I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter lately – both on my own accounts and working with clients to help build and leverage theirs. On Twitter, as with other social media, your profile rules. Those few words you say about yourself really help to position you in the social media space and send an important message to followers and potential followers. One of the most common – and sometimes puzzling – errors I see on Twitter (interestingly, not quite so often on LinkedIn) is misguided use of the Twitter profile.
I think it’s critical that Twitter profiles are designed to be consistent with the individual or organization’s existing desired brand identity and in consideration of their overall communication objectives. It is really the same process that should be used when designing any communication. I always tell clients and students that the two most critical questions when developing communications of any kind, for any audience are: who is my desired audience (be very specific!) and what do I want them to do, think, believe (objectives).
A Twitter profile is just one element of what is hopefully a multi-faceted communication approach in support of the brand – whether building a personal brand or a business brand. So, in terms of look and feel it’s important that the profile is consistent with other images – e.g. logo, colors, etc. As far as the content of the profile it should be designed from the desired audience’s perspective in terms of what would be important for them to know/understand to drive the desired objectives. Links are helpful due to the limited space and need to quickly connect with the audience.
When developing your profile, I’d recommend approaching it from the standpoint of an “elevator speech” – briefly, what is it that you do that represents value to your target audience? The link to your web site can then further support that brief bit of information. While it’s okay, and often advisable, to include a few personal details, be careful here. You don’t want those personal details to send a message or create an image that is disconnected from your desired brand. Sometimes that happens.
Another important point – always, always include a profile picture. This can be your logo, but don’t just overlook including an image; that marks you as an amateur. And be cautious in your use of avatars unless they mirror your brand.
Your profile – on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook – establishes who you are and creates a first impression that leads others to decide whether you’re someone worth connecting to. Take the time to give some careful consideration to what you want your audience to know, think or believe about you and make sure that however you handle this through social media is consistent with what you’re doing through all of your communication channels.