Whether you’re an online company or you’re using the web to market your offline business, you’re going to need a great business description for your own website—as well as for social media and review sites. A meaningful and memorable business description can change how customers perceive your brand—both online and in real life.
But sitting down to write about your business can be intimidating. To help you break through that writer’s block, here are some tips on writing a great business description, as well as specific pointers for writing a business bio for popular social media and review platforms.
Write to evoke emotion and connect with your audience
Before you start writing, take a moment to think about your audience. Depending on your product or service—and who your typical buyer is—your voice and tone could vary greatly. The way you would write to appeal to retirees would be very different from the language and tone you would use if your primary audience is teenagers.
Whether you’re selling a highly technical product or you’re a small business targeting a specific demographic, use language that your audience would use themselves and can relate to, so they’ll feel a natural connection to you and your mission.
In 2016, Harvard Business Review conducted a study on emotional motivators to understand the value of consumers who feel a deep connection to a brand. Findings showed emotionally-connected customers spend more money, shop more often, are less price-sensitive, and are more likely to recommend the business to others.
Companies like Tom’s Shoes, Red Bull, and Nike have clear intent with their voice—it speaks to the lifestyle each brand represents. Your own voice should connect with customers so they feel good about supporting your business.
The basics of writing a business description
No one is going to take the time to read paragraphs and paragraphs about your business, and most social platforms and sites limit your bio to 150-250 characters. Clear, compelling writing that grabs the reader’s attention right away is important.
Start with the basics—in the first sentence or two, mention these key elements:
- What you’re best known for
- Where you’re located
- How you fit into your industry and/or community
To spark emotion, unleash your inner storyteller to tap into that part of our brains that are wired to listen to and remember stories. Is there something about your origin story that sets you apart? What is the most unique thing about your product or service that others must know to understand you? Including sensory details and emotions in your business description will activate your customers’ brains and leave them yearning for more.
Another factor to consider is discoverability. Think about how you search the web to find something online. If you need some cooking help, you’d type in something like “best ways to bake tofu,” and the first page of search results would probably have a lot of pages with baked tofu recipes and tofu cooking tips. In a nutshell, that’s how search engine optimization (SEO) works. If you want to be found for a specific product or service in your city, work those keywords’ that people use to look for a business like yours into your description.
Here’s an example of a business description combining the elements of storytelling and SEO, for a spa in San Francisco: “Treat yourself to personalized service, rejuvenating massages and treatments, and captivating skyline views at our Nob Hill Spa. Follow a therapeutic steam or sauna with a refreshing swim in the mesmerizing indoor infinity relaxation pool, or some tranquil quiet time in our Zen Room. Unwind by the poolside fireside lounge area, ideal for personal reflection, and order a delicious spa meal. Select from a stellar complement of services including massages, facials, body treatments, and manicures and pedicures.”
Why social proof and review sites still matter
Today’s customers are doing their research before committing to a purchase. According to Robert Cialdini, an expert in the science of influence, when people are uncertain about what to do, they take their cues from the actions of others. This is known as social proof. For example, if a celebrity or an expert recommends something, we assume they have more knowledge on the topic than we do, and we follow their lead.
Many people turn to their preferred social platforms and favorite influencers or experts for social proof before buying something, which is why it pays to spend time on your business description on the platforms where you have an active business presence.
Writing tips for popular social and review sites
Each platform has different guidelines for business descriptions, and the audience and focus for each platform are also slightly different. For each site, you can start with your standard business description and tailor it for the particular nuances and requirements of the particular site.
Your free business page on Yelp includes three sections where you can write about your business, and you should write something for each one. Below are tips for each, and also check out Yelp’s official guidelines for these “From the Business” sections.
- Specialties: Lead with keywords, but don’t overstuff, and don’t include things you don’t offer. This is your opportunity to share how your business is unique and what you’re known for. Character limit: 1,500.
- History: Share the story of how your business got started—this is where your storytelling skills can shine. Include the year the business was established and any important milestones along the way. Character limit: 1,000.
- Meet the Owner/Manager: This is your chance to put a human face to the business. Share your passion for your work and include a few personal details that you’re comfortable sharing. Character limit: 1,000.
Do not use these areas for offers and announcements, contact information, or links, and never attack competitors, customers, or people who have reviewed your business.
Just like a tweet, your description should be short, searchable, and include 1-2 hashtags that apply to your business. Feel free to use incomplete sentences, short phrases, and abbreviations. Twitter is not a place for formality, but do keep it professional (not stuffy, though). Hootsuite rounded up these 30 Twitter bio examples to inspire you.
- Character limit: 160.
- Tag any related business or personal accounts, if applicable (e.g., “Sister restaurant of @___” or “Founded by @____”).
- Include a call to action and link if you have something to promote.
On Facebook, you have the opportunity to add a description for the “About” tab on your page. Write the story of your business, service areas, events, and more. Facebook is a very interactive platform, so write your profile to create a sense of community.
- Character limit for your general description: 255. All other business detail sections don’t have a character count, but that doesn’t mean you should write a lot of text.
- In the “Business Info” section, you have the opportunity to include core details like date created, business type, and mission.
- “Contact Info” includes website, phone number, email, and contact information.
- “More Info” includes sections for additional information such as products, menus, awards, and more, depending on your business category.
Casual and friendly in nature, Instagram is a highly visual channel, so let your description paint a vivid picture of your brand. While the focus on your Instagram presence is the imagery that you post, you should still take the time to write a description that will inspire your followers and give context for your images.
- Character limit: 150.
- Emojis bring a playfulness to your bio and are also searchable.
- Include your location and hashtags so the right people can discover your account.
- Include any related business or personal accounts, if applicable (e.g., “Sister restaurant of @___” or “Founded by @____”).
Falcon.io has additional tips for writing professional Instagram bios, along with lots of great bio examples.
If your business has a large staff, consider a LinkedIn company page. Highlight the talent running your business and attract new employees (and even some customers) with industry hashtags.
- Character limit for company name: 100. About page: 2,000 (although even LinkedIn recommends keeping it short and sweet).
- Optimize pages with industry, company size, specialties, and headquarters, and include relevant keywords to help people find you in LinkedIn search.
- Create a Jobs page if you’re hiring.
For more tips and examples of great small business LinkedIn pages, check out LinkedIn’s article “The 11 Best Small Business LinkedIn Pages We’ve Seen.”
Writing a business description for social pages doesn’t have to be tricky. Think about your story, write about what makes you different, and let the power of social proof allow new and existing customers to find you.
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The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.