By Tara Lane, Staff Writer
The platform for Twitter is pretty simple – say what you want in 140 characters or less, share links you find interesting, follow other users you find interesting, and converse back and forth through mentions or direct messages. The page is straightforward – no bells and whistles – which is partly why it’s so appealing to users. For people who use Twitter for business purposes, there is another dimension to the microblogging site that can be hard to grasp without some direction: the Twitter profile. From personalizing your background to finding the right profile picture, compiling a marketable Twitter profile can be complex. Today, we’re breaking the process down and giving you five tips for developing your Twitter profile in order to get maximum results.
1. Customized Background Image
Twitter’s screen resolution and unique layout don’t give many options for traditional background pictures, so customizing one to make all of your information visible is a necessity. A customized background also helps create a branded experience, no matter if its an individual or a corporate page. A great example of a customized Twitter background can be seen on Southwest Airlines’ Twitter page. The sidebar lists important links to other social media sites where Southwest is present, as well as fun facts and recent recognitions. Although these backgrounds can’t be hyperlinked, they still provide a useful way to relay information to users, making it easier for customers and followers who don’t want to spend the time searching for the information themselves. Many sites, such as TweetBacks or TweetPlate, offer free customizable Twitter backgrounds (with standard layouts requiring you to input certain information), as well as low-cost designs that are even more personalized.
2. Analyze Your Tweets
Afraid you’re overloading your followers, or that you’re not tweeting enough to make an impact? There are dozens of services online offering free breakdowns of Twitter stats, including number of Tweets per day, hour, week and month, and other stats that may be of importance. TweetStats is an easy-to-use site that delivers these results in colorful graphs which make it very easy to analyze data.
3. Maximize Social Capital
If your following-to-follower ratio is drastically high (that is, you follow more people than are following you), you might want to consider getting rid of deadweight that may be holding you back. “Spammers” are an unfortunate reality of joining Twitter, something that the site has been working on combating for a while. Luckily, developers have come up with tools that can help you analyze your followers and give you the option of blocking them, as well as unfollowing people who may not be using Twitter anymore. Tweepular is the best tool out there for managing followers and gives great results. Although high numbers may seem like a good thing, if they’re not doing anything, they won’t be useful to you.
4. Write a Bio that will Stand Out
Your Twitter biography is 160 characters – so it’s important to make every word count. Although Twitter is a forum to be witty or sarcastic, for business purposes, it’s best to make it straightforward to lend credibility to your brand. Though nobody can write your bio for you, there are some great sites out there that give advice and show examples of how to make your bio stand out, which can actually bring more followers in. And remember – always add a link to your company’s Web site or your own blog. It lends much more credibility to your profile and can also bring in more customers.
5. Use Twitter Lists
The Twitter “lists” feature has added a whole new level to tweeting, and has made it easy to not only organize those you’re following, but enable others to benefit as well. Twitter lists doesn’t take long to set up, and you can have as many or as few as you’d like. Curious followers can take a peak into your interests, find more people at your company, and follow your entire list with just one click. There’s no limit to the number of lists you can have, or how many lists someone can be added to. In addition to benefiting those who visit your Twitter profile, lists can help organize you as a user as well, by organizing people into very specific groups, making it easier to find information and other users. Public relations pro Sarah Evans has a great list on how to utilize Twitter lists for maximum benefit.