The Importance of Twitter First Impressions

First impressions matter, a lot. I have always found the line, “He is not the type of guy you will like at first but once you get to know him, you’ll like him,” to be interesting. If I don’t initially like someone, am I really going to take the time to get to know them? Odds are that I won’t. Maybe the guy is the nicest person in the history of the world, but if he makes an awful first impression, it is highly unlikely I, or any of us, would invest time in that person. The same is true with Twitter and the first impression your Twitter profile gives to potential followers.

Twitter has over one billion users. That is billion, with a B, people. I am not great with math, but that is a lot! We all want to gain that engagement and build relationships, but that process starts with the Twitter user deciding to click follow. A user will only spend a few seconds, sometimes less, deciding to follow you, or move on and likely never look at you on Twitter again. If you make a bad first Twitter impression, you will struggle to gain new followers. However, the good news is that you just need to follow a few guidelines to ensure you make a good first impression.

Look good, I mean really good in your profile photo:
Sure, “good” is subjective. If you’re a business, your profile photo will be your logo. Make sure it is formatted properly and has that clean crisp look. If you’re an individual, use a professional photo. It is okay to have a little bit of fun with your photo, I do in mine, but still keep an over-all professional look.

Profile Photo Tips:
No sunglasses or anything blocking your face: People want to see your eyes.
Nobody else in the photo: That confuses people.
Gentlemen: No backwards hats or tank tops. Just trust me on that one.
Keep the same photo: Don’t change your profile photo more than about once per year. People notice and identify you on Twitter often by your profile photo. I change mine once per year.
No text: Your profile photo is not the place to advertise. If you’re promoting through your profile photo, users will assume you’ll be throwing sales tweets at them non stop.
Rock that Twitter Bio
Here is the truth: Users will probably only ever view your bio once, and those who do decide to follow may never go back and look at it again. Where your bio is of the utmost importance is when that non follower clicks on it and gives it a quick glance to decide if they’ll follow. Put some TLC into your bio.

Twitter Bio Tips:
Use all the space Twitter gives you. You get 160 characters; use them all and make them count.
Who are you? What do you do? Who should follow you? Who can you add value to? Your bio should answer those questions, or most of them, to someone reading it. People want to know if you’ll add value to them. If they are unsure, they won’t be likely to follow.
Don’t try to be too cute or too funny. It is okay to do a little something to stand out. But devote most of your Bio to what I listed in the previous point.
Make sure it is human. There are a lot of fake Twitter accounts, or inactive twitter accounts. Make sure that, if someone is reading it, there is no doubt you’re an actual person.
Update it when needed: You change. Life changes. New careers, new interests. Make sure your bio reflects those changes in your life.
Paint a Picture with your 5 Most Recent Tweets:
This is something that I do not think too many people ever think about, but I am always aware of it. When people click to view your profile, they’ll typically only see and view your 5 most recent Tweets. They will make the assumption that those 5 tweets are an accurate representation of your typical pattern of content sharing, and they’ll base a big part of their choice to follow or not based off that. If your most recent 5 tweets are all self-promoting, or if they are all just retweets, or all the same generic “thank you for following,” people might chose not to follow. Make sure your 5 most recent tweets paint an accurate picture of what you tweet.

Tips to Paint a Good Picture:
One self promoting tweet:
Two is okay as well, but any more than that and you’ll look like you’re only about selling people.
One or two replies and/or retweets:
This shows you engage with your followers. However, I’d suggest avoiding having more than two or three being replies and retweets; You want to show some original content.
One or two original content Tweets:
You want to show that you have unique value that you can add to your followers. Share your blog. Share a thought, opinion or joke. Add value and show personality.
One photo or video:
This is more of a suggestion than a guideline. However, photos and videos stand out, and also will get favorite and retweeted more than other content. Having a photo or video within your tweets will make your profile stand out a bit.
There you have it. Three guidelines that, If you follow, will help you make a great first impression on Twitter, which will help to increase your new followers and lead to a more engaging audience. Go make some great first impressions!