Since Twitter’s focus is on saying a lot with very little, it makes sense that the Twitter profile space is very brief and the default settings leave little room to present yourself in detail. It’s also the first and last thing potential followers will see before deciding to click “Follow” or to click away from your profile. Here’s a few tips to customize your profile so that potential followers will be convinced they can’t miss your Tweets!
1. Create a Custom Profile Page Background
Since the visual impact of your Twitter background is the strongest tool you have available, customize it to give people an eyeful of who you are.
You can make your own image on your computer and upload it under Settings – Design – Change Background Image. The first 200-250 pixels width on the left hand side is a great place to put additional profile information and list websites.
For a quick solution, you can create just the sidebar (250×700) as your background image with “no tile” selected. Then, modify the rest of the Twitter color scheme to complement it. You can use the first 200 pixels from the top for your picture or “header” for a possible logo and tagline.
The rest of the 400-500 vertical pixels should be used to tell others what you’re about and most importantly, what you’re looking for. Are you using Twitter to get business? To gather ideas for a project? To get feedback from customers? This is the best place to reflect your interests and other facets of your professional life if necessary, so that others can see it immediately.
Alternatively, you can use it to tell people how best to contact you like @garyvee who encourages people to email him instead of sending a Direct Message on Twitter.
Still not sure about the dimensions? You can use Browser Shots to see what it will look like on different screen sizes and browsers.
For an in-depth look at how to create a custom Twitter background, read the Twitip article – Make a Good Impression with a Custom Twitter Background.
Also check out these resources on Background images”
- Boinblog provides two different Photoshop templates to download, or you can create your own!
- Several templates for free at TwitterBacks
Other interesting uses of Twitter backgrounds:
2. Create a Twitter Landing Page as your “Web”URL
@pistachio had a great tip for this months ago when she created a “Twitter landing page” instead of sending users to the front page of your website. Advertisers create custom landing pages for different markets, so why not treat your Twitter audience differently, too? You can create one that explains to potential followers how you use Twitter and how to interact with you.
Some things you may want to include on your Twitter landing page:
- who you are / an abbreviated intro with a link to your more detailed About page, if available
- how you use Twitter (including frequency of Tweets, topics and if you use Twitter to tweet your new blog posts)
- your “follow” policy and how others should contact you if they want you to follow them back (with a “@user hello,” for example).
See Laura’s (@pistachio’s) Twitter Landing Page (Who is @pistachio?) as an example of this.
3. Use a Profile Picture that Reinforces Your Brand (You!)
Keeping your profile pictures consistent across all your social networks will help people find you and recognize you online as well as offline. A picture of you with a hat obstructing your face or you in your Halloween costume should probably be swapped out for a picture that looks like you almost all of the time. A hard-to-recognize picture may result in users squinting at it and clicking away instead of clicking “Follow.”
Of course, using a photo of your face may not be the only way to be “recognizable”:
@photomatt Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of Wordpress, has a profile picture which is simple a bright pink square. It’s certainly recognizable in a Twitter lineup, but unless you’re on magazine covers like he is, you’ll want to use your picture as a way for people to identify you and to create a visual and hopefully emotional connection with your Tweets even if they haven’t met you in-person.
If your company has a memorable logo (and you have the permission to display it) you may consider using it to increase brand recognition. Note that this is best when the content of your Tweets is close to your company’s mission/communication strategy.
4. Utilize your Profile “Bio” to your Best Advantage.
Be clever, be witty, or just be yourself! In a few words, sum up who you are and make it sound interesting. Since that’s what Twitter is all about, writing an intriguing Bio in such a small space shouldn’t be hard. Here’s also another opportunity point your audience somewhere. If you are going to point users to a site that is not your website or Twitter landing page, I recommend putting it here so that users see the entire URL instead of in your Web link which gets cut off. Transparency is always best.
@jowyang uses his Bio to give a brief explanation of who he is and points those interested to an article he wrote “How I use Twitter.”
5. Break up any @ Reply Marathons with Useful Tweets
If your potential follower is still on your profile page, and they’re not yet convinced about following you, they are going to check what you’ve been tweeting recently. Hopefully, they won’t see a sea of @ replies, which might insinuate that you spend a lot of time in micro-conversations that they may be left out of if they follow you.
I recommend breaking up any @ reply marathons with some useful, wide-audience tweets, share links or re-tweet a fellow Twitterer’s useful link.
For more on @replies ettiquette, read the Twitip article Twitter as Dinner Conversation: A Guide to Using Replies.
How would you personalize your Twitter profile to encourage newcomers to follow you?