At MTM we have worked with hundreds of businesses to maximize their profile for growth. We've learned a thing or three about what works, with huge amounts of data verified by our machine learning platform, and we're now happy to share it all together in a blog post.
We’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what social media users do. In just seconds, Tweeters decide if you’re worthy of a follow — or not. Poor quality profile picture? Not following anyone? Confusing bio? See ya. Adios. Your potential customers are headed back to the endless abyss of cat memes, never to be heard from again.
If you want to win over those Twitter users and earn the chance to build a relationship with them, you need a profile that begs to be followed. Creating it might seem overwhelming (especially if you’re starting from scratch!), but we’ve laid out a step-by-step guide below based on our experience helping hundreds of businesses and individuals to grow on Twitter.
When working with a new customer, our first step is analyzing their online presence, and a poor Twitter Bio is the most common issue we come across. A Bio that is unclear, missing key information, or just not compelling is a sure way to lose potential customers and fans. With just seconds to convince someone that you deserve their interest, it’s critical that your bio is complete and lets users learn about you quickly. There are four parts to a great bio:
Unlike Twitter handles, Twitter names are not required to be unique and can be changed anytime. Your display name should generally be clear and simple- your name if a personal account (e.g. John Smith) or your company name (e.g. ABC Tech Solutions) if a corporate account. Of course, creative names relevant to your industry, such as 'Pizza Perfectionist' or 'Yoga Matt' can work well too, just make sure they are on-topic, on-brand, and easy to spell!
The actual textual bio is super important to tell your story to all who may come across your account. Anyone who clicks on your profile, who sees your account in search results or a Twitter list, or who receives a notification that mentions you may see your bio. This is a golden opportunity to engage and impress. You can’t count on someone clicking on your website and finding the About section to learn about you!
Quite often we see this space left blank or filled with a few that don’t really explain what that company does. Being cute and clever is great, but your priority needs to be saying who you or your company are as clearly and descriptively as possible in the allotted 160 characters. Be punchy, use a grabber, and put your best foot forward. And yes, keywords in your bio also boost your chances of being found in a Twitter search :-)
This bio isn't ideal as it does not use the name of the company, explain what the company does, or provide a link to learn more.
This updated version clearly states who this company is and what they do. It also provides a location and a website for Twitter users to learn more.
If people do get curious to learn more, having them click to your website is the best next step, so don't waste this opportunity. Add the URL of your website, and make it as clean and clear as possible. Remove extraneous tech gobbledygook, use any branded capitalization for readability, and unless otherwise necessary link to your homepage to keep it short and memorable!
For example in our case, instead of
Don't worry, Twitter will still make it a clickable link! (as will almost all email, text and IM apps, if people are getting your profile sent in one of those.)
If your website hasn’t launched yet or if you don't have a website, it's still highly recommended to provide a link to some place of yours where people can learn more- it's an opportunity, so need to let it pass you by. Try adding your business's Facebook page, YouTube channel, LinkedIn Profile, Soundcloud link, or other established social or industry presence. To look legitimate, you need something that says you exist outside of the Twittersphere.
There are some great advanced techniques we use to track referrals and conversion rates from our Twitter marketing efforts, but we'll leave those for an upcoming blog post :-)
This little piece of info makes your profile just that much more complete and legit-looking. It’s especially important for Local businesses of course, but whether it's a city, state, country or even a virtual or global location, usually it can help others better understand and engage with you.
Standard-issue 'eggs' (Twitter's default image if you don't upload your own) and blurry selfies just won’t do here. Make a good first impression with images that are clear and fit the space well with the right aspect ratio. It takes a bit of extra work, but makes all the difference in making your profile look professional and trustworthy!
Since this image will be shown next to everything you tweet, not to mention in all Twitter listings, pages, emails etc., it is the image that Tweeters will most associate with your brand. Make it count! Personal profiles should be a picture of you, preferably that displays your smiling face in a clear and recognizable way. Brand profiles should be a square-cropped logo. The suggested dimensions are 400 x 400 pixels.
This is that humongous space at the top of your profile, introduced by Twitter a couple of years ago, that many people understandably aren't sure what to do with. At 1500 x 500 pixels —a 3:1 aspect ratio, but higher resolution is better to avoid pixelation if Twitter has to blow your image up— you need to make sure that the image is specifically made to fit there. Any other size image will be pulled, stretched, squished, and just not look right.
If your Photoshop skillz aren't 'mad' quite yet, one easy approach is with a tool like Canva, which lets you choose an existing template and add your images, text, and a background.
Now let's look at a before-and-after comparison:
Oops! The profile pic was intended to show this app's icon but got cut off! And the header image also got a bad crop and, being low resolution, is pretty blurry and pixelated in some areas.
The updated profile features a clean, square cropped logo and a clear header photo that fills the space nicely and includes some clean but punchy marketing copy to boot.
I know what you're thinking- "Susie, I'm trying to get followers, not just follow other people."
Yes, I hear ya :-) However, following at least a number of relevant people is actually important. A bit of "give and ye shall receive" applies. Not only gives your brand new profile that nice lived in look, but it shows people that you’re interested and ready to engage with them.
Especially if your account is fairly new, but even if it isn't, seeing a profile that isn't following anyone or just a few people sends the wrong signal. Newbie, self-centered, stuck up, whatever it is, you want no part of that! Following a healthy number of people is not for chumps, it's part and parcel of being a good community member. And yes of course, we very much encourage not just to follow some relevant people but actually engage them and build relationships- but much more on that in a future post.
How do you choose who to follow? That is a whole art in itself that we will also cover. But simple ways include:
Follow 5-10 key people in your space, then see who they follow, Retweet etc. and follow some of those
Try influencer tools like Klout or SocMetrics.
Of course, it's important to keep balance between the number of people you follow and your number of followers, but that's no reason not to follow a dozen or two relevant folks. This has the added benefit of being able to follow the conversation already happening in your industry, of course!
It’s pretty unlikely that people will follow or continue to follow someone who hasn’t tweeted recently, even though a hefty 44% of Twitter accounts have never sent a single tweet. Twitter has been referred to as an online cocktail party. Being on Twitter and not tweeting is the digital equivalent of going to a party and sitting awkwardly in the corner.
We'll share many more tips about tweeting soon, but the main one is to do as the Nike swoosh says and Just Do It. Tweet from the heart. Retweet some of your space's leaders (i.e. some you're following from the section above). Don't be overly salesy or self-promotional, especially at first.
For new accounts, we recommend having at least 20 tweets before you start seriously engaging people, else you may look too new and not quite trustworthy for them to respond. Twitter is quick-paced and news-based, so you need to look active. Even if you’re not new, make sure you don’t let your Twitter account collect digital dust.
Last year Twitter added a feature that allows you to “stick” any of your tweets to the top of the page. This helps to make sure that your most important message doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. A good pinned tweet lets users know who you are or gives an example of what you’re going to be tweeting about. It can be a clear description with a CTA (Call To Action) or, if your account is more established, a recent tweet that got a good response (RTs, @replies etc.) from your followers.
A great pinned tweet that tells potential followers about the people behind the company and what they do.
Twitter Profile Rockstars
We've covered a lot in this post, probably much you new and hopefully some new ideas! We'll leave you with a few folks that hit all the right points in making their Twitter profile engaging, compelling, and yes, follow-worthy.
@SavvySexySocial - Amy Schmittauer of Savvy Sexy Social not only clearly states Triple S's mission in her bio, she smartly utilizes the header image and pinned to tweet to promote an upcoming tour.
@Tablelist - Tablelist's profile picture is a perfectly sized logo that- while minimalist- plays on their on-demand VIP table reservation concept. They also lists the cities where they have venues, so readers know where you can use their app.
@Mashable - Mashable's header image is full of illustrations of the topics they cover. This is not only a fun way to show Tweeters what kind tweets to expect, but the choice to use cartoons also speaks to who the brand is.