Twitter is a powerful social networking tool that helps you to brand yourself and grow a community of followers with “tweets” of 140 characters or less. Just as with any professional or social network, everything you do on Twitter can have a positive or negative impact on you, your brand and your reputation. Here are 20 tips for optimizing your personal brand on Twitter:
Brand Your Image
1. Name - When signing up for Twitter, make sure to choose your real name as your username. Don’t choose a cutesy or unprofessional name for your Twitter profile. If you have a business that you would rather use as your username, just make sure to include your real name in your profile account information so that other people can link you to your business and contributions.
2. Location - Identify your actual geographic location, such as “New York, NY” or “Chicago, IL,” rather than “Worldwide,” “Everywhere” or “Universe.” This makes you appear more transparent and approachable and helps you connect more effectively with potential followers.
3. Picture - Put your face to your name and/or business name with a real photo of yourself. Not only will a real photo make you come across more genuine and real, but using the same photo on all of your profiles helps others recognize you across networks.
4. Bio - Plug your one-or-two-word personal brand here and include your personal highlights and achievements in the form of a mini resume. This is a simple, yet effective way to brand and easily identify yourself to visitors on your profile.
5. Link - Connect people viewing your profile to your personal blog, website, LinkedIn profile or even your VisualCV, anything that provides them more information about you.
6. Background - Create an attractive background that is consistent with the format, colors and logo from your personal or business blog/website. Include additional information about yourself or your business and links to your others sites and profiles. Use sites like Twitbacks, Twitpaper and Twitterimage to help you develop your own custom background.
Brand Your Contributions
7. Tweets - Provide value in your tweets by pointing others to interesting articles, news and tools in your industry or field. Referring your followers to quality and relevant information will help you establish your personal brand, position yourself as an expert and resource and gain a strong following.
8. Updates - Track specific keywords using Google Alerts and Trackle in articles and news from across the web to share with your followers on Twitter and to build your brand and reputation.
9. Hashtags - Search for relevant hashtags or keywords using the Twitter search bar or Hashdictionary that you can include in your posts to make your tweets more searchable. You can also use them to keep track of other relevant tweets of interest on Twitter.
10. Syndicate - Automatically post your blog posts via RSS as tweets to your Twitter account using Twitterfeed. This saves you time and effort and helps to keep your account active.
11. Automate - Schedule tweets to post automatically at set times in the future using Tweetlater. This also saves you time and effort and helps to keep your account active.
12. Privacy - Don’t protect your updates under your account settings or you will limit the growth of your following and the expansion of your brand presence.
13. Share - Allow readers of your blog to share and retweet your content and your expertise at the touch of a button on their own across their Twitter networks using Tweetmeme.
14. Influence - Use Twitter Grader to see where you rank in terms of influence on Twitter. You can also use it to identify new contacts with whom you should be networking.
Brand Your Community
15. Network - Follow your own network of current contacts and ask them to follow you. This is a great way to lay the foundation of your Twitter community. Use Twellow, a comprehensive Twitter directory of over a million Twitter users, to identify new contacts in your industry or field to follow and with whom to network.
16. Connect - Use the @ symbol to direct certain tweets to specific contacts for more networking. Use Tweetbeep to get alerts through email when your name appears on Twitter.
17. Answer - Search relevant keywords in Twitter’s search engine to find questions in your area of expertise or interest and network by offering your insight and answers. This will really help you establish yourself as a go-to expert in your field and will help build your brand.
18. Manage - As you become more active on Twitter, consider downloading a desktop control center for all Twitter activity, such a TweetDeck. It will allow you to manage all of your brand building efforts and networking from one easy-to-use application.
19. Online -Promote your Twitter account by linking others to it via your websites and blogs, your newsletters and announcements, your guest posts on others’ blogs, your professional networks and even your email signature.
20. Offline - Also promote it offline via your business card, any presentations or workshops you might offer, word-of-mouth and more.