If you live the majority of your professional life online, you probably belong to more than one social network. When it comes to letting your contacts know how best to find you, however, you may want to limit how many networks you list. This is especially the case when trying to design a business card to hand out to people.
The traditional business card lists a name, company name, perhap a physical address, definitely a phone number, and (these days) email address and website or blog address. I haven’t seen a fax number listed anywhere for a while now.
The difficulty comes in deciding which of your social networks to list on your business card. Do you choose the ones you use most often, or those that potential clients are more likely to use? Should you provide a link to your Twitter feed, or your Facebook page? Do you remember if there’s anything embarassing on any of your social networks that you might want to delete before prospective employers take a look?
The easiest way to manage such things, of course, is to have more than one account. Perhaps augment your personal profiles with accounts that you operate under your business name. Just as there are two Twitter feeds associated with this blog, so I have more than one Facebook page, and a LinkedIn profile that has nothing to do with Inari Media. I can therefore be as informal as I please on the profiles where I interact with my friends, while maintaining a professional persona when I’m looking for work.
When deciding which social networks to list on your business card, I do find that it is probably best to use those which are widely used. While most people will have heard of Facebook and LinkedIn, they will not necessarily have heard of Sphinn unless they are involved in internet marketing. Stick to the big ones, include your Skype number, and don’t forget your email address!
When getting all of this information on your business card, don’t be afraid to be imaginative; it does not all have to be squeezed on to one side. One of the most elegant solutions I have come across on a business card so far was remarkably simple: while the card looked perfectly normal on one side, the reverse had a username above icons for all the social networks where the individual concerned could be contacted. You can use the free tool at Namechk to see if your username of choice is available across multiple social networks. Register at all those you need, and you won’t be left listing different accounts for how you can be contacted.
It may seem odd, going back to printed paper when so much communication is electronic, but it is important to remember that you may not always have a computer to hand. Business cards are useful for handing out at conferences and networking events; they also serve as a handy visual reminder of who you are, which is quicker than scrolling through an address book. Social networkers don’t need to dismiss the idea of business cards out of hand; in fact, they can use them to be even more social.
[Image by Stabilo Boss]