First things first; you need to sign up to Twitter to be able to do this course! Twitter does allow you to see other people’s tweets without an account yourself, by simply viewing their profile or searching a word. However, without an account you will not be able to participate in a conversation, and that is one of the main uses of Twitter; it is a conversation.
One thing is for sure – in order to gain activity and followers you need to ensure your Twitter account is engaging, which can be done through a range of techniques;
- Your profile picture: this is one of the main reasons people will choose to read or engage with your tweets out of their Twitter feed.
- Your handle (@name): this is what people will use to send messages and identify you when making a conversation
- Your identifiable information e.g. your personal website and location
- Your ‘bio’ as Twitter call it, which is a short sentence summing you up and detailing why people might want follow you
- Additional accounts: these can be useful if you want to appeal to different audiences (each account uses a different email address, so be sure to have more than one if you wish to have two or more Twitter accounts)
- The overall appearance of your Twitter profile; this should be distinct and memorable when people view it (for example, unique pictures)
If you are already a Twitter user you can either make a separate account for the purposes of this course, or use the first day’s task to update and modify your existing profile.
Think about the reasons why you’re creating a Twitter account – personal? professional? You are not limited to one type of account. Many people start off with a personal account to get themselves used to Twitter, and then develop their ideas by way of discovering how they can use it to represent a group or service. For example, we use Twitter to share information about our department – follow us ‘@bedsCLE’ to find out more.
If you do not yet have an account, visit the Twitter site to set one up.
- First you need to enter your real name, a password and your email address.
- Next you need to think of a username, which will be your @name. You could use a version of your own name, or often with more common names a lot of variations may have already been taken. In this case, you could think of a pseudonym which people associate with you; this should be professional. (Don’t fret over this as you can alter it at a later date without having to create a new account etc.). If your account is being created to represent a group like @bedsCLE, then something memorable and clearly identifiable as your group would be vital.
Tips for picking a username
- Your username is the name your followers use when sending replies, mentions, and Direct Messages.
- It will also form the URL of your Twitter profile page. They provide a few available suggestions when you sign up, but feel free to choose your own.
- Note: You can change your username in your account settings at any time, as long as the new username is not already in use.
- Usernames must be fewer than 15 characters in length and cannot contain “admin” or “Twitter”, in order to avoid brand confusion.
3. Once you’ve worked through steps 1 and 2, Twitter will prompt you to find people to follow. Skip this step for now as we will be covering ‘following’ and ‘followers’ in more details on day three.
Twitter does however require you to follow at least six people before it lets you move onto filling out your profile – below are six suggestions for you to follow for now:
- @bedsCLE (Centre for Learning Excellence at the University of Bedfordshire)
- @uniofbeds (the University’s Twitter feed)
- @BedsSU (Bedfordshire’s Student Union feed)
- @uobnews (the University’s news feed)
- @uoblibrary (the University’s library account)
- @UoBSiD (the Student Information Desk
You may know of alternative departmental or institutional accounts that you would like to follow.
4. Now you can fill out your profile! This is an important step as the more engaging you profile looks, the more likely people will want to follow you.
First, upload a profile picture; it could be of yourself – if you have a clear face shot then you’re good to go. Being able to identify someone from their Twitter feed is important, and this is easily done by your profile picture. It is also useful to have a picture of yourself in case you end up meeting some of your followers in real life; for example, at professional events it will help them to identify you.
If your account is for a group or service at university then it is often wise to go with the service logo (as we have done with our @bedsCLE account), but be sure to check the University policy on using logos. Either way please do not leave your profile image as the Twitter default as this can suggest you are a rare Twitter user or even a spam account! It is even more engaging to upload a header image to your account as this can give your potential followers more information on a first glance when they click onto your profile.
5. Next, you may or may not choose to add your real name (this is as well as the @name which you have previously created). If you add your real name to your profile as well you will be more identifiable as you, which is also useful for events such as conferences.
If you use Twitter for a group service and your @name is an acronym then this would be a useful place to insert your department’s full title here. For example, we use @bedsCLE so we might put ‘Centre for Learning Excellence at the University of Bedfordshire’ as our name or in our bio.
6. Add your location. This could be your institution, so you might put Luton, United Kingdom. You might get followers from several locations across the world, so this feature can help users to gain a bit more of an outlook about the university you are affiliated with.
7. Add a URL to a personal website or webpage. You can only have one URL, so it might be best to use your university webpage. This way people can find out more about you rather than whats on your Twitter bio.
8. This brings us onto the next step; adding a bio. You have the option to add up to 160 characters in your bio basically summing up who you are and your interests. A blank bio is disengaging and uninteresting.
It would be best to opt for a well-thought-out description here. Have a look at some other tweeters’ profiles and bios to gain some understanding of what kind of bio you like and dislike. If you’re intending for your profile to be professional and reflect that in your tweets, then avoid going into excessive detail about your family, pets or hobbies in this section. Rather, ensure there is reason for likeminded people to follow you and information detailing elements they might find interesting.
9. Finally, if you’d like to connect your Twitter account to your Facebook then now is the time to do so. You can allow Twitter to post your tweets automatically to your Facebook if you wish. This might be something to think carefully about; are both social medias intended for professional or personal reasons? do you definitely want to enable your Facebook audience with the information intended for your Twitter audience? If not, keep them separate.
You can also add your Twitter URL to your email signature or business card so as people know where to find you should they wish to follow you.
To edit your profile at any time, just click on ‘profile’ on your homepage, then the ‘edit profile’ button,
We’d love you to leave a comment on this blog post to let us know how you’re getting on! Make sure you leave your Twitter handle and a link to your profile so others can find you. Any questions or comments, please leave them on this blog post.
That’s it for Day One! Happy Tweeting!