In 140 characters or less, Twitter allows you to “market yourself” as a social personality who is approachable, knowledgeable, influential and connected. Chris Brogan says “Twitter is an appetizer for who you really are and what you really represent.” This being said, everything you do on Twitter can have a positive or negative impact on the image you project. In this article, I will highlight the key elements to maximizing your personal branding on Twitter.
Show Off With Your 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 creating a custom 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. Check out my previous article about Twitter backgrounds resources for a list of websites where you can do that.
You Are What You Tweet
The quality of tweets is one thing I really pay attention to when looking at someone’s profile as it gives me a good idea of what the person is about. Many people think Twitter is similar to the “status update” on FaceBook and that is a big mistake. People are not following you on Twitter to learn about useless details of your life. That means you should avoid such tweets: “going grocery shopping”, or “I just had breakfast and now going to work”. Who cares!?
You must provide value to your followers by pointing them to interesting articles in order to build your credibility and influence on Twitter. Pointing your followers to quality and relevant information will undoubtedly help build your personal branding as followers will start seeing you as an expert in your field.
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. For example, if I see something like “I’m the best designer in the world”, I might think this guy has a big mouth. If I see something such as “Taking it easy”, I might think this guy is just a lazy ass.
Put A Real Picture Of You
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. Remember, 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 build more trust and will most likely increase your “follow rate”.
If you’re going to be on many social networking sites, I think the best thing to do is to use the same picture across all your profiles. This will create consistency and it will help people identify you quicker and easier should they visit your various profiles.
Use Your Real Name
I wrote a full article on this topic so I’m just going to sum up why you should use your real name on Twitter. Don’t use a stupid username such as CrazyBee or something along these lines. Letting people know who you really are is very important for your personal branding. It will help you attract more followers because people can relate to a real person easier than they can relate to a brand or a silly nickname. My Twitter username is @sebastienpage, which is my real name.
Like your profile picture, I recommend you use the same username across all social networking sites.
Add A Link To Your Website
This is your chance to promote your website or blog. I decided to have www.SebastienPage.com show on my Twitter profile even though I have several blogs and websites, most of them being money makers. Assume people want to know about you. They don’t want to know about what you’re trying to sell.
Under the pressure of Google, Twitter added a nofollow attribute to links in bios but it’s still a great way to get free traffic to your site.
Location Location Location
Again, you don’t want to lie or show a funny location. I’m from San Diego, and that’s what my profile shows. 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.
Don’t Protect Your Updates
One big mistake you could make is protecting your updates. You’re on Twitter to get the word out (whatever word) so make yourself available to everyone.
One Last Thing…
Twitter is not a marketplace! You are not on Twitter to sell your products or services; you are on Twitter to connect, share, and make friends, ultimately building your personal branding. While it is a common practice to link to your latest blog post or article, you don’t want to promote your site all the time. The community is smart and will unfollow you as easily as it followed you in the first place.
I think that’s about it. I would love to read your comments about this article as I am sure you have great ideas on how to improve you personal branding on Twitter too. As usual, if you like this post, please subscribe to my RSS feed and follow me on Twitter.