Twitter has been around since 2006, and has evolved quite a bit over the years. Despite all the changes, one thing has remained the same – if you want to make a splash on the network and really build relationships with your followers, you must start with a good profile. Think of Twitter as a landing page for your personal brand, because every time you follow someone new, they’re given the chance to follow you back. Your profile is what they’ll use to make that choice, so it matters.
When you consider that most Twitter users get multiple follow request emails every single day, they must make decisions quickly. That means some people will decide within mere seconds after looking at your profile whether or not to add you to their network. Make the most of those seconds by getting your profile right from the start.
1. Use Your Real Name
Use your real name, or as close as possible for your Twitter handle. Always include your real name on your profile. Making up a name, or going back to your AOL screen name days makes it difficult to connect your Twitter identity to your Facebook identity and all the other places you can be found online. When your handle is seen in a stream of tweets, unless it’s your name, it can be difficult for followers to remember who you are.
If you are creating a Twitter account for a corporate brand, keep your handle as close to that name as possible. Many companies do it – such as @airbnb, @netflix, and even @twitter. You want to do this for the same reason you’d use your real name on a personal profile.
2. Use a Real Photo of Yourself
Twitter – and all social media, really – is about connecting with other people on a human level. It’s best to use a real photo of yourself – one that’s a professional headshot if at all possible. If not, use the best picture you have that features you smiling. Don’t use group photos, or photos with you and your pets. If you don’t have a professional headshot, consider booking a session with a local photographer right away. Try to use the same photo across all your social media channels, so people who connect with you can learn who you are away from Twitter as well. It helps create a more cohesive personal brand.
3. Use a Header Image
The updated Twitter profiles now allow you to have a customizable header image, where the old versions only allowed for a custom background. The main image spans the entire browser window, so it’s best to upload an image that’s 1500 px x 1500 px.
Feel free to be creative with your image. Use it to promote any sales or special deals your company has going on, showcase your talents, or range of products, make it personal, or make a collage. Create it using something like Canva if you’re on a tight budget and cannot afford to hire a graphic designer.
4. Write a Killer Bio Optimized for SEO
Every person on Twitter has multiple areas they operate – some of which intersect and overlap. You want to be involved in as many as possible, as long as you keep them relevant to your interests and expertise. It’s a good idea to consider geographic location, professional, and personal areas of interest, where you may have some followers who fit into one or more space.
You have a limited amount of space for your bio, so crafting it in just the right way can be difficult. With the 160-character limit, you need to succinctly say why you’re awesome and why people should follow you. But, you also need to include common keywords people search for on Twitter to make it easier for people you want to interact with to find and follow you.
One thing to remember is that if you’re on Twitter, your bio will appear in the search results when someone searches your name. That means it will be one of the most visible descriptions of you on the internet, so you’ve gotta get it right. How can you do that?
- Make it accurate: Provide one professional description. If you’ve started a business? You’re an entrepreneur.
- Make it exciting: Generate excitement and buzz. Use a positive tone and upbeat language.
- Target it: You want to target others like you – so use words that describe others in your occupation or role.
- Make it flattering: Talk about your accomplishments. Donate to charity? You’re a philanthropist. Workout sometimes? You’re a health guru… and so on.
- Make it human: What’s something that makes you, you? Talk about your love of coffee, bacon, chocolate, or something else you consider yourself a connoisseur of.
- Connect it: Use hashtags and @’s in your bio to show what else you’re connected to. If you’re the CEO of a company, include the @handle for your company in your bio.
5. Include a URL
If you have a blog or a website, include the link to it on your Twitter profile. If you do not have a blog or a website, link to another social media profile or somewhere else you can be found online. This makes it easy for followers to connect with you outside of Twitter.
6. Pin Tweets on a Regular Basis
The new profile layout allows you to pin a single tweet to the top of your profile page. You can change out this tweet as often as you’d like. It will stay at the top of your profile page no matter how old it is.
You can use it to highlight a promotion your company is running, drive traffic to your landing page, show potential followers more about who you are and what they can expect when they follow you, get more important tweets retweeted more often, and more.
Not just any tweet should be pinned, though. Make sure you’re choosing your best work. Choose the best content you have to offer, to share. Choose a tweet you’ve optimized for clicks and retweets – place the link about ¼ of the way through, and use verbs more than nouns.
For best results, include an image in your pinned tweet. According to the official Twitter blog, tweets with images get about 35% more re-tweets than those that do not. It’s also a good idea not to use all 140 characters on your pinned tweet, so there’s room for a manual retweet, if people want to do things that way.
To pin a tweet, all you have to do is scroll to the tweet you want to pin, then click the three dots next to the “view tweet activity.” Bar. Then, click “Pin” in the dialogue box. You’ll need to refresh your profile to make sure the pinned tweet appears at the top.
Try to avoid leaving the same tweet pinned at the top of your profile for weeks at a time. Of course you’ll need to do some experimenting to determine what works best with your audience, but changing it on a regular basis keeps the content fresh, and helps avoid your followers going blind to it.
If you want your pinned tweet to really pack a punch, choose one that drives emotion. Happiness makes people want to share – so if you choose a tweet that makes your profile visitors feel happy – because it’s something funny or positive, you may see more people share it on your behalf.
7. Share Lots of Visual Content
We already know tweets with images get more shares than those that don’t have images. With the new Twitter profile design, photos and video content are much more prominent than they used to be. With the new design, the number of photos and videos you’ve shared on your profile are now included on the top with your other metrics such as tweets, following, followers, and favorites. This means people who are looking at your profile have an easier time finding the visual content you’ve shared in the past.
8. Think About Filtered Views
With the new profile design, there are new timeline filters to create distinct views of just your tweets, your tweets plus replies, and tweets with photos and videos. The default view is tweets. This means if you want everyone to be able to see your tweet, do not start it with the @ symbol. Twitter considers this a reply, or part of a larger conversation. While this isn’t a bad thing – it just means those tweets are hidden by default.
If you want to include an @ reply in the main stream so that everyone sees it, make sure the first character is a period (.) and then include the @reply.
9. Tweaking Your Profile
It’s okay if you don’t get the perfect profile right away. You can always make adjustments here and there as needed, based on what trends you’re seeing with followers. If you feel like you’re attracting the wrong kind of people – consider what it is about your profile that’s drawing them to you, and change accordingly.
What changes will you be making to your Twitter profile to make it better? Share them with me in the comments below.