Insight, advice, news and chit chat

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I know that some of you already know what we mean by this famous phrase from our talks and newsletters, but for those of you that didn’t see it I will explain. The egg represents the “default” profile image.

Your initial setup on any social media channel needs to be considered before you go out and start drawing attention to yourself. This is relevant to any channel – not just Twitter – including LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook.

I can hear all the desperate questions already… “What does it mean to be an egg, or rather to not be an egg?“, “What’s wrong with eggs?“, “What is an egg when it comes to Twitter?“, “How do I change from an egg to just fabulous old me?

Some of you are already on Twitter – and some of you aren’t. The default icon or avatar for a new profile is an egg, and we really hope you have changed it by now.

Why an egg you ask?

Well, in my opinion it is because Twitter wants you to join as an egg, still new and untouched, then hatch into a beautiful bird with wings that spread far and wide. Please note: The whole hatching part needs to happen pretty quickly!

Why should I change it?

I have read a few articles on the dreaded egg avatar and have mostly come to discover that if you don’t change it people could judge you by your egg and decide that you are a lazy tweeter and not follow you. And really you want followers on Twitter! Just like a book and it’s cover – your profile picture should show something about who you are or what you look like, people will be more inclined to follow you then.

How do I do this?

To change this, just click on “Profile” at the top of your Twitter page – when you are logged in. Then click “edit your profile” – and then click “Profile” – and then “Edit Profile” and in the popup, click on the egg and browse to a replacements.

Ideally you can use a close up picture of your face. Your image must be square and can be any of these formats: JPG, GIF or PNG. It shouldn’t exceed 700k, and twitter will resize it for you. Also try to use images that are clear, no one likes to see blurry or pixelated images. So just changing from an egg isn’t really enough, if you are going to change from an egg its best to do it properly!

Tips for great profile pictures:

This is added here as a bonus, as I see so many examples of people getting this wrong!

  • Make sure you use a headshot, not a full-length shot – these profile pictures are seen as small thumbnails, so you want to be recognisable as you
  • If you really don’t want to smile, at least have a pleasant and approachable look on your face!
  • Aim for non-blurry, good contrast, good composition.
    If you can’t afford a professional photographer then ask a friend. But seriously consider getting a professional photographer anyway, it’s actually a very affordable hugely worthwhile investment. Your profile pictures are going to be used not only on social media profiles but in the about page on your site, speaker bios, etc.
  • Don’t be too sexy! It’s best to try to make this type of shot a bit more “businessy” for social media profiles. There are probably some exceptions, but I would still question them!
  • Watch out for background plants and street objects that look like they’re growing out of your head.
  • Give us a shout if you need any help with this transformation. We are always full of helpful hints and happy to assist in any way we can.

I run a design and marketing agency and a big part of what I do is teaching clients how to use social media. One of my favourites is Twitter, and it’s often the one people just don’t “get”.

But there is a reason why it’s my favourite. It’s the most open – has the most potential. People who are active on Twitter want interaction with other Twitter users. Unlike email – we like it when someone tweets to us.

However, there are some funny things about Twitter which take a bit of getting used to. Whenever I train people on Twitter I encourage an open mind – the first few days/weeks or months will be about learning the different types of tweets and the lingo – @replies and RTs and hashtags.

Ideally, if you are using Twitter for business you want to start meeting the type of people who with support and help you to grow your business in whatever way you are hoping to.

It’s not necessarily about sales but really if you find and get to know the right people you will meet the people who will buy your product or service.

So, I have put together a list of ways you can be a “little” bit strategic and targeted. I am not saying sales – oh no – this is basically about being targeted with who you follow and interact with.

Before you start following people – ask:

  1. Would they be the type of person who would recommend my business?
  2. Are they using Twitter actively? That means regularly, with the full variety of different types of tweets.

If you have the “what to tweet” and “how to tweet” bit sorted – then check our these little tips on how to find people to follow.

  1. Follow the people who follow the brands you think they would like. For example I had one client who’s main client was men in their 30s to 40s and who worked in media, PR, property and law. This was a varied brief – but Twitter is quick and free so we went onto the Shortlist Magazine twitter followers and followed all the people who seemed to be using Twitter properly. Now she has a whole load of followers who fit into her target demographic, and she regularly talks to them on Twitter.
  2. Follow back people who mention or RT you. – If they are your followers and have made a point to retweet one of your tweets then show your gratitude!
  3. Surf those hashtags. If you know that the people you want following you or who you want to talk to are interested in certain topics or events, search for specific hashtags, and see what you come up with. You will get an isolated view of Twitter people who have that common interest. From there, you will likely see other hashtags about similar/related topics,and from those you will be able to check out.
  4. Search for Twitter management tools. There are lots of tools out there that help you manage your followers, unfollow inactive users, review follower stats, etc – so you can learn from the data. I really like Manage Flitter (for managing followers) and Tweriod (for finding out when most of your followers are online)
  5. Check Twitter lists and follow the people who someone else has listed
  6. Notice when people who you follow already talk to other people, and follow the people they talk to a lot – and @reply them both – sometimes together – in this way you are jumping in on their conversation and talking to them both – it’s like you are joining a conversation between two people at a party – and on Twitter – it’s allowed! The point of Twitter is to talk to each other.
  7. Look at Follow Friday or the hashtag #FF on Fridays – this is when people recommend others to follow – on a Friday – if someone who you follow and you like recommends someone – follow them and then send them both an “@reply” say that you are following them based non their recommendation. The new person who you are following will be happy with the person who #FF’d them – because it worked! And the original follower will be happy – because you took their recommendation. Double happiness!
  8. RT compliments (if you agree). Retweet anyone who has complimented someone else and you also know when you agree with the compliment, this again spreads the Twitter joy and makes the people who you have chosen to follow appreciate you just a little bit more!
  9. Use the RT button wisely. The easy to click Retweet button repeats the tweet to your followers – but using it means you don’t have your picure or Twitter name prominent anymore, you in essence give that up to the person you are RTing. If you use this, do it for RTing the tweets where people are being nice about you. Otherwise, when sharing tweets about interesting links/other people, use the RT and then the space type of retweet.

Hopefully these tips will help you to build your own little Twitter community of folks you can get to know better on Twitter!