Being on Twitter is like being at a cocktail party. Would you go to a cocktail party wearing shorts, a t-shirt and sandals? Of course not. You want to look presentable on Twitter. Even better, you want to look good and sexy.
While Twitter is not a beauty pageant, having a nice and attracting profile page will draw interest and trust in you, ultimately helping you build a follower base. Just like a beautiful woman attracts all the guys and is the talk of all women at a party, we’re going to do just that with you Twitter page.
Your username tells a lot about you and it is a key element of your personal branding on Twitter. There are two schools on how to handle the username dilemma on Twitter:
- There are those who think you should use your name (ie. @SebastienPage)
- There are those who think you should use a nickname (ie. @Dudeman718)
I personally think using your real name is a better way to go about but let’s see the pros of each option.
Why Use Your Real Name
- It reinforces your name as a personal brand.
- It will attract more followers (people prefer following a real person that a brand).
- You don’t want people to squat your name on Twitter.
- People will easily be able to locate your in the “Find People” search tool.
Why Use A Username
- You’re already known online as BigTimeBlogger (or whatever your nickname is). That’s your own brand. Keep it!
- Your boss really wants you to use the company name.
- You have things to hide and would rather not “be the real you” on Twitter.
About Company Usernames
As I said above, if your boss doesn’t understand that Twitter is all about people talking to other people, and not companies talking to potential customers, then he might want you to use the company name as your username.
An alternative would be to do like Dell does with its employees: @RichardATDell, @Kara_atDell, etc… This helps put a human face on a corporate account.
Quick Notes About Usernames
You may change your Twitter username at any time in the settings without losing your followers or having to start all over again. Changing your username may confuse your followers at first so make sure you let them know about it.
If you tweet for your company, make sure to figure out sooner rather than later what will happen to your username should you leave the company.
Your Profile Picture
If a picture is worth a thousand words, your profile picture on Twitter is probably worth an encyclopedia.
Instead of using the default icon that comes with your Twitter account, or instead of using a funny/stupid/cute icon, I would suggest you upload a real picture of you. It’s about personal branding. You are the brand!
You don’t need to have your picture taken by a professional photograph for the occasion but having a real picture of you will entice trust and will most likely increase your “follow rate”.
Your profile picture is one of the things people will see first while visiting your page, but most importantly, it is what they will see in their streamline if they follow you.
Here are a few advice to have an attractive profile picture on Twitter and build your personal brand:
- Don’t use a logo – Twitter is not about companies, it’s about people! Potential followers are more likely to follow a real person that a company.
- Smile – it seems like an easy one but many people don’t smile on their profile picture
- Be consistent – use the same profile picture as you use on other social sites to build continuity. This helps you solidify your personal brand.
- Be consistent (again) – do not change your profile picture every week. Your followers will be used to seeing your face and they might be confused if you change your avatar all the time.
Show Off With A Slick Background Image
This is the very first thing potential followers are going to see, so don’t hesitate to show off! If you’re serious about your personal branding, you should really consider getting a good Twitter background.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a graphic artist; there are many sites out there that allow you to create Twitter backgrounds in less than 2 minutes:
- www.TwitBackgroundImages.com ( I own this site)
- etc… Google it for more options…
If you’re really serious about it, I suggest you get a custom background designed for you or your company. I partnered with an amazing designer to offer custom Twitter backgrounds for less than $70. You can find more information about it here if you’re interested.
Your Bio Is A Mini Resume
Think of your bio as your resume in just 160 characters. You should give a good description of who you are and what you do by trying to be as descriptive as you can.
The bio is one of the few things I really pay attention to when I look at someone’s profile because I know it gives me a pretty good impression of who this person really is, and what I can expect from him/her.
This is my bio. It tells everything I want people to know about me:
Founder of the iPhone Download Blog, and serial tweeter with a healthy addiction for blogging, SEO, surfing, and traveling.
Warning: stay away from these words: guru, social media, expert. Gurus and experts don’t call themselves as such. Let other people call you this. Besides, social media doesn’t mean much these days.
Link to A Personalized Page On Your Site
Most people will link to their homepage. That’s fine. A better way to do it is to create a personalized page on your site to welcome your Twitter friends who click on the link on your profile. From there, you can introduce yourself in more than 160 characters and most importantly, you can set some expectations for your future followers.
I had a very good feedback from people by implementing such a landing page.
Warning: Do not link a sales page or anything pushy. Doing so is the best way to scare people away and miss out on a potential follower.
You don’t want to lie or make up a funny location. I’m from San Diego, and that’s what my profile shows (unless I am traveling). Don’t write something such as “everywhere” or “universe”. This is stupid and might do more harm than good to your follow rate.
Showing your real location is an important point as it might help you meet or get in touch with people in your area.
What Says You?
Obviously there is no right way to go about it. You are free to do whatever you want with your Twitter profile page. I just think these are “best practices” that might make you look more presentable on Twitter.
What do you think?