Twitter: 7 Decisions You Can Make Before Creating an Account

Twitter: 7 Decisions You Can Make Before Creating an Account by Shelley Sturgeon explains what decisions you can make before you actually open your Twitter account including which photos to use, the criteria for a Twitter username and more.

What’s that expression? Forewarned if forearmed? If you haven’t already created an account, here’s a few decisions you can make ahead of time so that you’re better prepared and not left in a panic when you’re bombarded with questions when you set up a Twitter account for the first time.

  1. Decide on your Twitter username.
    When you create a Twitter account, Twitter will suggest some possible Twitter usernames for you to use, but you are also welcome to come up with your own.

    Your Twitter username, a.k.a. Twitter handle, is comprised of up to 15 characters excluding the “@” symbol which will prefix it. Twitter usernames are unique, in the same way and for the same reasons that email addresses and phone numbers are unique.

    You can change your Twitter username at any time by logging into Twitter and going to your account settings. Carefully consider whether you want to / need to change your Twitter username because this could confuse your followers.

    When you create a Twitter username, you will most likely want to associate this with your name or the name of your business. So, for example, my Twitter username is @ShelleySturgeon and, just to confuse you, I’ve associated my Twitter username with *drum roll please* TAH DA — Shelley Sturgeon!

  2. Select an image for your header.
    The header is the long image that goes across the top of your Twitter account page that other people see.

    This image should be 1500 pixels by 500 pixels and no more than 5 MBs in size. The resolution for your header image can be as low as 72 dpi (dots per inch). The lower the dpi, the smaller the file size.

    Acceptable image file formats include JPG, GIF and PNG. Animated GIFs won’t work as header images.

    Select something that represents you or your brand, or failing that, find something interesting or just plain nice to look at.

    To add or change your header image file:

    1. Log into your Twitter account.
    2. Click on your profile picture, or if you haven’t loaded one yet, the egg photo in the upper right corner of your Twitter page.

      Finding Settings

    3. Click on Settings.
    4. Click on Profile.
      Untitled
    5. Click on Change header.

      Change header

    6. You can then upload a new header photo or remove the existing photo.

  3. Select a profile photo (headshot).
    Your profile photo is the picture of you that is inset on the header image across the top of your Twitter account page that other people see. It is also the photo that will appear with your tweets.

    This image should be 400 pixels by 400 pixels and remember that the resolution for this image can be as low as 72 dpi (dots per inch) as well.

    Acceptable image file formats include JPG, GIF and PNG. Animated GIFs won’t work here either.

    It’s a good idea to use the same headshot as you’ve used for your avatar as this will increase your recognisability and works as part of your branding.

    To add or change your profile picture:

    1. Log into your Twitter account.
    2. Click on your profile picture, or if you haven’t loaded one yet, the egg photo in the upper right corner of your Twitter page.
    3. Click on Settings.
    4. Click on Profile.
    5. Click on Change header.
    6. Change photos

    7. You can then upload a new photo, take a new photo( using your webcam), or remove the existing photo.

     
    The “egg” image is the default but please don’t leave the egg in place. People ignore eggheads when they’re selecting followers because rightly or wrongly it gives the impression that you either you don’t care enough about your Twitter account to upload a picture or you haven’t a clue about what you’re doing with your Twitter account. When you’re first starting out, the latter may be true but you don’t need to advertise it. The old fake it till you make it philosophy comes into play here and remember one step at a time, right?

  4. Determine a colour scheme for your Twitter account.
    You can decide on whether to upload a background image (up to 2 MB in size) which can be tiled (repeated across the background) or select a solid colour. This will run behind your header and the centre panel where your tweet stream appears.

    You can also select a theme colour. The theme colour is the colour in which the numbers for the stats for your account, i.e. number of tweets, number of followers and following, appears along with anything else that is hyperlinked on your Twitter page, i.e. URLs, hashtags, other Twitter usernames posting or contained within tweets, etc. See a couple of examples below. The blue text = the theme colour.

    Followers and tweets

    Trends

    I like to use a nifty little utility to help me select the background colour and/or the theme colour. It’s called Instant Eyedropper. It allows me to move it over images and tells me what the HEX colour codes are in the photo so that I can select a predominate colour in my header, use it as my theme colour to match the header image.

  5. To customize your colour settings:

    1. Log into your Twitter account.
    2. Click on your profile picture, or if you haven’t loaded one yet, the egg photo in the upper right corner of your Twitter page.
    3. Click on Settings.
    4. Click on Design.

      Customize

    5. Make your changes and don’t forget to click on the Save button.
  6. Write a profile
    Your profile can be up to 160 characters and should be aimed at the people you want to follow you, so if you’re an author of bloody crime thrillers, don’t waste your precious allotment of characters telling people that you like spumoni ice cream and bake a mean apple pie! Tell them you’re an author and that you’re into writing blood and gore or whatever it is that they’ll want/ need to know about you to make the decision to follow you. Make sense?
  7. Decide who you want to target as followers.
    If you’re an author, do you want readers or writers or maybe both to follow you? Maybe you’re wanting to attract book reviewers or agents? Have a plan. Think it through before you start just willy nilly following random people hoping that they will reciprocate and follow you back!
  8. Decide if you want to protect or unprotect your tweets.
    In my opinion, if you’re creating a Twitter account to promote yourself this one is a no brainer – you go unprotected! This is the default setting for an account.

    Why? If you protect your tweets, you must approve each and every follower before they can view your tweets. Your Twitter account becomes like an exclusive club and while that might sound really cool and classy, don’t forget that you’re trying to market yourself or your product to the world.

    If your tweets are unprotected they can be seen and shared freely with the world, well, the Twitter world that is. If your tweets are protected they can’t even be retweeted and that’s not a good thing if you’re trying to build a network for your business. And, only you and your approved followers can search for your tweets on Twitter. Google doesn’t even see them.

    It’s your decision and it can be changed either way if you decide to do so, but I can’t think of a good argument supporting a decision to protect your tweets when you’re creating a Twitter account to help you with marketing and networking. Once you’ve created a Twitter account, log into it and if you’d like to read more, click on this link to Twitter’s help for more information.

So, there you have it, my list of decisions you can make before you even create your Twitter account. Hope you find it helpful.

Photo courtesy of panuruangjan | Freedigitalphotos.net

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