With a community of over 200 million users, there’s no doubt Twitter is a great resource for networking. It can also be a great tool for promoting yourself to potential employers, especially as more companies look to job candidates’ Twitter profiles when recruiting.
While the content of what you post is important, “creating an effective profile is the most important thing you’ll do on Twitter”, says Germany Kent, a social media influencer with 16.3k twitter followers and author of You Are What You Tweet: Harness The Power Of Twitter To Create a Happier, Healthier Life. With only 160 characters, a profile image and a banner image to make an impression, Kent argues our Twitter profiles deserve much more attention than most of us are giving them.
Use these tips to make the best impression on Twitter:
When designing a business card, it’s not uncommon for people to spend hours thinking about design and wording. “Your Twitter profile is a virtual business card,” says Kent. Keep the information presented concise, but interesting, fun but informative, and create a sense of interest and intrigue that makes people want to learn more about you and follow you.
The key to creating an effective Twitter profile is to know yourself. Take notes on your personality, habits, passions, inspirations, and talents and draw from this list to create your profile.
When I ask Kent to assess my Twitter profile, she’s intrigued by my handle @WriteLisaEvans. “That already says a lot about you,” she says. When picking a Twitter handle, Kent says we should be as creative as possible, as long as your brand allows it. Kent then looks at my profile description: freelance writer, magazine hoarder, and coffee nut writing about business, health, parenting, and travel. Blogger at thechildrensbookshelf.ca. “That has so many elements in it,” says Kent. My profile, she says, is a great example of what results after doing a personal assessment. My profile highlights my job, my passions, interests, and what people can expect to see when they follow me.
Knowing your audience is a huge part of winning it over. Identify who you want to reach with your profile–whether that’s friends, like-minded colleagues, potential employers, and recruiters–and speak to that audience in your profile and in your post content.
Kent says a personal photo is far more engaging, and a smiling headshot will make Twitter browsers feel that you’re more approachable. Avoid having a picture of your pet or a scenic image as your profile picture. Save those for the banner photo to give potential followers some insight into your personality. “Your main profile picture should always be you: putting your best self forward, saying, ‘Hello world, here I am,’” says Kent.
In her profile, Kent put hashtags on words like author and social media. Keywords, she argues, are helpful in a profile, especially because you have such limited space to introduce yourself on Twitter. Turning your profile into a discovery tool by using hashtags helps to make you searchable. “Hashtags will get you connected to other people who share the same interests as you,” says Kent.
Use your profile to showcase your expertise, experience, and accomplishments. Highlight your title and maybe even where you work, but don’t forget to include personality characteristics that make you unique. The best Twitter profiles, Kent says, combine work and play–showing a mixture of your career and personal passions. “That’s what makes us interesting,” she says. “The more someone knows about you, the more they can feel a connection with you and the more you will be will be able to engage with people who are like you.”