First steps with twitter

When you start to use twitter for your business, it’s all too easy to just leap in and spend most of your time thinking about how to get new followers, who you are going to follow, how to add value through your tweets, how to promote your services effectively in this new and fast moving environment.

Of course it’s really important to consider such things but before you do any of that, there are 3 important things to consider and they are:

Your bio
Your avatar
Your page design

Why are these important? Well, basically because when a potential follower comes across you on twitter, they are important factors in helping them to decide whether to follow you, or not. You’ll have heard the expression ‘first impressions count’ – it’s the same on twitter.

When someone finds your account, they’ll have a glance at your profile, look at your page, read your bio and your last few tweets and basically decide then and there if they’re going to click that green follow button. Today I’ll share with you what I think about bios, the good and the bad and how to make yours as brilliant as possible to attract the followers that you want.

What’s a bio?

A bio is a short description which appears on your profile and your twitter page. This is a 160 character opportunity for you to say who you are, what you do and to give people an incentive to follow you.

However, so many businesses using twitter don’t actually bother to fill this in at all. On a recent twitter workshop I ran, an attendee logged on during the session so he could look at what his bio said and how he might improve it – only to discover he didn’t have one. In his eagerness to set up his account and get going he had missed out this very important step!

Even more commonly, businesses dash something prosaic and uninteresting off when initially setting up their account and then never revisit it. You would never (hopefully!) be so slap dash with website copy or the content of a brochure so why do it with twitter?

Your bio is a marketing opportunity and as with all marketing opportunities you must focus on the benefits and not the features. Don’t just tell people what you DO tell them what difference you make. Be specific, if you have a niche (and if you don’t I’m going to do another blog post on that soon!) talk about your niche, talk TO your niche. Yes this might mean people outside of your niche choose not to follow – so what? That just means you get useful, interested followers. Remember it’s better to have 500 relevant, interested followers than 5000 random folk.

It’s also a chance to inject some personality into your twitter profile, to differentiate yourself from all of the other accountants, or management consultants or web designers. What you do might not be unique, but you are.

And remember, you can change and update your bio as often as you like so if you are working on a particularly exciting project, or you’ve just added a new service or product you can always change your bio to include this for a while.

I deliberated about whether to include a ‘bad’ example here; I really don’t want to pick on anyone. When we started tweeting I am sure our bio opened with something as yawnsome as ‘a branding & marketing consultancy based in Gateshead…’ drone… so we have pretty much all done it. The example opposite from RSK UK is no more terrible than many others. But after you have read it, ask yourself honestly, what is the incentive to follow? What do you feel you know about them? And when you read your current bio or after you have written yours if you’re new to twitter, ask yourself the same.

The next image is an example of a good bio in my opinion. I could have picked from dozens of the people I follow, but I chose this because I remember when I first read it I felt I really wanted to follow Jo. Now, that may not apply to you. In which case, it’s probably because you’re not Jo’s target market. And that’s ok! But as an example what she has written is warm, engaging, benefits driven and focused. If you were the sort of person that Jo is aiming for in followers and clients I am sure you’d respond to this.

So why not have a look at that long forgotten bio on your twitter profile and see how it could be improved? And if you’ve yet to dip your toe into the world of twitter, I hope you bookmark this article for when you do. I’ll happily read and give feedback if anyone wants to run a bio by me – and until next time, bio bye!

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