There's a simple step everyone needs to take on Twitter from the moment they sign up, but that many people leave hanging for days, weeks, or even months: uploading an avatar and giving yourself a bio.
Here are some suggestions for using your avatar and bio to best maximize your Twitter presence:
- Use your avatar to tell a story. Your avatar can establish your personality and brand. For example, political reporter @Mollyesque has a picture of herself with Air Force One in the background, which helps identify her topic and level of access. That's not an accidental or random avatar.
- Don't waste your bio line. Think about how you're using Twitter, and what you want people to know about you. @MarsCuriosity's bio establishes a) what it is, and b) that it thinks of itself as "I." (The rover's personality is a key element of the mission's social media strategy.) Job, hobbies, interests... this is your chance to lay them out. If you want people to go to your website, include your website. And so on.
- Hold steady. I'll get pushback on this, but I'm a firm believer that you should pick an avatar and stick with it. Your avatar is next to every tweet. When your followers scan their stream, your avatar is the easiest way to identify you. If you change it all the time, people will lose track of you.
Avatars and bios are powerful ways to establish yourself. Give them a little time and thought, and use them strategically to build a brand and a following.
Whose avatar and/or bio do you love on Twitter? Share your favorites, and what makes them great, in the comments!
Evan Sutton is Communications Director at NOI, and a former Twitter skeptic turned addict
For those who stuck around this long, here's a little Easter Egg: a few more of my favorite avatars and bios, and why:
@boldprogressive - They've created a special logo to fit the avatar size/shape. Their bio tells you who they are, what they do, how many people are part of it, and gives you a link to a signup page. Clear, action oriented. Great stuff.
@brianbeutler - He's essentially photo-bombing his own picture, which is basically what he does to other people's tweets. His bio gives you a very clear sense that he's going to have a sense of humor, the type of humor it will be, and also links to his work.
@daverichard - Check out his bio. Not only does he make it clear what he does, but he gives you the relevant hashtags, links to the website, and handles for related content
@daveweigel - Again, bold use of the bio. As a reporter who produces a lot of content, Dave wants you to be able to reach him if you have something relevant to pitch. So he includes his contact info, including phone, in his bio line!
Who do you love? Share in the comments!