Nick Stewart

Nick is a Traffic Expert and runs a Traffic blog:

7 Ways To Create A Professional Twitter Presence

Define Your Purpose

Before you go changing anything around on your twitter profile to make it more professional you must decide what the purpose of the account is.

Is your purpose to connect with friends and family?
Is your purpose to share important updates to customers of your store or online business?
Is your purpose to attract potential clients and to give them an understanding of why they should choose your product or service?

If your purpose is only to connect with friends and family then you don’t really need to have a professional presence in my opinion.

But if your purpose is business related then the following steps will help you create a professional presence on twitter.

Sometimes people will have a personal and a business-related purpose for using twitter. In those cases I recommend having a personal twitter account and a separate business related account on twitter.

1. Get a custom background

To create a professional presence on twitter you want to have your own unique background. The default background is used by millions of people and you want to set yourself apart.

There are many websites that will help you create a customized background for your twitter account. And the best part is that most of them are free.

To create a custom background for my twitter account I used

2. Use a picture of yourself

Twitter allows you to have a small avatar picture associated with your account and I recommend using a personal photograph for this.

It doesn’t have to be a professional headshot where your hair and makeup is perfect; it just needs to be a picture of you.

This allows your followers to connect your tweets and messages with a real person. This personal touch adds credence to what you say.

3. Your phone number

I like to post my phone number on my twitter account for all of my followers to see. When followers see a phone number listed with a twitter account it gives them confidence that if they had a problem or question there is someone they could call.

I know some of you will be uncomfortable doing this and it’s completely understandable.

But if you run a small business or work in any line of sales then you really need to have your phone number listed on your twitter account.

To my knowledge twitter does not allow you to actually list the phone number as part of your account. But you can have it be part of your background.

In the example below you can see my phone number is on the far left side:


4. List your email address

You will also want to list your e-mail address on your twitter account. Just as with phone numbers, you can’t actually list your e-mail on your account but you can include it as part of your background.

I know some of you will be concerned about posting your e-mail and receiving spam.

To deal with this I created a second e-mail address that I used specifically for my business. And this is the e-mail address that I post on my twitter account.

Luckily Gmail has a very good spam filter and so I actually get very few spam messages in my inbox each week.

5. Be professional in your tweets

People follow you for a reason. Whether it’s to hear about new products your store is offering or updates about the cause you represent, people are listening to what you say.

And the minute you deviate from that you will lose followers.

So before you post a tweet ask yourself, “Why are people following me? And is this new tweet something they want to hear about?”

If the answer is no or if you’re not sure then do not post the new tweet.

6. Tweet regularly but don’t overdo it

I will usually tweet something in the morning and then sometimes in the evening. 1 to 3 tweets today is optimal.

You want to your followers to see something from you each day but you don’t want to overdo it.
The last thing you want is for one of your followers to see that the last 20 tweets are all from you. When this happens to me I immediately unfollow the person.

7. Only follow people that you’re interested in

A popular way to get followers is to follow a whole bunch of people and hope that many of them follow you back. This results in you having 3,000 followers and you are following 3,000 people yourself.

When people see this it looks less professional. They know there is no way you can be listening to what all 3000 people are tweeting about.

On the other hand it is much more impressive if you follow just a few people and yet have hundreds of followers yourself. When people see this they are more likely to follow you in my opinion here.

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  • December 2, 2009

    “On the other hand it is much more impressive if you follow just a few people and yet have hundreds of followers yourself. When people see this they are more likely to follow you in my opinion here.”

    impressive, sure. contrived? YES! i then think the person is contrived and don’t think twice about following them. NEXT!

  • December 2, 2009

    Great post! The only point I don’t agree with is 1-3 tweets a day. I value your opinion on this but I do not think this is optimal. Some extremely successful people on twitter send updates our way all day long. You are right – seeing 20 tweets a minute from the same person is annoying. When that happens to me I also get discouraged and think that maybe someone needs a hobby ;) but three tweets a day on the other hand is definitely not enough. I think we’re all on twitter because a constant feed of tweets from people we follow is what makes it interesting, no matter what time of the day or night. It’s up to everyone’s personal preference how many tweets you want to see. If it’s overwhelming try following less people or – better solution – get TweetDeck and create groups. It works perfectly when you want to follow a lot of people but at the same time you want to pay attention to only certain people’s tweets.

  • December 2, 2009

    This is a good article and I’m glad that I have done most of these things already.

    I do disagree with you on the last point. If I see someone has hundreds of followers yet only follows 20, I’m not impressed. To me, it says that all you are concerned with is gaining followers and not willing to participate in other conversations happening. But that could just be me.

  • December 2, 2009

    Hey Nick,

    Good post. You definitely hit the main points on how to create a professional presence on Twitter.

    A couple of things.

    One, it’s important to distinguish between using Twitter professionally (commercially) versus have a professional presence. I can think of numerous Tweeple who use Twitter commercially but are quite unprofessional. And some people have very polished presences but use Twitter mainly for personal discourse.

    Second, I think that you can definitely go more than 1 to 3 updates a day. In fact, I would say this is an absolute minimum if you want to maintain interest among your followers. My rule of thumb is 8 to 10 tweets a day and I have steadily grown my followers organically this way. I think it’s especially important if your followers tend to follow more than a few hundred themselves. As you point out there is no way to listen to thousands of people. So you can raise a little bit above the crowd by having a few more tweets than you recommend, IMHO.

  • December 2, 2009

    Very useful to me. I am working with educators and biz people who need these tips. Thanks ..and I am thinking of changing my custom background..already changing my username to trishrubin as of today!And the photo..intention evolves in a NY Minute!

  • December 2, 2009

    Good advice. I am going to go in and list my phone # and e-mail. I agree with the 20 tweets in a row also!! Too much. I also don’t like the ones where people are trying to sell you something right off the bat!! We are here to learn and give good info!! Thanks!

  • December 2, 2009

    Thank you for your very informative article. As usual you have done a great job of presenting very useful information. I am going to look into twitbacks and create a background for my twitter account.


  • December 2, 2009

    thank you so much for this…………..i found it educative and interesting

  • December 2, 2009

    Great post. I think people get confused when they see people making posts about irrelevant things like what they ate for lunch and their pets. Those are OK, if you are using Twitter for personal reasons, but not really for business. I think it’s good to show a bit of your human side, but keep it very limited.

    Also, having goals will help you keep your twitter time focused, rather than just a big time waste.

  • December 2, 2009

    Super advice, Nick, which will help ensure that I stay focused on what I Twitter to provide me. Thanks.

  • December 2, 2009

    I do not agree with the last one. Do you know how many tweeps are followed @problogger? Nearly 5,000. But I think you won’t say @problogger is not professional. Whether you are professional or not depends on what you say on twitter, not how many followers or following you have.

  • December 2, 2009

    Thank you everyone for your comments. It seems like my last point has had a little disagreement which is fine. I just love to get feedback from different people.

  • December 2, 2009

    Some good points Nick but how long have you been using Twitter?

  • December 2, 2009

    There are those who follow you so you will follow them. Then, they unfollow you. Not cool.

    Then there are those who suggest you follow EVERYONE who follows you. I read that in Trust Agents. “It’s polite.” But then it is going to become, one day, impossible to keep up with the Time Line.

    I’ve just sucked it up and follow people I’m really interested in. Some of them don’t follow me. But that’s OK. It feels much better that way and I’m always learning something new each day. Rather that than having so much noise in my Timeline I ignore those few that are most important.

  • December 2, 2009

    I’ve only just started with a new twitter account for my online business. These tips are useful.

  • December 2, 2009

    These are great tips to gain more followers as well as more RTs

  • December 2, 2009

    These are really great tips for using twitter. im looking for a site that helps to create free background. Plz let me know if there are any other sites like that ?? thanx for the tips..
    Im sorry that i disagree with the point of urs.Bcoz 1-3 tweets may not be enough for many of the successful twitter marketers who use twitter all the day.One more thing many of the twitterers xpect the favour of following them back.So i do think theres no problm with that…


  • December 3, 2009

    Nice list,, and I think last tip isn’t that important, I think when people see your follower count that is what matters since seeing a high following ad followers seems to be pretty common.

    The best tip to offer with twitter is “know that you will lose followers each week”

    No matter how “clean” you use twitter t you can not make everyone happy. So knowing that you will lose some followers ,and that it’s ok, your not there to make everyone happy..

  • December 3, 2009

    Nice tips it’s definitely help me to gain more followers.

  • December 3, 2009

    Great list Nick!

    I would also add something about acknowledging quality tweets from others. Make sure to re-Tweet and share other tweets that you find valuable and interesting. This helps define your interests and values (keeping it Professional of course).

    Just a few more points about how many followers you should have. I don’t follow people if they don’t have enough following/followers. First, I think that their purposes for Twitter may be for just interacting with friends/family. So I stay away. Second, it may indicate they are not that active with Twitter. If I have time I review their Tweets to see if they are still worth following (i.e., quality tweets), but usually I don’t have the time.

    Also, I enjoy following a lot of people and creating various lists. This increases activity I can view anytime on Twitter as well as the vast reach of information out there. In order to follow more people (at least over 2,000) you are forced to get more followers to keep the ratio good. So it becomes important to get more followers. This doesn’t necessarily make a Tweeter not worthy of following.

  • December 3, 2009

    Nick forgot to mention, all forms (Name, Location, Bio) must be complete.
    I always read Bio.

  • December 3, 2009

    Here is an interesting example: a beautiful girl, a good resource and a lot of subscribers. @Dreamspacecom

  • December 3, 2009

    1. It’s too easy to use Tweetdeck or other tool to both keep an eye on a short list of those Tweeps you really want to pay attention to AND keep an eye on a broader list. There are MANY gems I see daily from folks who aren’t on my short list. Your approach would lose such richness. And this solves the “20 tweets from one person” problem.

    2. “1 to 3 tweets a day?” Sometimes a short dialogue is that many. I’m not sure it’s wise to put a hard number on something without tying it back to purpose. If YOUR purpose is to make an occasional update, very cool.

    3. As for following back… personally I like the courtesy and mutuality. Someone’s got to work hard to get on my short list, though, and that usually involves dialogue and added-value. It also means I don’t generally follow someone who follows 15 and has 135 followers because my value is connecting with you, not just listening to you. I can do that anywhere on the web.

    All told, you’ve got some good ideas. But I’m guessing you won’t be following me. ;-)

  • December 3, 2009

    I have a concern about professional tweets. It seems important to connect on a personal level with people through twitter. I am not sure what the line is between being professional and being personable. I see a wide variety among tweeps. Are there any suggestions?

  • December 3, 2009

    On #4, additionally, you can forward domain branded emails to your gmail acct and use gmails spam filtering to block unwanted email.
    On #7, I agree, and have found that there are some that I started following because twitter seemed like a big candy store with all the free information and have found that maybe I’m not all that interested in strange breeds of dogs or extreme political opinions in either direction. I don’t mean to seem rude, but I now unfollow people who just use twitter as their chat fence to the exclusion of all others.

  • December 3, 2009

    If I see someone has hundreds of followers yet only follows 20, Iā€™m not going to follow them. That says to me that all you are concerned with is people following you, with you showing no intention of interacting with them and not willing to participate in other conversations.

  • December 4, 2009

    Good points, particularly the last point Stewart.

    I have a problem at the moment where I am following too many people that I can’t keep up with everyone. However I want to follow those that I feel I can help in some way, so I follow them back or will go out of my way to follow them.

    Thankfully with the use of lists and groups I can put people into categories where I can follow people in a much easier way, but this also means I neglect others but I don’t want to be rude and unfollow those just because I’m not actually following their tweets. I will still reply and engage with them with through @replies and direct messages (which you need to be following each other to send DMs)

    So it’s a bit of a pickle! What do you think?

    Sarge |

  • December 5, 2009

    Thanks for the Twitter update… As far as following others is concerned… I see little point in simply (blindly) following everyone who follows you… In life those who try to please everyone end up pleasing no one least of all themselves…

    The answer is simple… follow those you are interested in… Those from whom you can learn from and interact with – if not all you will end up with is noise and confusion.

    Let the choice be yours regardless of what others do… if you have something to say of value people will listen…

  • December 5, 2009

    I disagree with following a few and having hundreds/thousands following you. Unless you are @espn or or something like news channels, I think it is arrogant. I generally don’t follow people lik ethat UNLESS what they put out is really important to me.

  • December 9, 2009

    Hello — This is a concrete article. I like it so much that I reference and link to it within a post I published today for the real estate industry. Thanks.

  • December 10, 2009

    Though I appreciate the desire to help people with this post, there much in it I don’t agree with.

    Content is key, not how many followers you have or what your photo or background look like. If your sharing valuable or interesting information people will connect with you even if you use an avatar and have a generic background.

    Additionally, if you want everyone and their brother to call you and email you (and you have the time to take all the calls and sort through all the email) then by all means include your phone number and email address. There’s a good chance that much of it will be of no interest to you anyway.

    Perhaps a better idea is to invite people to @ you and say hello when the begin following so you can strike up a conversation and get to know them a litter better. Invite them to @ you if they’d like to set up a time to chat with you on the phone or via IM, etc. (or build those instructions into your custom background)

    Tweet as often as you like, but let people know upfront if you’re a tweet-a-holic. Folks like Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki and myself all tweet more than three times a day and not many people are saying we over do it. After all, if people think you’re overdoing it they do have the option to unfollow.

    Finally, if you’re just starting out you won’t know who you’re interested in until you’ve followed them for a while so my rule of thumb is follow everyone until they give you a reason not to (or until you’re no longer interested in what they’re sharing).

    Happy Tweeting!

  • December 11, 2009

    Hey Nick!

    I especially agree on the last point.
    Thanks for the post.

    Cheers from Japan.

  • December 11, 2009

    I agree, 3 high quality tweets per days is fine unles syou are a celebrity or a mazine publishing original content. When I see people RT a dozen articles in a hour, I know they haven’t actually read any of them. They liked the look of the original tweet and just passed it on.

  • December 12, 2009

    Thank you, Nick! I got to this post via Twitter and so glad I did. Great info. You Rock!

  • December 12, 2009

    First I’ll echo everyone else Nick: this is a really good article, – thank you!

    ā†” I too believe in the theory of following just a few people that really interest me and yet, have hundreds of followers yourself. Dayngr (@dayngr) said it best, “Content is key”. When people see or hear about good solid content; they are more likely to follow you: – in my opinion here.

    ā†” Also, Dayngr (@dayngr) & I operate our Twitter pages similarly; I too welcome each new follower (-or as many as possible) with an @mention on my page. My goal is hopefully for them to see their name/page roll across in my stream of Tweets. I follow this up with a direct message to that person/company letting them know that I gave them a direct mention that day & thanking them for following FLAMortgages. That way they can directly see my appreciation for their finding value in my posts.

  • December 12, 2009

    Great post! Although, 1-3 tweets per day is definitely on the low side. If you have something important you want to tell or show your followers then tweet it. Don’t hold back and limit your tweets. If they unfollow you, you don’t want them as a client anyway.

  • December 12, 2009

    Call me strange..

    But for a business…

    I find a good logo as an avatar is more professional than a personal picture.

    Also…I prefer a business name that does not involve my personal name.


    1. Your own name on a business forever marks you as small.

    2. A good business name (not your name) allows for growth.

    3. You can sell your business down the road…and not have to make someone take your name off the business they just bought.

  • December 12, 2009

    8. Remember to pluck your eyebrows or use a lawnmower or whatever, before you take a lousy webcam photo. I mean, wtf? Scary.

  • December 13, 2009
    james ayonga

    I think having many followers and following very few yourself seems a little self centered. In the world of ecommerce everyone has something to learn from the next guy. Tweeter who follow very few people in my opinion are detatched and ecomerce is not the place for such a quality.

  • December 20, 2009

    Hi, Thanks for the very helpful info. I am new to Twitter and appreciate all you who give tips and insight. Biz is hard and it’s so great knowing there are those who work side by side in letting the public know who we are and what we do ; used to be called advertising I guess.Well, I am always a student!

  • December 28, 2009

    In regards to the followers… I like to reciprocate most followers, so if you follow me I’ll follow you back. I then sort out the ones I want to follow apart from the Twitter “noise” with lists.

  • January 6, 2010

    I agree with most of what you said but beg to differ on the 1-3 tweets a day. Now granted I do agree that I don’t want to see the last 20 tweets all from same person.
    Also have to disagree w/the last comment..if someone has lots & kits of followers and minimal people they follow that to me shows they’re really not communicating/building relationships with their followers.
    That said though I do have more people following me than I follow back but it’s not an insane ratio like 5000 followers and I only follow 10.
    Has to be some type of communication/relationship building conversation going on and not one sided.
    just my thoughts :)

  • January 10, 2010

    Thanks for this post. I think there are many people who could really benefit from taking your advice on Twitter. Everyone wants to use it for branding and monetisation, yet this cant be done effectively without the professional approach.


  • January 11, 2010

    With #5 I think it depends on your target audience but see no harm in doing a “non commercial” tweet once in a while. Kinda tells your followers that there is a human being behind those tweets and not a bot.

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