The first step is to sign up. The sign up process is basic enough, but take your time when it comes to picking your username. This will be both your Twitter URL (http://www.twitter.com/username) and your Twitter handle (@username)—the name you’ll be known by on Twitter. It’s what people will use to respond to you or to refer to you. It should be as short as possible, but it also needs to be memorable and descriptive. Yeah, that’s a tall order. You can change your username later if you come up with something better, but just like changing a URL you’ll risk breaking links to your feed and losing any inbound links.
Fill Out Your Profile
The next step is to flesh out your profile so people know who you are. These can be found under ‘Settings’ in the ‘Account,’ ‘Picture’ and ‘Design’ tabs.
- More Info URL: Your website goes here. Don’t tell me you don’t have a website.
- One Line Bio: Here you have 160 characters to tell people what this Twitter account is all about. Use them wisely.
- Location: Add even more personality by giving your specific location. You are a real business, not just some ephemeral entity somewhere in cyberspace. Listing your location can also be helpful because many third party sites will aggregate this data and list Twitter accounts by locale.
- Picture: This is the icon people will see next to your tweets. It’s how you’ll be visually identified, so you want something recognizable. If this is your business a logo is a good choice, but it does have the downside of being impersonal. Whatever you choose it needs to be recognizable even at a tiny size.
- Design: You also have the option of changing how your Twitter page appears. This isn’t incredibly important since people will likely only see your Twitter page when they decide to follow you (even then, they don’t have to visit your page). But it is a chance to reinforce your branding. You can create something custom (do it yourself, hire someone or turn to a free custom site) or you can turn to any number of Twitter background sites. If you need a little inspiration you can check out the Twitter Backgrounds Gallery.
All of these steps to flesh out your profile are completely optional, but if you’re serious about Twitter they shouldn’t be. A custom design isn’t a necessity, but if you leave your bio blank or go with the default picture many people won’t give you the time of day. That’s equated with laziness or spammers. So take the time to fill it out and give yourself some easy legitimacy.