"Tell me about yourself."
This familiar question is an opportunity to define your image. Whether you're sharing the message in person or online, you often have to get your point across succinctly.
When you share that same message on Twitter, you have only 160 characters to explain who you are in a way creative and informative enough to make people want to click that "follow" button to get to know you even better.
There are four basic rules when it comes to crafting the perfect Twitter bio. Let's review them:
RULE #1: Follow the K.I.S.S. theory: Keep It Short and Simple.
As we already know, Twitter gives users a 160-character limit to describe themselves. The beauty of this limitation is it forces you to get to the point; no one-page bio's allowed here! You can choose to take advantage of all 160 characters or keep it even shorter. Consider using brief phrases, instead of full sentences to maximize space in your bio.
RULE #2: Make it clear who you are through your profile.
As a branding tool, using your name (or your company name, if it's a brand profile) is one of the the easiest ways for people to remember you and doubles as an extension of who you are offline. If possible, avoid using numbers; those have a tendency to be viewed as spam accounts. Similarly, ensure that your photo is a clear shot of your face (or company logo) so that there is no confusion when someone comes to your profile. Your Twitter header photo and background photo should also reflect what you've included in your bio to present yourself as one cohesive brand and personality.
RULE #3: The more specific your bio, the better...but, at the same time, don't limit yourself.
As a Jill-of-all-trades in journalism circles, I hate being pigeonholed- thus, my Twitter bio is broad by design. Some people have a compressed resume as their bio; Meg Robertson from HuffPost Live does a nice job sharing her career background and ambitions in her Twitter bio. However, don't be afraid to have a little fun! Feel free to include a detail or two about your hobbies or even your significant other like Lauren McCullough from Breaking News does in her Twitter bio. (full disclosure: Lauren and I were briefly co-workers during my tenure at the Associated Press).
RULE #4: Show personality!
My tweets runs the gamut, from curating news articles and tracking journalism trends to documenting personal experiences and following the Knicks. Just like your timeline, your bio should reflect your personality; as long as you're providing information or insight that followers find useful, don't hesitate to mix the professional with the personal. Consider Muck Rack's Twitter bio: it's playful and showcases personality, but still allows Twitter users to see what the brand is all about.
Take some time today to take a hard look at your Twitter bio to see how it can be improved to more accurately reflect who you are. It is, after all, your first impression to those who find you online!
Do you have other tips of suggestions for crafting the perfect Twitter bio? Share them in the comments below!