12 Most Critical Ways To Make Your Twitter Stand Out
I have taught hundreds of people over the last few years how to understand Twitter in webinars. Most people are rather confused where to start or unaware of these top tips.
Before we begin, think about this: What is your brand? What keywords best describe you? Twitter is best used as a free marketing tool (though there are many tools on it who shouldn’t be. Ahem.). That said, it’s also a wonderful way to interact and engage with people.
Branding is your friend.
Twitter handle: This is your very first step in setting up your account. You have 15 spaces. In order for people to find you, here are my recs:
1. Use your name (unless it’s more than fifteen spaces)
Nothing else brands us like our name. It’s the best identifier there is. If it’s already taken, see below.
2. Use your initials with your first or last name, i.e.
@DaughertyMJ is my friend whose name was already taken. Work with a combination that still identifies you. You can still put your full name on the profile (see below) even if your handle is different.
3. Use your location
I found my name already taken, so I went with geography: @RachelintheOC (Orange County, CA). I may be moving soon, but with 70K+ followers, I ain’t changing it. Plus, it rolls off the tongue (if you live in Saskatchewan, I’d rethink that).
4. Do not use your birthday or anniversary in some combo with your name
Why? A) It might have significance for you but it means diddly to us. If we can’t find you easily, we’re outta there. B) See A.
5. Don’t call yourself an expert or guru in your handle, even if you are
It’s just dumb.
However, if you DO have some extraordinary unique talent, that’s cool, i.e. @BabyShrink rocks because she’s a real doctor who works with parents about the crazy stuff kids do (and I like that she didn’t say expert or guru in her handle, even though she is. Shhh.). I also like @DrHeatherND — this shows her name and her degree, and that she’s approachable by using her first name.
6. Use your company name
Mine is @BadRedheadMedia. No tricks or surprises there (unless you’re unfamiliar with redheads. Ahem.). Tip: I refer to my author account @RachelintheOC in my Twitter bio, and vice versa. More below.
7. Don’t use an X-rated name
If you have XXX in your title, you’ve just decreased your ability to be followed by well, a lot percent. However, if you’re a porn star already known by that name, rock it.
8. Don’t use your book name
People ask me about this a lot and it took @LoriCulwell to explain it to me best. You may be an author selling a book that you want people to identify with you, but most people search on names. It’s how we are trained on Twitter, Facebook, G+ and really, any other social media channel. Besides, even if they want to look up your book and don’t know your name, they’ll still find you in a Google, Twitter, or Amazon search. Finally, is that your only book? Doubtful. When you write book two, are you gonna start another Twitter stream from scratch? Don’t. Total waste.
And from a branding standpoint, you want to be consistent across ALL planks of your platform: social media, website, blog, etc. If your name is on your website, it needs to be on your Twitter handle.
Okay, enough about names! Moving on.
This is the only place you have 160 characters on Twitter so take advantage. You have only THREE seconds to capture our attention. What do I suggest?
Have a great avatar (picture or logo). If your pic is of you at your wedding, I’d rethink that. You may look awesome and it’s significant to you, but think about branding. Unless you’re a wedding consultant, choose something else. Tip: Use a hi-resolution shot that doesn’t look pixelated when enlarged.
Many times authors ask me if they should use their cover art. I do not on my author account — I use a pic where I actually did my hair and put on makeup. Why? Because I’ve written more than one book, and am currently writing book three. I don’t want to change my avi with every book cover. It’s not consistent. For @BadRedheadMedia, it’s the redhead from my book covers.
One final point on avi’s: think about your color story. My cover art is primarily red, purple, green, blue. Those are colors that attract or draw the eye in. If you avatar pic is grey, for example, it’s hard to see and doesn’t create a call to action.
10. Remember show, don’t tell?
This is the place to really put your writing skills to work. I never say I’m snarky or sarcastic, but my @RachelintheOC author bio says this:
Notice that my full name is there (ergo, searchable), my handle, identifying characteristics (my two books and URL to my website), and I say stuff that shows you I’m funny (well, I think I am anyway). Nowhere do I say “I’m sarcastic,” but it’s clearly implied in my word choice.
11. Minimize your use of hashtags (#)
Two or three is great, because (as you can see on #bestsellers) it becomes a hot link to Twitter Search; again, making you more searchable and visible. Using too many makes it look junkie and frankly, unreadable.
Tip: You have room for two, not one, two URLs in your profile. Twitter made this change within the last year and most people don’t know about it. One goes where it says Website (on Edit Your Profile). The other you must fit into your 160 spaces. To do this (if it’s long), simply use bit.ly to shorten it, which leads me to my last point…
12. Customize and shorten your URLs
I used bit.ly to shorten and customize my Mancode link to Amazon. Why? 1) It’s shorter #duh 2) I can customize it (see how it says Mancode?) and 3) Now I can track how many clicks I get from Twitter to Amazon. Yea, think about that for a minute. Whoa.
What I most love about using the bit.ly link on my bio directly to Amazon is this: I don’t spam links to my book. I can simply say ‘link on bio’ in a tweet. Nobody likes a spammer.
Bottom line: make yourself memorable on Twitter in every way you possibly can while avoiding the constant self-promo spam. I’ve done every one of these tips and so should you.
Get to work!
This about covers it for this session of the Dr. Expert Guru show. Ha, kidding. I hope you find these tips useful. Let me know! I’d love to hear your feedback.
Featured image courtesy of Thomas Hawk via Creative Commons.