Your Twitter profile is important.  It’s generally the first thing people look at when they find you on Twitter. Your profile most likely determines whether or not someone will follow you, so why wouldn’t you optimize your Twitter profile?

While the purpose of Twitter is to be brief…

“We came across the word ‘twitter,’ and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information.’” - Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, in an LA Times interview.

…There is still a lot of thought that should go into your tweets and your overall presence on the social media platform.

Make sure you optimize your Twitter profile by focusing on these five things:

1. Your Twitter handle. What comes after that “@” symbol should be significant. It should make sense, for starters. A simple but effective handle: your company name. Makes sense, right?

However, your handle can only be 15 characters. If your company name is a bit more lengthy you are going to have to get creative and/or make some recognizable abbreviations. Recognizable being key.

Another factor to keep in mind is search terms.  Think of something someone would search for on Twitter. For example, if I wanted to be found on Twitter only as a social media resource, I may have my handle be @MLeiterSocial. (It’s not- it’s @mfearon4 incase you were wondering. ;) )

2. Your bio. Are you now torn between making your handle searchable and your company name? This next part may help.  The words you put in your bio on Twitter will also help you show up in Twitter search results. If you want to be found for certain search terms, make sure those are included in your bio.

However, you only have 160 characters. Use that space to clearly define exactly who you are. Remember the perfect short story by Ernest Hemingway? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Aim to achieve greatness in as few characters as possible.

While this is no work of Hemingway, see True Emporium’s Twitter profile below:

optimize your twitter profile

You will notice the included keywords with the use of hashtags. I’ve done this for the added purpose of people searching with hashtags. If you don’t include hashtags, i.e. if I had just used the word “furniture,” True would still eventually show up in search results.  But because I used “#furniture” True will be an EXACT match for someone who searches “#furniture” and may show up search results sooner.

Hashtags or no hashtags, a keyword or two would be beneficial to include.

3. Location & link. This is the easiest step on this list and will hopefully take the least amount of time. Include a location. If one specific location like San Francisco, CA doesn’t apply to your business, pick a geographical location that does!

Does one state? (California.) Does one region? (The West Coast.) Does one country? (United States.) Are you a global company? (The World.) You can get clever if you have to, but do not forget to include this.  ESPECIALLY if you are in a specific location.  This will also help you get found.

Next, put a link to your website.  While you are hopefully getting across a bunch of relevant information in your profile, 160 characters probably doesn’t explain everything you want to say to someone interested in your company.  Ideally, that’s what your website does.

4. Followers.  Follow relevant people but don’t follow too many relevant people.  I’m sure some of you have seen those desperate looking profiles out there where someone is follow 10 to 1 the amount of people following them.  Try not to go over 2 to 1.  That’s a respectable ratio, especially for someone just starting out.

Follow similar brands to your own.  Follow people in your local community (physically and/or virtually). Follow people who follow you, especially if they engage with you!  By following those similar to you and in your community, you will often be followed back by these people.  Furthermore, you may also be suggested to be followed to a user who follows brands and community members similar to you.

5. Images. There are three visually pleasing elements you need to be aware of: 1. Your profile image (81 x 81 px). 2. Your header image (520 x 260 px). and 3. Your background image.  (Unfortunately, your background image on Twitter isn’t responsive.  So the sizes vary depending on the screen size of someone viewing your profile.)

You most certainly can get creative with how you utilize this space. I would suggest your logo be your profile photo, but you can get creative and include it in another space if necessary. Remember that your header image is going to be covered by the copy in your bio and that your background image is not responsive. Therefore, sometimes I do think it’s okay to just go with a plain color for your background.

An example of a brand who’s really utilizing the visual elements of their Twitter profile inline with their brand? The fashion news source, Refinery29:

optimize your twitter profile

You’ll notice they use their logo for their profile picture, their background image is of a fashion show catwalk (totally inline with their brand) and they’ve capitalized on their background space to further promote their brand’s social accounts.

No matter what colors you use, what your bio says or what your handle is, when trying to optimize your Twitter profile make sure you keep your brand and your social media objectives at the forefront of your mind!

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