As a Social Media Virtual Assistant, I’ve set up many, many Twitter accounts. Some for myself (I think I have 5 of them…) and many for my clients. So, it’s really second nature to me and most of the time, I don’t think twice about how to do it. However, for many small business owners and entrepreneurs who many just be jumping into using Twitter and social media marketing, it can be a bit of a daunting task.
Now, setting up a Twitter account is not really that hard and most people can easily walk through the steps to get going in a matter of minutes. However, there are some important considerations to take into account when setting up a Twitter account to help your account appear professional and optimized.
1. Got to http://twitter.com and click on the big, yellow “Sign Up” button.
2. On the sign up page, it’s recommended that you put in your real name or alternatively, you can put in the name of your business. It just depends on how you’ll be using the account. If you are a solo entrepreneur or you are the person who will be tweeting, then it is generally a good idea to put in your real name. If you plan to use the account to tweet as a “business” or if multiple people might be tweeting from the account then put in a business name. Whichever, you chose, you can always change it at anytime, so it’s not set it stone. Keep in mind that this field is indexed and picked up by the search engines, so that’s something to take into consideration as well when deciding what to put in the Name field.
3. Your Username– This will be your “Twitter Handle” or how you will essentially be known to others on Twitter and it’s what will show up in your Follower’s Twitter stream when you send out a Tweet. You are allowed a maximum of 15 characters for your name but don’t feel compelled to use all of them. A shorter Twitter name has it’s benefits. Primarily, if someone re-tweets one of your tweets, then a good chunk of the 140 character limit isn’t take up with your Twitter name. Also, a shorter Twitter name is easier to remember. I also typically recommend that you stay away from using the “_” (underscore) symbol in your Twitter name. Some people use this to add a space in their name to separate words. It’s really not necessary and people don’t generally like to have to type in the underscore symbol when tweeting to you or when including your name in their tweet. Also, capitalization doesn’t matter for a Twitter name. If you put capitals in your Twitter name, people can still tweet to you without including the capitals.
After choosing your username, put in your password and email account and press the “Create My Account” button.
At this point, Twitter will ask you about find other people to follow via your email address book or through suggested users. You can choose to do this or you can click on “Skip This Step.”
After you’ve gone through these step, you go to your main Twitter dashboard. You will still need to add your website link, your bio and a picture for your avatar. All of these are important to complete as part of the set up of your Twitter account.
In the upper right corner, you’ll see your username and an arrow. Click on the arrow for a drop down menu and select “Settings.” Within the Account menu, you can select your language, your time zone and whether you want to add your location to your tweets. This is also where you can select to “Protect Your Tweets.” This means that only people that you allow to follow you can see your tweets and they are not public, nor are they searchable in the search engines. Generally, if you are using this Twitter account for networking and business, then you won’t want to use feature and you will want your Tweets to be public.
Next, from the top menu, choose “Profile.” This is where you will add the following:
- Avatar– Here you can upload your photo or your logo to be used as your account avatar. Try to choose something that will translate well in a small square photo. If your logo is big or is a shape that will not fit nicely in a small square photo consider either making a version of your logo to fit in a square or choose something else to be your avatar. You can add your logo to your background instead as part of your branding efforts. People also really like to see photos of people as avatars. If you are tweeting as yourself, a photo of yourself is generally what people prefer to see when they are looking at your account and in deciding whether to follow you. Do not skip this step!
- Location. Add your location such as city and state here. You may also choose just to add your state. Keep in mind that this field comes up in searches when people are looking for others to follow. So, if you want to have people in your city or state be able to find you, then it’s a good idea to post your actually city and state here.
- Website: Input a link to your website, blog or someplace on the web where people can go to find out more information about you or your business. A Website link helps to legitimate your account from spam accounts.
- Bio- This area is limited to 160 characters. This is a good place to describe you or your business. Keywords here are good as this is another are that is searchable within Twitter and by the search engines.
These are some the important basics for setting up your Twitter account. You might also want to check out this post with tips for finding people to follow on Twitter and using Hootsuite to help manage your Twitter account.
What other questions do you have about setting up a Twitter account?