Looking through (mostly) travel-related Twitter profiles it seems I could probably offer some of the people who follow me on Twitter a little advice.
For most people, it's pretty clear; they are on Twitter as themselves. They have a decently cropped photograph as an avatar, use their real name, fill in location and add a short bio.
Some people even jazz up their profile page with an interesting background image.
Far be it for me to tell you 'how to' use Twitter but if you're reading this, then you might be looking for some 'branding' tips; or at least my thoughts on them.
Your Twitter Profile
The first place most people will look, if they're thinking about following you, is your profile. So make a good impression; or at least the impression you want visitors to your Twitter profile page to have about you.
Remember, 'Honesty is the Best Policy'.
Of course, there are those who may just follow you automatically, through various websites and software applications that use the Twitter API. Or because it's what they do.
I wouldn't really class these as followers but number generators. The numbers might make you feel good but I'm sure you'd feel better if the numbers were lower and the people following you were genuinely interested in at least some of your tweets; maybe even replying to you and passing on (or referencing) some of your tweets to their own followers.
Username and Real Name
Account Settings is where you can make your changes.
The 'Username' will be on the Twitter URL - and changing this can create broken links, if other websites are already linking to you.
It's one thing having a Twitter username that relays what you're about, but unless you're representing a well-known brand, tourist destination, or large hotel, it's probably a wise choice to reveal your real 'Name' in your profile too.
This will help people connect to you, on a more personal level.
More Info URL
If you have a web presence, this is the place to link to 'more about you' or your website/blog front page.
I don't really understand why people link to their Twitter profile here, as it's the page we're already on.
I can't really get to grips with why people link to a LinkedIn page either, unless they don't have a web presence (outside of all their 'social' media haunts).
Add a link to your Twitter profile from LinkedIn (if you use it) by all means, but if you have an online property, then why not create an about page on your own URL as well - and send your Twitter profile link to there?
At least this will bring people directly into your own Internet space from Twitter, then link to LinkedIn from your own domain (if you must).
Let LinkedIn work for you, sure, but make your Twitter profile work for you before it works for LinkedIn.
One Line Bio
'About yourself in fewer than 160 chars' - Now how hard is that?
We're only allowed 140 characters for our tweets but Twitter has kindly given us an extra 20 characters to play with here.
I'm surprised at how many people choose to ignore this space; waste it with silly ✩♕ ☁ ☟♘ ☯; tell us what their website is about (except for established brands); or the property they're trying to rent out - and not about themselves.
Is your website or holiday home doing the tweeting?
Hopefully, you are!
Of course you can be the founder of a travel website or owner of a holiday home, and it makes sense to say so.
So who are you? What are you about?
Please, is an iPhone number really a location?
I don't want to call you, or come round to your house, but I wouldn't mind knowing roughly where you're from.
Having a proper location also makes it easier for people to find you on Twitter (and related directories), if they're interested in a particular destination.
This is not really doing you any favours at all.
Change the picture here.
But before you do, think about it; are you really that bike, that flag, that baby, or that front door?
Is a squashed up version of the logo you use on your website really something your potential new followers will want to look at when you tweet to them?
If you're not really a brand, just be yourself.
Another thing to think about - is that Twitter will squeeze your photo into a 73x73 pixel square for your profile page, so maybe submit a photograph that is already cropped into a square.
Submit a larger photo (but not smaller), by all means; as this will be seen when people click on your profile image. Just be careful that the picture is not too large, if you've taken the effort to create a stunning Twitter background in the next step.
If you're really serious about branding yourself on Twitter, this is the place to polish it off.
You can change design colours to match the feel of your own website and, with a little imagination, you can make your Twitter background say almost anything about you.
Instead of using a logo, house or landscape on your profile picture, you can incorporate these sort of images here.
Getting the background image looking right can be a little tricky though, as it aligns top left and the content scrolling over your background image will vary depending on screen resolution and size.
Put the most important visual information in the first 245 pixels of the left column.
You can test how the background will look in different screen resolutions here (in Firefox Browser).
In most cases, choosing 'tile background' will not be the option you wish to select.
If you're not comfortable creating an original background image, Twitbacks offer a free service - with a little free branding for them thrown in.
Even if your goal on Twitter is to get more people to stay in your holiday home, use your travel agency, or visit your website, getting them interested in you (and what you can share) should probably be your first priority.
Once people are interested in you, the person, they may recommend 'what you're about' to their friends or followers later.
As more and more people follow through to your profile, make the most of this opportunity to get them interested in you.
Present a human image of yourself and use all aspects of your profile page to represent you better.
Then all you need to worry about is making an even bigger impression, with your tweets.