheet and I would humbly suggest you might want to give what we are working on at Rival IQ a try since we track and report on pretty much everything I mentioned here.

      I hope this helps.

      • Albie

        Thanks for the reply John. I’m pleased to see I had most of your suggestions in there already. The real value in this exercise of course is the distillation of key insights that I’m not sure you can fully glean automatically via a software tool. Sure, the numbers give you a picture of the landscape but hidden behind them are a number of intangibles like ‘why are company X more engaging than company Y?’, ‘what type of posts work best’ etc. Maybe you have this licked too and I just havent spotted it…

        • John Clark

          You are right taking engagement to the next level to understand the “why” is key. Once you can tell who has the best engagement rates you then need to look at actual posts to see what is creating this engagement. This is where we are headed next with Rival IQ.

  3. Carmen Rane Hudson


    Great post! This was a great reminder to make the most of ALL the space you’ve got. I’d never thought of the profile as an “elevator speech” before, but it makes a certain kind of sense. I’d used the space more like a “headline” but after reading your post I think the headline approach doesn’t provide enough real information to be compelling.

    • John Clark

      Thanks Carmen. It is certainly a valuable exercise to step back and make sure you are really maximizing the real estate in your profiles. Glad you liked the post.

  4. Susan

    Great info. I think the hardest thing for me is to be consistent. Sometimes it’s just easier said than done. All of your suggestions are very valuable!

    • John Clark

      I hear ya. I found lining up all your own profiles together really helps highlight where you’ve strayed off message.

      Glad you liked the post.

  5. Kim Matheson

    Hi John thanks for a great article and the tip to revisit your bio every 3 months. First impressions are lasting ones. Together with making the most of your online real estate. I would love to hear your thoughts on how much time you consider should be spent on your social media presence. I even read this can be down the hour of posting? Kind regards Kim

    • John Clark

      Kim, glad you liked the post. To your question…hmmm..thats a tough one. Assuming you have a well tuned set of profiles in a mature industry I would expect it would be just an hour or two to make sure nothing has changed relative to the businesses positioning. For an early stage company in an active market I could see the review, update and sync with any positioning changes being something that would be worth investing a bit of a marketers time on. Time estimates are tough but if social is an important part of your marketing mix you want to make sure you look your best!

  6. Samuel

    This article made me look at my Facebook page and assess if my description was optimized to what my competitors were doing already.

    Noticing while reading the profiles, the more optimizes profiles of the day have listed the statement directly within the wording.

    If you list your keywords of what your business covers, the more likely the new visitor is going to convert to following your social profile.

    I personally enjoy figuring out exactly a site stands for and move on. Tell them at a faster pace, but as much as it makes you stand “out”.

    Excellent article with great profile examples!

    Keep up the good work!

    Samuel from Internet Dreams

  7. Hasan

    Totally agreed, Moreover, audience on social media nowadays prefer to interact with humans instead of companies. And that is why, huge websites like Mashable are promoting their personal branding element on twitter and other social networks. Also, one needs to communicate with every single user of them like GoDaddy without considering their comments to be unworthy to look at. Every individual counts when it comes to social networking.

  8. Randall Magwood

    The info graphics are spectacular. You definitely show how to create a high-quality and credible social media profile. Thanks!

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