Set up your Twitter profile correctly, and you’ll attract more followers. The failure to do this is the biggest mistake I see new Tweeps make. Personally, I don’t follow people who don’t follow these guidelines, because they are more likely to turn into a spammy porn account. First impressions matter, so here are some quick tips about how to set up your profile so that the right people will follow you back.
Start with your banner – the picture that goes across the top of your page. Twitter will tell you that this needs to be 1500 pixels by 500 pixels. Just be aware that not all of your banner is going to be visible. If you don’t want to mess around guessing what’s visible and what’s not, try Snappa. Unless you’re going to start making banners for hundreds of people, it’s a free tool and will let you see exactly how your banner will look on your Twitter page when it’s completed.
The next stop is your profile picture. Twitter recommends that it be 400 pixels by 400 pixels. I prefer to see a picture of you smiling. This makes it easier for me to interact with you. (By the way, there’s research that says that you should pay attention to my preference.) Make sure your picture easy to recognize when it’s smaller. When I come to your page to retweet one of your posts, I’m scanning your feed very quickly. Pictures that are too dark or that lack detail are hard to distinguish. If it’s too hard, to find one of your posts, I may leave without retweeting you.
Probably the most important thing on your Twitter profile, is your bio. You’ve got 160 characters to tell me who you are and why I should follow you. Make it memorable. When I get my list of new followers, the first thing I do is read the bios. If your bio tells me that you are offering something I’m interested in, then I will prioritize visiting your profile. Leave it blank, and you go to the bottom of my list. Put something cryptic or non-descriptive, and my first impression is that you aren’t serious.
Less important parts of your profile: Make sure you take advantage of the ability to list your web site. Tell me what part of the world you live in – just a state (in the US) or a country gives me a context in relating to you.
OK, you’re set up, but you’re still not ready to start following people. Begin tweeting, so that you establish a feed that I can read to see whether you are someone I want to follow. If you’re a writer, make sure that you’re tweeting about writing. You can tweet the link to a great blog post you just read, a cool quote about writing, and a link to your own site. Use some common writing hashtags and retweet some people that you admire. Mix it up. Don’t post just quotes or just retweets of other people’s updates.
Once you’ve got 10 or 15 tweets spread over several days on your feed, pick one that links back to your book or your blog and pin it to your profile. That’s the first thing I’ll see when I come to your page, and it makes it easy for me to retweet something that helps you.
Now you’re ready to start following people. If you follow me, I love it if I come to your page and see that you’ve recently retweeted something that I posted. That’s human nature, right? So choose your retweets strategically as you are out there following your new friends.
Wait! There’s some things you should know about following people, too.
Whatever you do, don’t send me or anyone else an automatic DM when they follow you. I can’t believe how many people still do this. This is like holding up a sign on a freeway off ramp begging for money. Don’t do it.
Don’t use the service that makes me verify that I’m a real person before you’ll let me follow you back. I’m not going to do that.
Don’t use automation to greet every person who follows you back. It clogs up your feed and makes it hard for us to see your actual tweets.
I’ve got some great tips for you on smart use of automation to free you up for actual interaction with your tweeps. I’ll save that for another post.
What’s your favorite tip for getting your Twitter profile ready for prime time?