Do you use your personal Twitter handle for professional purposes? Of course you do! I recently surveyed 150 people and 99% indicated that they do in fact use their own Twitter handle to communicate, network and conduct research in a professional capacity. As a part of that survey, I also asked questions about their bios, how they were set up and what information they added to their bios. A staggering 85% indicated that they did not put much thought into their bios. And, 100% of those respondents were concerned that their personal brand was less than stellar and that they were not as professional appearing as they could be. So, you are not alone if you have had these concerns. To remedy the situation, here are 8 Best Practices to use to have the perfect professional Twitter bio:
1. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Nothing could be more true. When a Tweet appears, what is the first thing you notice? It is the avatar of course – good or bad. So, if you want to have a professional appearance, the first place to start is your avatar.
Best Practice is to have the same professional photo that you would use for LinkedIn. You want to look your part AND you want to be recognizable. For occasions when you get to meet Twitter connections, it is great to actually recognize or be recognized!
2. Don’t Be Cute with Your Twitter Handle
Not only are you a brand in and of yourself, you want people to be able to remember you. It is Best Practice to use your own name as your Twitter handle. Now, that can be difficult. For example, there are a lot of Heather MacLeans out there. I could have gotten my full name, but it seemed long and with a hyphen in there, that might complicate things. So, I ended up using @MacLeanHeather.
As a point of reinforcement, there is a wonderfully talented person in the industry that I like to keep in touch with. Unfortunately I always forget her Twitter handle as it is something obscure. So, I inevitably have to resort to communicate with her via LinkedIn, even though I know that she is on Twitter more frequently.
3. Use Your Real Name
Again, searching, finding and connecting to people can be difficult if you don’t use your real name in your Twitter bio. Best Practice states using your real name versus nicknames, or variations on your name. Of course, if you don’t want to be found…
4. What to Include in Your Actual Bio
You are human and not a robot..right? So, be sure to use a combination of key words that reflect your profession/industry, but also include some interesting personal information. I used to include that I was an airplane nerd, which I am, but I don’t tend to Tweet about airplanes. Now I include that I am a dog lover and wannabe chef. That makes sense to me as I do Tweet, on occasion, about these things.
So, be professional, but have some fun too!
5. Use Links
The great thing about your Twitter profile is that you can include a link to your own website, LinkedIn profile, about.me profile, etc. Take advantage of this to help people get to know you.
Be sure to include your location data. People love to connect with people in their respective regions and/or in new areas.
7. Use of Header
Be sure to select a header image that not only scales, but also reinforces who you are. Having a blurry out of scale image is not good. Neither of course is something totally inappropriate. If in doubt, look to others that inspire you or that you admire. Get a feel for what they use. Don’t copy of course, but emulate.
8. Completeness of Information
It is Best Practice to complete the details above. If you really want to connect with people, they will want to know who you are. Remember, this is social media. Many people, including me, tend to return follows of people that share no details about themselves.
So, in the end, these are easy tips and Best Practices to follow. Still have questions, let me know.
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