Perhaps you have been told that to grow your business, you should use Twitter. How does one approach Twitter? How in the world does anyone grow their business with 140 characters? I suggest the important part is setting up the Twitter profile. Be prepared with a good bio, background, avatar and Twitter name; then move on to use your Twitter account. It will be easier to attract the right sort of followers and engage potential clients if you do your homework first.
In December I gave a workshop at the Highland Park Public Library in New Jersey on how to set up a Twitter profile.
Before Set Up of Twitter Profile
Before you even sign up for Twitter, you may want to do these two items:
- Look over other people’s Twitter streams – these could be friends or people in your industry. How are they using Twitter? Are they engaging others? Do they tweet questions? links? Do they reference others in their tweets?
- Think about how you will present yourself on Twitter: are you trying to make sales of homemade bird cages? promote a political viewpoint? connect with other moms who like to cook? connect with other moms who don’t like to cook?
Set Up of Twitter Profile
You are going to need these to set up your Twitter profile:
- Username – pick a name that is easy to remember and not terribly long. A username that is related to your first name is a good choice, for example. For example, Debra Askanase is @askdebra. I use @leoraw – it has my first name and last name initial, and it is the same as my domain name. Others prefer to use their business name, such as @sweetsoaps.
- Email address – your email address will not be publicized, but you will need one to set up your account.
- Biography – people will follow you based on what you put in your biography. So if you want to connect with bird watchers, for example, put “bird watcher” or “birdwatcher” in your biography. But you may not want to put that in if you want to sell insurance – instead, be sure to state your insurance experience. It’s OK to add a little family information, even if you are selling insurance or cars or financial advice. For example, you could end your biography with “mother of three” or “I love my nieces and nephews” if you have no kids of your own. There are no set rules; include information that will give you the ability to connect with others.
- Link to website or LinkedIn page – if you don’t have a website or blog yet, consider setting up a LinkedIn profile and using that as your link. LinkedIn, unlike Facebook, is known for being “strictly professional.” If you find that idea too daunting right now, skip it. You can always add a link later.
- Avatar: I highly recommend you use a photo of yourself. People like faces; they like to follow someone they can see. If you really don’t want to use a face, you might want to choose an image related to your business. For example, if you own a dog kennel, a photo of a dog might work. The image you choose should look good at 48 pixels by 48 pixels – this is the small size that will be seen in the Twitter stream. On a user profile viewed by someone who is logged into Twitter, the avatar will appear as 128px by 128px. If viewed by someone who is not logged into Twitter, it will appear as 73px by 73px.
If you need a photo editor, try Picasa or Pixlr. For more on avatars, read How to Create a Twitter Avatar You Can be Proud Of.
Embellish Your Twitter Profile
Now that you have your Twitter account set up, look it over and see if there are additional details you want to add or embellish.
Add a Background – if you have design skills of your own, you can add a background related to your field.
Add One Tweet – finally, your first tweet. What should it be about? Remember when I said earlier in this post, “Think about how you will present yourself on Twitter”? Now is your opportunity to state that in 140 characters or less. Alternatively, you could add a link (be sure to add the title of the article as well) that is related to your profession. When you are adding a link, I also find it helpful to add what is known as a Twitter hashtag.
Pick Three People to Follow
Now don’t make the mistake many early Twitter users do and follow 100 people at all once. Pick three people to follow by clicking follow on their Twitter pages. At first, it’s best to follow a friend – if you are in touch with the friend and the friend is an active Twitter user, chances are good the friend will follow back. Feel free to pick some Twitter users in your profession to follow. If you don’t know the person, you may want to send them an @so-and-so message in your Twitter stream, saying why you chose to follow the person. That will give the person a lot of incentive to follow you back.
After you have a few people following you, pick three more people to follow. Give it a week or two of following a few every day or so, and slowly but steadily build up the connections. Work at talking (with @replies, in your Twitter stream) to your followers, so you get to know them better. Enjoy the new found relationships.
For more on setting up a Twitter profile:
- Twitter Help Center: Twitter Basics
- Larry Brauner: 10 Simple Ideas for Setting Up a New Twitter Business Account
- New Biz Blogger: Plan Your Tweets
For a post on setting up Facebook: Ease of a Facebook Business Page