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So you’re a business that is up with the times and has a social media presence. You even have a Twitter. But despite your best efforts to make it great, it seems like something is missing. Let this article guide you through the things you need to do to make your Twitter profile engaging and awesome.

  1. Basics

Pick a handle, name, profile image, and cover photo that are consistent with your branding. If your brand name is already taken as a handle (aka your Twitter URL), approximate as best as you can and make sure that your name follows your branding precisely. Make your profile image your logo. You have a little more leeway for creativity with your cover photo, and it’s a good idea to rotate it out regularly to match new promotions or initiatives. Make it professional; images that are grainy or must be stretched to fit will look sloppy. The info in your bio should be relevant and concise. Use 1-3 sentences to describe who you are and what you do, plus squeeze in a few keywords. Finally, add a link to your company website if you have your own domain.

twitter-profile-basics

  1. Hashtags

Hashtags are the grease of Twitter’s wheels. If you’re not sure how to use them or even which to use, take a gander at trending hashtags (visible on Twitter’s homepage) or at twitter-hashtag-example the profiles of companies or individuals you like and study what they’re doing. Avoid oversaturation of tags or using unrelated-but-popular tags to get more exposure; you’ll look silly at best and like an opportunistic shill at worst. Strike the right balance and you’re golden.

  1. Communication

Remember that Twitter is a many-to-many platform, and not just one-to-many. Have a conversation with your followers. Answer their questions and ask for their opinions. Don’t robotically repeat news and sales without showing the faintest glimmer of life. Give people a chance to respond and they’ll want to respond. Investing this kind of effort will require time and dedication, but the payoff is brand recognition and invaluable viral marketing. Infuse your responses with humanity, humility, and humor to go the extra mile and endear your followers to your brand.

  1. Utilization

You’re drastically underutilizing Twitter if all you post is images straight from your website or copied-over Facebook statuses. Don’t parrot what’s already been said; say something new instead. Tease at future releases, offer glimpses into your day-to-day work, and comment on your industry. Livetweet conference proceedings or hold Q&A sessions. Do the things your website or Facebook wouldn’t permit.

twitter-tweet-example

  1. Content

Ideally, you want all your of social platforms to be seamlessly integrated, where every piece complements another. Offer content exclusively available on your Twitter that still nicely supplements your other channels. Think quotes, retweets, shares, jokes, photos, videos, or anything you like that isn’t derivative or repetitious. Never crib content from another source and claim it as your own.

  1. Visuals

A few months ago we posted about a study that demonstrated the power of visual content in increasing engagement. Spice up your tweets with relevant pictures and videos but keep them unique and engaging for your audience. Don’t repost what’s already available elsewhere or add an irrelevant image just for the sake of having one.

  1. Humor

Nielsen research has shown that humor has an incredible magnetic power to draw in fans and followers, and even the biggest corporations have employed it effectively. Make it a go-to tool in your marketing arsenal, but be smart – and careful – about its use. Never make jokes at the expense of others and avoid “edgy” or politicized humor. A crass joke you think is funny isn’t worth the price of alienating fans and setting off a media firestorm. Try instead to aim for obvious hyperbole, self-deprecation, and observational humor.

  1. Tone

Following the last point, be careful what you say and how you say it. A professional Twitter should never serve as a mouthpiece for personal beliefs or exploits. Try to keep to your industry and stay out of controversy. Apply this rule to anything you share, too. Don’t retweet incendiary tweets and make sure to vet any media you post for appropriateness. Never tweet negatively or respond angrily to/harass your fans. This should go without saying, but businesses have messed up on this principle before. A positive, professional, and helpful tone will serve you and your branding efforts best.

twitter-reply-example

Now that you know how to optimize – and maintain – your awesome profile, get out there and engage your followers!

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