The Importance of your Bio and Profile

by Jeffrey M. Welch

Check out the Twiterversity guide for more.

If you want to attract a following on Twitter, you MUST pay careful attention to your bio, profile image, and your header image. These are three critical elements of your Twitter profile, they will either hurt you or help you. In my mind, there is no neutral here.

You may have heard of the concept of "personal branding". These elements of your Twitter profile are your best means of make a quick impression on someone who might choose to follow you. You want to connect with them quickly and accurately.

The Bio

The bio in Twitter is hugely important. It is also very short. Twitter lets you write a 160 character bio,
that is 20 more than a standard tweet, but it isn't really much. It is right around 30 words! You need to choose them very carefully and hit the really important things that you are going to Tweet about. It definitely not a full resume, be brief with everything.

As long as these are related to what you are tweeting about, consider including:
  • your job type or industry
  • your interests that relate to what you are going to Tweet
  • some kind of professional qualification if it is widely recognized (initial are great)
  • a relevant link (do you have a blog or homepage related to your Tweeting?)

Some people include family, religious, or political affiliations. I tend to avoid these. If you post about these topics it is fine to include them, but if your blog is industry focused I would leave these out.

The Profile Image

There are different kinds of profile images out there. Twitter accounts representing businesses or organizations tend to have a picture of a product or an organization logo. That is fine, but if you are representing yourself as a person it should be a picture of you, and only you. A candid picture or selfie in your work environment would be great. But before you put a picture up, think of who your target friends and followers are? If you are going for a professional Twitter account, a picture of you at the beach probably isn't a great choice unless your profession is surfing. So choose a good picture that reflects your appearance and is appropriate for the audience you are targeting. Some people use pictures taken in a studio, these seem overly sterile and should probably be avoided.

In a profile image, remember to use an image that:
  • looks professional
  • is clear and in focus
  • would be desirable to friends and followers

The Header Image

Of the three main elements of your profile, your header image is probably the least important. However, don't ignore it. It gives you another opportunity to share some insight into who you are, or what you like. Whatever you choose to put here, it should say something about you and your interests. Show something that is personal, that you made, or that is about a place or topic that is significant to you. Some users use the header to push a product (a book for example), I am not a fan of this, it feels to much like an advertisement.

Branding

If you are active on several social networks or a blog. Consider using some commonality between them. I use the same header on Twitter that is the background on my blog, and I use the same profile image on Twitter, G+, and other places. This helps users to connect that they are dealing with the same person/group since you use the same imagery in multiple places. When possible, try to keep your usernames the same too (though this can be difficult).

Check out the Twiterversity guide for more.