This is an excerpt from the first chapter of the ebook 20 Day Twitter Fix, the ultimate guide to getting more followers, retweets, and mentions on Twitter.
Are you first getting started with Twitter? Or have you created a profile, and unsure what to do next, decided Facebook and Pinterest would just have to be good enough? Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating and optimizing your Twitter profile so you can get started tweeting and getting followers right away.
Step 1: Choose a Twitter username
Your username is what people will use to mention you in their tweets (for example, @DianaUrban). If you’re new to Twitter, someone may have already claimed your desired FirstnameLastname username. In this case, you’ll need to be creative, and you only have 15 characters to work with. Here are a few options:
- Add an underscore. For example, Diana_Urban. In this case, you risk people missing the underscore and mentioning your doppelganger instead.
- Add a number – For example, DianaUrban1 or DianaUrban05.
- Abbreviate – For example, DianaUrb.
- Be More Creative – Choose something that includes other keywords relevant to you. For example, MarketerDiana. Twitter will provide you with suggestions, too.
You can change your Twitter username as many times as you’d like, so if you decide later you don’t like your original choice, that’s fine.
If you’re creating a Twitter profile for a business or celebrity, and someone is squatting on the username or impersonating you, file a complaint with Twitter directly.
Once you create your new account, click through Twitter’s brief tour. If you’d like to bypass the tour rather than follow the random people it suggests, simply navigate to Twitter’s homepage: http://twitter.com. Then click the link in your confirmation email so Twitter knows you’re a real person.
Step 2: Upload a profile picture
By default your profile picture will be an egg. But nobody wants to follow an egg.
Instead, upload a photo of yourself or your brand’s logo. This picture should be 400 x 400px. If you’re using a photo, use a close-up headshot so you’re easy to recognize.
If you’re uploading a brand logo, make sure fans will be able to recognize you instantly. If your logo includes a long company name, consider using the iconic portion of your logo, wrap the text, or rotate it so it fits diagonally.
To upload a new profile picture, click Me in the top navigation, then click the camera icon in the profile photo space.
Click Upload Photo in the dropdown that appears and find the picture on your hard drive.
If your photo was a size other than 400 x 400px, you can select the portion of the photo you’d like to use on the next screen. Drag the sizing circle back-and-forth to resize, grab the square, and drag it to the portion of the photo you’d like to use.
When you’re done making changes, click Apply.
Click Save Changes on the right-hand side of the screen.
Step 3: Set your location
Click Edit Profile.
Below your profile picture, you’ll see several editable fields: Bio, Location, and Website. We’ll customize the bio tomorrow. Enter your city as the location, and phrase your location in the way most popularly used. For example, if you’re located in Manhattan, “New York City” is more commonly searched for than “Manhattan” or “NYC.”
Step 4: Enter your website
This field is very straightforward – simply enter your website’s URL. If you don’t have a website – and you really should get one – enter your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or About.me page instead.
Step 5: Edit your notification settings
It’s very important to make sure Twitter doesn’t overwhelm you. But Twitter will want to send you an email 0.5 seconds, and we don’t want them clogging your inbox.
Click the gear icon in the top navigation, and then click Settings.
Click Email Notifications in the sidebar.
Select which Twitter notifications you’d like to receive via email. I personally clicked Turn Off at the top of the screen to shut off all email notifications. If you have Twitter installed on your smartphone, the last thing you want is multiple notifications from both Twitter AND your email for every single tweet, retweet, favorite, etc. you receive — you’ll go nuts!
Did you use this article to set up your profile? Here are some tweets for you!
Click to tweet: I just set up my Twitter profile with the help of this how-to article: http://bit.ly/WA4aRL Now I’m ready to tweet!
Click to tweet: How to Create and Optimize Your Twitter Profile – http://bit.ly/WA4aRL by Diana Urban #TwitterTip
Click to tweet: Are you just lurking on Twitter? Make sure you optimize the basic elements of your own profile – http://bit.ly/WA4aRL