Branding Your Twitter Profile
Posted by Mary Fletcher Jones
One of the smaller (but important) tasks we handle at Fletcher Prince is branding Twitter profiles for individuals and organizations. This only applies to you if you are using Twitter for business purposes.
In customizing your Twitter profile, there are four areas to consider
- Your Twitter username. This will vary, depending on your needs. Personally, I like using my company names for my various Twitter profiles. (The Twitter accounts are customized according to their purpose. So I post different information on my Fletcher Prince account than I do on my Conversations in Public Relations account.) Unfortunately, with Twitter, you don’t have a lot of latitude with dashes, spaces, and extended names, which would help for SEO purposes. So, in my view, using your actual name for your username doesn’t really score you points, unless you are a celebrity. And guess what? You get to list your real name separately, anyway, and it will display on your profile, just above your location. So, just pick the most brand-equivalent version of a profile name you can manage. Mine is FletcherPrince (for one account). Best I could achieve, given Twitter’s limitations.
- Your Twitter profile description. You have very little space to describe your company (or yourself). In fact, you only have 160 characters to work with. So highlight what you do, taking care to differentiate your company and provide a key benefit why people should follow you. For example, my Fletcher Prince bio reads: “Follow me for creative marketing, social media, and public relations tips.” Since my home page URL is listed right there, I really don’t need to elaborate on that. The curious can click through.
- Twitter profile picture. There is a camp that says use your real picture, because social media is all about real people having real conversations. I don’t buy that, particularly. Social media is still a pretty self-serving media. If I want authenticity and connection, I pick up a phone or meet someone for coffee. For me, social media is (1) about providing relevant and useful information that establishes you as a trustworthy company, loaded with expertise (i.e., building your online reputation) and (2) building your SEO; e.g. backlinks. So, how you handle the all-important brand-identifier of a Twitter picture depends on your communication goals and situation. If you are a consultant or sole propietor, feel free to use your photo if that is what will serve you best. If you have a company with a diversity of service offerings, and you are the only person tweeting about your company, or it is a corporate or government agency or association Twitter account, then use a square version of your logo. It is worth the effort and money to have a graphic designer create a legible square version of this logo because you will use it for many online marketing purposes. Don’t feel compelled to use the entire logo, and especially, avoid text. Just use one graphic element of it. We do this for Fletcher Prince (with our green and white asterisk design) You can use this for multiple purposes: for your favicon on your URL, for your Flickr site, for Facebook, for iTunes podcasts, for your blog avatar, for Yahoo, and for YouTube. Fletcher Prince can create one for you, if you need it (about $250 to customize your existing logo).
- Background design. It’s simple enough to customize Twitter with the hexadecimal values (or web colors) of your web site or logo, and you should. You can also use the background as an opportunity to visually reinforce your brand, with a large, customized design, as Dunkin Donuts does. I’m not a fan of adding a lot of text here. You can, but it tends to look like a dog’s breakfast, next to the Twitter stream. Stick with compelling visuals, instead. Whatever you choose, make sure your Twitter page coordinates with the brand identity of your other marketing materials. There are impostors on Twitter, and this extra effort will build trust in your Twitter identity. Just don’t use the default designs! Again, this is a design project that Fletcher Prince is happy to handle for you.