A 5 Point Checklist For Maximizing Your New Twitter Profile

 twitter bird tweeting a hashtagIt seems like you either love the new Twitter profile, or hate it.

There’s not much ambivalence toward the new design Twitter rolled out just recently.

The haters say that it makes Twitter just that much more like Facebook; something they see as a trend. I pulled the following couple of representative tweets randomly from the #twitterprofile thread:

Have u seen the new design for Twitter profile ? Hmm looks too much like Facebook! Keep your own style Twitter! It's better! - @BernsyLuv

"Upgraded" to new Twitter profile. Looks suspiciously like FB. Will be interesting to see how next few weeks unfold as loyalists protest. - @daviesmoore

Ironically, I think the stats would probably reveal that most people -- for all their objections -- also have active Facebook accounts anyway.

The lovers, on the other hand, see the expanded real estate of the new Twitter profile page as an enhanced opportunity for branding. Perhaps, at the risk of gross generalization, that really reveals the difference between the haters and the lovers. It’s the difference between those who use Twitter as primarily a downtime social escape (think “high school cafeteria”), and those who use it as a tool for missional engagement (think “friendly business lunch”). These two crowds co-exist happily enough side-by-side all the time in the Twitterverse; but every now and then an event (like changing the Twitter profile design) reminds us of the real gulf between them.

Any which way you or I feel about the change, it is now the new reality. Some very sharp people live over at Twitterquarters, and they don’t roll out new directions on a whim. You can be sure it’s very calculated, and in line with their vision of the future. In other word, the loyalists may protest loudly, but don’t expect a rollback any time soon.

So, the first order of business has to be maximizing whatever opportunities it affords. With that in mind, let me give you a 5 point checklist of things every marketer should do immediately to capitalize on the new Twitter profile design:

1. Change Your Twitter Profile Picture

I’m talking about the image that appears next to every tweet you write. It also appears in a box on the left hand side of your new Twitter profile header. For many people on Twitter, this will be a headshot of themselves, and so it should be because there’s no question that a person’s face is more effective than a logo or design for catching attention. There’s something about us humans -- we’re drawn to each other.

Studies have shown that a smiling face produces an effect of joy or happiness on shoppers. A smiling salesclerk makes you want to visit their store again. If you can use a headshot for your profile pic, you should.

Unfortunately, many companies are naturally stuck with using a logo. You could consider putting up a photograph of the CEO, and it might work in some cases where the boss is a brand unto themselves (did I hear someone say Jack Welch?), but for many famous brands, if you put up a picture of the chief executive, most people will say “who’s that?” It will tend to be more confusing than attractive.

But even if you’re staying with your logo, you still need to update the image. Why? Because the sizing is now increased. If you leave your old Twitter profile picture in place, it may look okay but it’s actually been upsized and very likely is not as crisp as it was. In some cases it might even look “grainy” now. Have someone take a few minutes to upload a new image that is 400 x 400 pixels.

2. Upload a Background Header

This, of course, is the most immediately obvious change to the Twitter profile page; the sprawling panoramic scape you can now have across the top (1500 x 500 pixels).

It’s brimming with possibility -- what are you going to use this space for?

You could:

  • Make a collage showcasing your products and services.
  • Show off some of your happy customers, maybe with a caption.
  • A picture speaks a thousand words, so find one that captures the story of your mission or values.
  • Buildings aren’t usually very interesting, but if there’s something unusual or iconic about yours, you could feature that.
  • A behind-the-scenes glimpse of your workplace (say cheese everybody!)
  • Make your visitors look twice by using an intriguing or funny picture.
  • Tell the world what good you’re doing. Building wells in Africa? Show us.

For me, I chose to use the new header to match the branding of my web site. Same colors and logo, and I even lifted the headline from my homepage and incorporated it. Hopefully it works to tie my Twitter account seamlessly to my other online properties.

twitter profile

 

3. You Get To Pin a Tweet!

(Did that sound as funny to you reading it as it did to me writing it? Pin-a-tweet … not penetrate! Okay, forget about that.)

This is surely one of the most welcome changes for everyone -- even the most curmudgeonly loyalists.

You can select any tweet you’ve ever published, and choose to pin it to the top of your feed, right under the header. What are you going to do with this?

Again, loads of possibilities:

  • The tweet that got you the most retweets or favorites.
  • An important announcement. A new product or upcoming event.
  • Your mission statement.
  • A famous quote from your CEO. (Suck-up!)

You can come up with many more ideas, no doubt, but for me this one was a no-brainer. I pinned a tweet that links people to my free special report offer. I use this as a bait piece to grow my email subscriber list, and it’s a top priority for me. Now anyone visiting my Twitter profile will see that evergreen tweeted invitation front and center.

4. Use More Photographs & Video

Not wanting to miss the boat being steered by YouTube and Instagram, Twitter have made more room on their platform for visual content. Some time ago they introduced the ability to publish pictures in your feed, but only offered a tiny out-of-the-way gallery on the left hand side of your profile page. Now your selfies (please, no!) and vids get their own tab right under the header, and if you click on it you’re shown the whole collection in an impressive layout.

The takeaway here is to be even more thoughtful and intentional about what visuals you can Tweet in order to both stand out in the general timeline feed, and to curate an interesting gallery attached to your profile.

Infographics! They were hot property already; we can only imagine the boost they’ll get from this Twitter move.

5. A Whole New Use for Favorites

Again, for a while now you’ve been able to “favorite” any tweet on the platform. A lot of people have used it as a way to give a gold star for things they liked; a little nod of approval or acknowledgement. Some have used it as a way of saying “thanks” for a retweet or a mention. And still others have found it a convenient way to “archive” stuff they like; by favoriting you could always go back and find something quickly instead of having to try to dive for it in the impossible ocean of tweets.

But now Twitter has given favorites their own prominent tab under the header, and effectively they have raised their status to become another gallery. If I come to your profile page now, I can click that tab and see what you have liked.

Here’s a thought. Wouldn’t that make a fantastic place for a list of mini (160 character) case studies? Imagine it. Anytime your name is mentioned favorably on Twitter, you can now make it a favorite and build a testimonial list right there on your profile. Awesome!

 

Well, there’s still more we could talk about, but those 5 things are a great start. Each one is an easy action item with positive benefits.  I think you can probably tell that I, for one, love the new Twitter profile.

 

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