What Makes a Twitter Profile Good?
What makes a Twitter profile good? Some people think what makes a Twitter profile good is the followers. I like to look deeper than that. In this post, I’ll share a few tips on how to set up your account and engage well.
You already know how to set up your Twitter account (If you don’t, go here.) But now you want to know if your account is professional. In other words, does your Twitter profile look good?
Not only will this article review how you set up your own account, but these points will help you decide who to follow, hire, or do business with that person or brand. For in-depth detail on Twitter Strategy, you’ll want to read the book or blog post, “The Definitive Guide to Twitter Marketing.“
“The way you describe yourself on Twitter has everything to do with how people perceive you online. So how the heck do you do it right?” Buffer
Your Twitter Bio Should Be Clear
Your bio should make sense. What is it that you do? Does your 96-year-old grandmother understand it?
Your account should have a header, a clear photo, a website, and a bio. Your bio should be clear to people outside of your niche and be optimized for keywords. Don’t waste too much of your 160 characters on hashtags unless you really want it.
“Just as you would when optimizing a Web page for search engines, when you write your Twitter bio think about your desired spheres and include words and phrases about them. A touch of personality is helpful, too.” Convince & Convert
Your photo, header, and bio should be complete before you start following people. As a bonus, I also look to see if you’ve created lists.
More about your bio here:
Here are Examples Of Good Twitter Profiles
Here’s Carol Stephen’s Twitter profile. She’s got a very healthy setup and has been a user since 2009.
- She has a header photo that is relevant. It’s the baseball diamond for the SF Giants. She’s in the Bay Area.
- Her photo is recognizable even on mobile. At least half of Twitter users are on mobile and there your Twitter avatar is about 1 cm squared. That’s pretty small.
- Her bio makes sense. It tells you something about her hobbies and her business. (She is a gym mouse and a conscious soul.) But also, she blogs for startups (what she does). Bonus points for her Amazon Author Page and Twitter Chat info.
- Location is filled in and makes sense. It’s not vague or a GPS number. Seriously, stop it.
- Link is her website.
- She follows over 18,000 people and has 23,400 followers. This is good. Personally, I aim for a 1:1 ratio because Twitter is one of the only social networks that enforces following/follower ratios.
- She has lists.
- Bonus points for a pinned tweet from the last Twitter chat.
Here is an example from a business account, my friends at Blue Steele Solutions.
- The header photo is branded and matches their website.
- They are using a square version of their logo–the image of which is reinforced on their header photo and, of course, website.
- Their bio tells you they are a branding agency. Bonus points for identifying their company-wide love of tacos.
- Location is accurate.
- Link is her website.
- They follow 2,823 and have 2,851 followers. This is great for a newer account like theirs. (Seriously, the first 1,000 followers are the hardest. I’d aim for growth near 1,000 a year if you spend two hours a day.)
- They have lists.
- Bonus points for a pinned tweet going back to their website.
Why does following back on Twitter matter?
Social media is about connection and engagement. If you’re only following 30 people, because you don’t want your home feed cluttered, then why not use lists? Not following people back communicates that followers are not valuable to you. Is that how you want to start off meeting people?
A Word About Vanity Metrics on Twitter
This is where we talk about vanity metrics. That is, x amount of followers as social proof. Does it matter?
This is a “it depends” territory. If you’re a self-professed social media guru with less than 1,000 followers and you’ve been on Twitter since 2007, maybe I don’t believe it. And I get the whole, “a cobbler’s children have no shoes” axiom. I mean, I haven’t blogged here in a month. I get it. The day job tends to take away all of our attention.
To me, the ratio and engagement say more about whether they’re good at social. So, that’s my segue.
Good Engagement on Twitter
If vanity metrics are only a shadow of social proof, then the actual proof is in the eating — I mean tweeting.
I like to see a good mix of tweets, retweets, and replies. I call this granola.
If you only have oats in your granola, it’s just uncooked oatmeal. A good granola needs nuts, oats, and probably carob chips. A healthy mix. Or take salad if you like that better. Iceberg lettuce does not a salad make. You at least need carrots and tomatoes. And do you have to beg for croutons? Come on. But I digress.
To audit an account (yours, for example) look at the Tweets and Replies Tab. For Carol, this would be here.
Note: on mobile, all of the tweets, saved the pinned tweet, are mixed together. This is why I think it’s even more important to have a healthy mix.
She’s replying to people, sharing her own content, sharing other’s content, and retweeting (bonus points for old school retweet, too).
Response Time On Twitter
If you tweet someone and they respond six months later, I’d say that’s not a healthy account. Now, that’s not obvious from a cursory (visual) audit. Let it be a cautionary tale. Social Media Managers may come and go (are you paying them enough?) but it’s your account, company, brand. You should care the most.
No one can care more about your account than you. My friend Robert Nissenbaum even goes as far as to say that outsourcing your social isn’t authentic. On this we disagree, but he’s partially right. That person should be you or your brand.
Being on Brand on Twitter
Some people think that replies and retweets are off-brand. Firstly, I’d say that it’s rarely true.
Secondly, I’d say that you should follow parallel industries. For contractors, follow real estate brokers and local businesses. For social media managers, follow website developers. For WordPress plugin authors follow developers and businesses that would use your plugin. You get it.
Showing more than one dimension is not only a demonstration that you “get social media” but it’s social.
Have you ever gone out to dinner with someone who wouldn’t shut up about themselves? How often do you repeat that?
If your brand is human, your conversations on Twitter are inherently “on brand.” Interaction is how we build relationships. Relationship marketing matters for brand building and, therefore, business building.
Make Your Twitter Stand Out
- Completely fill out your bio. You have 160 characters. Make them count.
- Tweet your own content on a regular basis.
- Pin a tweet leading to your website.
- Spend time replying to people.
- Share other people’s content in a new tweet.
- Respond to tweets. Thank people who share your content.
- Be a polite, human being. That’s never off-brand.
Need Help? Get A Twitter Audit
I do offer a Twitter Audit for a very low price if you’d like more specific advice for your company.
Thank you so much for featuring me in your post! I really enjoyed reading it, and not just because it was about me. You’re such a good storyteller, and you give so many good examples, too. People love examples!
Thank you again for all that you do. I can’t believe you wrote this! Amazing!
You’re so very welcome. You have a love for people and a generosity that is contagious. People can learn from that. And I’m always being asked this question.
Brilliant! So much so that when I build out my Twitter workshop you’ll see lots of credit thrown your way!
Oh wow. Sounds like fun. I’d love to teach a workshop one day. Thanks, Robert.
Bridget- Excellent nuggets! Thank you for writing this article. It came at a time when I am about to start learning use of Twitter..
That’s so good to hear, Jasmine. Take it one step at a time. You’ll do a great job.
Thank you again, Bridget! You can bet that I’ll be sharing this post, too. (And by the way who’s calling whom “generous”? lol) Love it!
You’re the best.
Love, love, love this! You rock Bridget 🙂 and always tell it like it is!
Thanks for your support, Sandy. Carol and Heather have great profiles to highlight.
Thank you so much for featuring us in your post! Sorry, would have gotten here sooner, but it was finals week 😛
My number one all-time favorite piece of advice from this post is the following: FILL. OUT. YOUR. BIO.
SO frustrating to try to figure out if your account is real or not — fill our your $*%& bio and I’ll know you’re real!
Congrats on finals. You’re right. So many neglect the basics.
Fantastic primer post, Bridget! Great examples, too!
Thank you, Jen Miller.
Hmmm, I must admit the even though I have lists, I don’t know how to use them successfully. Perhaps I should do some homework in that area. Thanks Bridget.
Patricia, try using them in Hootsuite. Hootsuite is free for up to three accounts.
I have not yet started using Twitter list effectively. Since my followers are growing may be now it is the right time to start using them effectively now.
I would love to have your thoughts on the following:
1) Some Twitter profiles will not have their bio filled and there profile picture will be of a celebrity. These accounts are basically fake accounts. How do you handle such followers? Do you block them or follow them back or do you ignore them??
2) There are some Twitter profiles who will follow you. When you check their account, you will see that their field is completely different then yours. In that case what do you suggest to do??
3) What is your opinion when Twitter profiles follow you and then within a span of 24 hours they unfollow you?
Great article Bridget.. Keep writing..
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.
1. I block spammers.
2. I follow everyone who isn’t selling Twitter followers or porn. Maybe just don’t list them. You never know who the person is behind the account and who they know. They may seem irrelevant, until you need them.
3. Those people don’t understand Twitter. I unfollow them. I unfollow people who unfollow me. I log into who.unfollowed.me every Monday.
Hope that helps.
Thanks Bridget for your reply
For people who are not associated with your field do you put them in a list?
I have got a more clear picture on what to do with my Twitter followers.
Yes I have used unfollow long time back.. May be I need to log in again and start using it more frequently.
If they live in my geographic area, I will list them.
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