By Paul Parcellin, Staff Writer
April 2, 2015

You may not realize it but your Twitter profile is like a big neon sign on a dark highway. It's highly visible, has just a handful of words, and depending on how effective it is, can pull in people or let them just keep driving.

Most important of all, your Twitter profile can have a substantial effect on how people will view you. So when you write it you'll want to choose your words carefully.

More Visible Than You May Think

When people search for you online, guess what is bound to come up? Your Twitter profile. Try it and you'll see. Most will come in near the top of the search page, including that of yours truly, with a Twitter profile in the very top position.

In short, one of the most prominent descriptions of you on the Internet is your Twitter profile. Ponder that as you revisit the words you've already put there.

It's tough to write a good profile, and on Twitter you've got to do it with the meager 160 character you are allotted. You're probably wondering how you can sum up everything you have to say in so few words. If you don't think it's hard, look at other online profiles you may have written on other sites, be they social media or other kinds of online spaces. You probably used up 160 characters in your first sentence.

Dull Sameness

For such a visible descriptive blurb, you'll quickly find that most Twitter profiles are almost like carbon copies of all the others. Almost everyone talks about the things they like - good coffee, craft beer, to name a couple of often repeated items - and describes themselves as an expert or aficionado in their field of endeavor. But for this profile you'll probably want to be a little different from the "experts" of dubious standing and the rest of the pack.

One route available to you is the Twitter Profile Generator, which can cook up a quirky, although hardly personalized, profile that may work for some. It may spur some ideas, but it's not going to create a profile that talks about your true self.

Since even a casual reading of Twitter profiles tells you that there's a lot of sameness there, a bit of originality ought to help you get noticed more. It may also help to distinguish you from everyone else who is running a business like yours.

Fakes on the Loose

Another pitfall you're likely to encounter if you have no profile or an under developed one is that users will wonder whether or not you are legit.

You can't blame others for being suspicious. After all, some say that there are an astounding number of frauds on Twitter. Business Insider says that 5% are bogus, and NBC News claims it's more like 10%. If you have no photo of yourself, and only a generic profile people are liable to think that you're not for real. So, be sure to fix those things if that's true of your Twitter account.

Writing a profile that is creative and maybe funny as well isn't as easy as it might seem. You may feel the impulse to write something witty or profound, and that's great if you can pull it off. However, if you're not one who effortlessly brainstorms snappy slogans or bon mots, never fear. If you avoid the Twitter profile clichés mentioned above you'll be one step ahead of almost everyone else.

1000 Words /

Things to Think About

Here are some tips to help you create an effective Twitter profile.

• Make sure the information you present in your profile is true and accurate. You want to let people know exactly who you are. Maybe you play guitar in your garage on weekends, but you might not want to call yourself "The King of Rock." It's a difficult title to live up to, and it may dampen confidence in your business acumen, assuming that's what you're truly trying to promote. Don't let clever phrases ruin the image you're trying to build. Others will want to follow you because of who you are, not because of something droll but inaccurate that you say.
• That's not to say that your profile must be colorless and merely factual. On the contrary, you are probably excited about what you do, and your profile should convey your enthusiasm. A simple, vigorous account of things you are most proud of and thrilled by will undoubtedly make a good impression on the people you'd like to reach.
• The point of having a Twitter profile is to help identify who you are so that you can connect with like-minded individuals. That means you need to know who you want to appeal to, and then write an honest, targeted and perhaps witty profile that others will instantly get. They'll have an easier time finding you and seeing the things you have in common.
• You can talk about the value that you and your business provides to others. Maybe self-promotion is a little difficult for you. It makes you feel like you're boasting. Try to forget about that and just tell others about your accomplishments. Those who are interested in learning more about you and what you can do for them can follow you. And that's what you're after here.
• Use your profile to create a shorthand portrait of yourself. It will help convince others that you are for real, not a fake. Show a little bit of your personality and your interests. If you've scaled Mount Kilimanjaro, by all means, that's a must-include point. Even some accomplishments less dramatic than that - former Eagle Scout, church choir director, ham radio operator - may be good points to include.
• Use hashtags -- #Affiliate #SEO #Marketer - to link your profile to relevant Twitter mentions.
• Link to other Twitter accounts you are associated with by placing @s in your profile.
• They can take up precious space in your character count, but outbound links can also help connect your profile to relevant content, such as your website.

Post Script

You'll probably want to use every one of the 160 characters Twitter allots to you, but you don't have to. And sometimes a shorter, more targeted message is more effective anyway. Remember, there's no need to feel awkward when it comes to talking about yourself. Stick to the facts, mention the things that will likely interest potential followers and show a little bit of your personality.

You may not get it right the first time you try to write your profile, but you will eventually find the correct words to express yourself. No problem, after all, you aren't writing in indelible ink. You can correct, revise or start from scratch anytime you want. And anyway, it may be a good idea to redo your profile every now and then. It's good to update information and take a fresh approach. Every time you improve it, with a little bit of work, it will come closer to being the perfect profile.

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