Today while I was on Tinder I was thinking of how the way that people represent themselves on the app is indicative of their personal branding. It's so clear that a lot of users of this app have no concept of how to brand themselves. I should be able to look at your profile, understand you and your personal brand, and make a decision whether I want to swipe right (buy in) or swipe left (pass).
Below are 10 things I've noticed make me swipe left, because I either don't understand the "brand," or simply don't have an interest in it:
- You're wearing a goddamn hoodie: This goes back to the age-old adage, "Dress for the job you want." While I don't expect you to wear a suit, I hope you don't plan to show up on our first date looking like you're about to rob a liquor store.
- I can't even see your face: This is like asking me to buy a product without telling me what it looks like. You're always going to lose to someone that tells the full story.
- You don't have a bio: This is almost worst than not having a photo of yourself. You expect me to want to engage with you without knowing anything about you? Would you buy a product without knowing what the hell it did?
- Your photo is you & your bros: Imagine you're watching a Coca-cola commercial and it ends with, "you could have Pepsi or Dr. Pepper if you'd prefer." Never remind the consumer about the competition, unless you're saying something bad.
- Your main photo is of your pet: And it's not even cute. You're masking the brand with a facade of BS.
- You have photos of yourself drinking out of a bottle of Jack: You're branding yourself as a drinker. No girl has ever said "I love a guy that just like, loves to chug mediocre whiskey out of a bottle and get wasted." You're bringing out the negative aspects of your brand before we've even met.
- You have a picture with a hot girl in a bikini: The bandwagon theory doesn't necessarily work for branding on online dating. No part of me wants to have to live up to whoever that girl is.
- Your bio only includes your height and weight: Always tell the consumer what they want to know about your brand, not what you want them to know.
- Your grammar is awful: How am I supposed to understand your brand if I can't get past your bad writing? Additionally, you might as well write in your bio, "Hi, I'm unintelligent and lazy."
- Your beard is ugly: Not really, but this one is more symbolic. Not everyone is going to like you and your brand. My bio says that I'm a "wannabe magician." Some people think that's weird. Some people think that's cool. Cater your brand to the audience you are trying to attract.
Pick your two or three best characteristics, and build a narrative around them. Think of how to highlight those characteristics in a few hundred characters and a handful of pictures, without using those words directly.
Devon Zdatny is a social media specialist and director of Partnerships for Mashwork. Visit her website devonzdatny.com, where this post first appeared.