Twitter has been one of the most important social media platforms in recent memory. It allows instant two-way communication. It allows sharing with the entire world at the same time. This is good for businesses, bloggers and more. Despite all of this potential, many people never see tangible results with their Twitter profile. They “try” Twitter without knowing its rules and they leave thinking it’s stupid.
Of course it’s not.
Every time this happens, there are reasons. Twitter does run on “right place, right time” for getting huge, but there are ways to build a following slowly. The most important thing in getting to that position is having a great Twitter profile. These tips will help you.
Upload a real picture of yourself
People respond better to other people. It’s natural for us to be attracted to other humans when we converse online. There is something about knowing what the person you’re talking to looks like that is inviting to us. The default Twitter egg isn’t going to do much for you.
That’s why you need to post a picture of yourself.
While a picture of your dog, kid or favorite beach seems harmless, it causes a disconnect. Potential followers are confused before they ever even read your Twitter bio. If your picture is of a beach, they might think you’re a travel blogger or a resort representative. If your picture is food, they might think you’re a food blogger or a restaurant owner. The picture needs to be you. Your brand is you. You are marketing yourself. Be direct about it.
Twitter is not a beauty contest. You don’t have to be a model (believe me, I’m not!) to post your picture. No one is judging your looks. Followers just want to connect with you. They want to know the face that is talking to them. It’s really not that much to ask since you’re expecting them to follow every tweet you send.
The final reason I see for pictures that aren’t people is privacy. Some people claim they don’t want Twitter users to know who they are. Personally, I’m not sure why people like that are on Twitter. The entire platform is about connecting and interacting. If you are unwilling to do that, then you are not going to get followers, meaning Twitter will not help you. Whether you are using Twitter to find like-minded people or sharing your blog posts to get more views, there just isn’t anything here for you.
Use your real name
This honestly applies to all platforms. You need to use your real name. The reasons for this go hand-in-hand with using a real picture. You don’t seem like a very real person when your name is “Live Your Life” or “Cat Lover” unless that is actually a name you branded yourself with. Those kind of things go in your Twitter bio. You should have your real name because you are yourself on Twitter. People want to know you and don’t be surprised when some of your loyal fans start calling you by your first name. These are real friends you are making and you will be shocked at how much you will learn about people that start as strangers. I haven’t sat down with anyone off of Twitter for a beer and professional conversation about social media marketing yet, although I know some who have. I would like to one day.
Another reason you want to use your real name is SEO. Search engine optimization is a big deal and anyone searching for you using Google or Twitter’s search feature won’t be able to find you. Your Twitter profile is a great way to get yourself higher on Google’s search results and if you are proud of your Twitter profile, why not let people find it? Also, if you run a high-quality blog that has followers, it is a great way to trade followers from both. Bloggers can search for your name on Twitter to get connected to you on a more personal level, the same way Twitter users can follow your links back to your blog.
Utilize the profile header and background feature
There are many ways to use profile backgrounds and headers. Some people place a picture with all of the links to their social media profiles as their background. This is hard to do and requires some knowledge of photo editing, but it looks very professional. It also gets more traffic to your other profiles. Another way to utilize your background is to make it something personal. I made my background a picture of my lovely city, Jacksonville, Fla. I feel it gives my profile’s viewers a small look into my personality without me saying a word. It is up to you if you want to use it as a business card or a painting, but you need to put something there.
The header is very similar but it is behind your Twitter bio. It is another opportunity to flash up your profile with a personal picture or company logo. However, the Twitter bio is written in white letters, so you will have to experiment with header pictures and find one that you like, but doesn’t make your bio unreadable.
Think of your Twitter profile as an office. Yes, the office is still an office if you only have a desk and chair in it, but it is much more enjoyable with decorations and pictures. Make your profile enjoyable for yourself and others. I love Jacksonville, so every time I look at my profile, it makes me smile.
Use your real location
Many Twitter users like following people who live close to them. Finding someone who produces great content and actively reps my city is something I personally enjoy as well. It’s easy to see someone as a friend when the pictures they post are from places you’ve been to. The world is so big, but the city you live in is such an easy place to start finding others like you. Even better than that, if you are a social media professional and you interact with other professionals in your city, you can actually meet up with them and have brainstorming sessions. Isn’t that awesome? Obviously, don’t meet up with people you don’t trust.
Twitter allows users to search by location through the Twitter advanced search. That is another gateway to followers. I definitely recommend using it.
Make a great bio with relevant hashtags
Here is a great example of a Twitter bio by social media blogger Leone Kraus.
The bio probably has the most functions out of anything on your Twitter profile. First, the bio offers a short description of yourself. What makes you different from the average person? Are you a teacher or a marketer? Maybe you’re a blogger or a construction worker? The bio allows you to tell the world what you “do” and this automatically gives you credibility in those subjects. I also recommend you add a little bit of yourself into your bio. Tell the world you’re a baker or mother. Many people would love to know you enjoy gardening or drinking wine. It’s a piece of yourself that viewers can obtain without having to get into a conversation. People with the same hobbies will want to talk to you about it. Conversatons like these are enjoyable and the mentions of your handle help your Klout score. I love conversations and try to respond to every comment, no matter what it is about. Feel free to tweet me at anytime. Having this mindset will make Twitter very enjoyable for you.
Like mentioned before, the bio also gives you a chance for SEO. Find common terms used across Twitter to describe what you do. People use Twitter’s advanced search engine as well as other Twitter search engines like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck’s to find people similar to them. Play around with one of those search engines to find what hashtags and keywords get the most traffic for people like you. Anyone who searches those terms could end up being a follower.
You can also link yourself to your company or employer’s Twitter handles. It makes you look credible as you are representing a company. As an added bonus, fans and clients of that company can find their way to your profile and possibly become followers. Don’t go overboard with this. Your bio should be more words than links. I would recommend keeping the hashtags and links to three or under.
These are the best easy tips I have for you to get the most out of Twitter. As easy as they are, there are many people who don’t use them. I can’t guarantee you’ll be the next big thing on Twitter, but these tips will put you in a position to start building a brand on Twitter. Go out there and use them.
Do you like my tips or have any others you would add? If you do, tweet me with them or comment below.
-Marty F. Nemec