Twitter is the social network for real time content sharing and conversation. By building an active and influential presence on Twitter, you can build a significant community of personal and professional contacts. However, in order to build online influence through Twitter, you need to make sure that you have a great profile! This is your best chance to make a 1st impression with fellow Twitter users and beyond.
According to Tom Webster from Edison Research, Twitter is bigger than you think. You may not realize it, but even though only 10% of Americans are Twitter users (which is still a big number), 89% of Americans are familiar with Twitter. This implies that your reach is potentially much greater than your activity on the network itself. How can this be?
It turns out that tweets have a much greater reach through traditional media distribution such as print publications, radio, and TV. Celebrities, news anchors, and brands have adopted the medium as a way to communicate, broadcast, and engage with their audiences. Tweets can also be embedded into blogs and websites.
This spells opportunity. If you are part of the 10% of Twitter users who are active on the network, you have an opportunity to stand out and grow your reach.
It all starts with building an awesome Twitter profile.
Here are 5 ways to make sure your Twitter profile is awesome!
#1)Choose the Right Twitter Handle
The Twitter handle that you choose will identify you on the network. It’s very important to choose the appropriate Twitter handle. You can change it at anytime, but it’s best to choose a handle and stick with it so you don’t confuse your followers!
I recommend that you use one of the following guidelines in choosing your Twitter handle:
It is best to build your Twitter community around your name if you plan to share personal and professional updates combined, in my opinion. This is what I use, as I’ve chosen to build a “personal brand” with my own name so that I can share insights and information on a number of topics. I share both personal and professional updates on my primary Twitter account. (yes you can have multiple Twitter accounts if you wish)
Your Brand Name
If you have a personal brand or marketing theme that is either separate from your company brand (or an extension of the brand), you might consider using that as your Twitter handle. For example, my marketing theme is “Build Online Influence“. I could use that as my Twitter handle. However, using my name instead as my Twitter handle is more personal which helps with facilitating relationship building on the network.
Your Company Name
You could have a company Twitter account in addition to a personal Twitter account. In this case you will want your Twitter handle to be the name of the company. This is was most brands and corporations use in order to identify the brand name.
A couple of additional tips about your Twitter handle:
You only have 14 characters to work with when creating your Twitter handle, so you may have to get creative or shorten your name, marketing theme, or company name.
(Use uppercase letters where appropriate, especially for your first and last name)
#2)Your Twitter Profile Image
Here I would highly recommend using a headshot, not a full body picture. That way people can see your face. If the Twitter account represents your entire firm as a business account, you will want to use a logo or icon that represents the logo. However, if you plan to share personal and professional updates to Twitter, I highly recommend putting your face out there. Remember, people connect with people, not logos. In the case with company accounts, you may have more than one person running the account, so a logo would be more appropriate in that case.
Dare to be different with your Twitter image. I see so many financial advisors that look exactly the same on Twitter that it’s tough to tell the difference. Work with a professional photographer to capture the essence of who you are. Try different poses, expressions, and backdrops. Be creative and be your authentic self.
Success in social networking really begins with being personable and human, not corporate and stuffy.
#3)Create a Compelling Twitter Bio
Your Twitter bio is critical. Here you have 160 characters to tell the world who you are, what you do, who you help, and most importantly, why you’re different! Differentiating yourself through your Twitter bio is key to standing out and building followers. This is where other Twitter user will relate to you and decide if they want to follow you. Do you share common interests or passions? Do you work in complimentary industries? Are you located in the same city or town?
Quick Tip: Be sure to set your Twitter profile to “public” in the Settings area, otherwise no one will see your tweets. Also, enter your geographical location so that you can be found in local Twitter searches.
I recommend that you create a list of terms and characteristics as well as short phrases that describe you when working on your Twitter bio. Be sure to think about personal AND professional terms because you will want to include both sides of who you are in your Twitter bio. Additionally you will want to include keywords in your bio so that you can be found in Twitter search by your target markets. Examples of keywords are “CEO”, “financial advisor”, and “entrepreneur”.
Your Twitter bio should include a short sentence about who you help and what your expertise is. If you are building your Twitter profile with your name, you will want to list some of your personal interests as well!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your bio. I change mine up frequently. Keep in mind you can also put a live link into your bio. Perhaps you have a company Twitter account you would like to link to? Or perhaps a company website and blog. Or, you could even link to another social media profile within your Twitter bio. In my personal profile, I put a link to the Wired Advisor Company Twitter Profile using @WiredAdvisor.
Just remember, your entire bio has to fit within that 160 character limit!
#4)Link Back to Your Blog or Specific Landing Page
As part of your Twitter profile you can include a link where visitors can click to learn more about you. I can’t stress how important this link is because it is the gateway to your personal and professional brand.
If your blog is built around YOU as the primary publisher and your thought leadership, your Twitter profile link should drive visitors there where they can learn more about who you are, who you help, and how you help. You can even take this a step further and build a specific Twitter Landing Page on your blog to welcome visitors who come directly from Twitter.
Here is my special Twitter Landing Page that I’ve set up on my personal blog. Setting up a page like this will also enable you to track the traffic that you generate from your Twitter profile to your blog site.
Below is my Twitter profile where you can see how I’ve taken advantage of all of the tips that I’ve covered in the article to this point:
#5)Customize your Background
Twitter will allow you to customize your profile background rather than using the standard wallpaper options they provide. Customizing your background not only creates consistency for your brand, but in my opinion it also shows that you know what you’re doing and that you are taking this digital asset that you are building seriously!
Customize your Twitter background with graphics and a color scheme that is consistent with your personal or professional brand.
My personal preference is to not include a lot of unnecessary text in your background. You can see from my custom background that I simply showcase my face (headshot), my marketing theme, and the url to my blog.
Twitter is a personal and professional extension of you and your brand. Your Twitter profile will show up in online search for your name and/or your company name depending on how you build it. It is an online reputation asset that can help strengthen your reputation, facilitate community building and connection within your target markets, and ultimately drive relevant traffic to your blog.
Twitter success begins with having an awesome profile!
Now it’s Your Turn
Have you taken the time to build a thoughtful Twitter profile? Are you differentiating yourself with your Twitter bio and background? Are you driving potential followers and prospective connections to your online hub?