If you’re wondering whether the few lines of text underneath your Twitter handle are going to end third world poverty or create global peace then you are truly mistaken; but in terms of gaining social influence on one of the world’s most popular social networks, the bio and background graphics are often the only chance you get to portray your identity to the world. It may even result in you getting that follow back from Justin Bieber. See, now I’ve got your attention…
Before we delve into what makes a good or bad bio, we need to begin with this in mind: first and foremost, your bio is public. Anyone will be able to see it, including employers, parents, ex-partners, kids, and neighbours. It will appear in Google and Twitter search results. Got it? Good. Now bear that in mind with every character you type.
It’s also unbelievable how many people don’t have a bio, graphic, or profile photo. The default image of a blue bird as your profile picture shows that you have no interest in the Twitter platform, so why should others have interest in you?
Here are my top three tips:
- Be Real – use real names, real locations, and real photos. It will be easier for people to identify you, search for you, and, ultimately follow you. We’re all attracted to other people, not to machines, so being real will always pay off.
- Be Timeless – whilst tweets expire after a few minutes, your bio will, in all likelihood, be changed very little, and not on a regular basis. Save time-bound achievements for a blog or your tweets, the bio is not the place for news.
- Be Unique – say something interesting, special, or crazy. @cshirky’s bio has been rated as one of the best in existence. It’s short, simple, and witty. Unless you find the incomplete spelling of ‘distracted’ too much to bear, you’ll probably be interested in giving this guy a follow. Why? Because you know him? No- because he has a real, timeless and unique bio.
There are all sorts of minor questions, such as whether we should use hashtags in our bios, or whether we should shorten links to our websites. Some even try to line up their profile picture to fit in with the background image. If you have the time, go crazy- line up those pixels and pop in some clever hash tags to make you appear in 12.8% more search results. But for the majority of us, it’s just a case of filling in the information and choosing some decent images, it’s something to have fun with, not to agonise over!
The bottom line: if you’re a genuinely interesting person, the Twitter followers will come. If you spam and rant all day long, no amount of hashtags or pixel alignment will draw you a crowd.
So have fun with it, steer clear of profanities and use it as a creative space (albeit a small one) to express who you are to the world of Twitter.