I avoided Twitter for a long time. I thought it was nothing more than a bunch of Facebook statuses. And really, did I care that my friend was eating a hamburger?
When I finally did join Twitter, I was amazed. In just six months, I’ve ended up with free books, connected with some of my favorite bloggers, and been offered guest posting opportunities.
Twitter offers you the same opportunity to connect with readers and authors, if you’ll take it. But, you want to put your best foot forward. Here’s how to set up a Twitter profile.
1. Choose a professional name & handle
While it’s best if these can be the same (for example, Rachelle Gardner’s twitter handle is @RachelleGardner), sometimes it’s not possible. Keep your name your real name (or company name if it’s an organizational Twitter account), and choose an appropriate, memorable Twitter handle (for example, Seth Godin’s Twitter handle is @ThisIsSethsBlog). Avoid using numbers (i.e., JohnSmith1). If needed, you can use underscores (i.e., John_Smith). By all means, avoid something like @Rainbows4392!
2. Choose a professional photo for your avatar
I recommend having a professional author portrait for your avatar. This is the picture that your followers will be seeing the vast majority of the time!
3. Header background
Make sure your header coordinates with your branding. It can be either a solid color or a picture. The main things to be careful of are that your header doesn’t either 1) clash with your profile picture or 2) make it difficult to read your bio.
To change your header (and background), click on the “settings wheel” in the upper right of the screen and click “edit profile.” From there you’ll be able to make your changes, and don’t forget to click “Save Changes” when you’re done!
- Want to make sure that you’re putting your best Twitter foot forward? Click to Tweet!
- Make sure your Twitter profile says “professional” and not “amateur.” Click to Tweet!
- What makes a Twitter profile look polished? Here’s the answer. Click to Tweet!
- Want to connect on Twitter? How your profile can make a good impression. Click to Tweet!
- Is your website on your Twitter profile? Are you hiding your Tweets from the public? Click to Tweet!
4. Main Background
You can do a lot of things with your background, just don’t keep the default! Try matching the background to your professional author website design, or upload a picture of your book (just make sure the picture isn’t hidden behind content boxes!).
Make sure that your background doesn’t clash with your header background or make your profile look too busy. Here are some examples of good header/background combinations.
5. Bio includes key words
This is both for new followers and for Google search. Include words that describe what kind of writing you do, as well as a brief summary of your work. Here are a couple good examples:
Michael Hyatt: Public speaker. Author of the New York Times bestseller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. I share links on leadership, productivity, and social media.
Liz Curtis Higgs: Love encouraging my sisters at women’s conferences, exploring the Bad Girls of the Bible, and writing Scottish historical novels.
6. Include website!
Don’t forget to include your author website URL. Easy way to get some more traffic directed to your site! Just stick it in in the “website” field in the profile settings.
7. Make sure you’re visible!
None of your hard work will matter if you make yourself invisible to your fans or search engines. Twitter profiles are set to public by default. If you’ve protected your tweets in the past, you can change the settings in your account settings by unchecking “Protect My Tweets.”
Bonus tip: Don’t connect your account to Facebook.
It’s tempting to cut down on the time sent on social media by having all your tweets post automatically to Facebook. Resist the urge. Facebook and Twitter are different social networks with different rules.
While ten tweets a day is good, ten Facebook posts a day is annoying. And if you tweet a lot, the “annoying” factor on Facebook skyrockets! Plus, your Facebook fans may think you’re not really engaging with them. Do yourself a favor and resist the urge.
What have you done with your Twitter profile? What changes are you going to make? What questions do you have?