5 Tips to Optimize Your New Twitter Profile

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channingtatum_profile2Change is coming to your Twitter profile. Big, beautiful change.

Twitter is currently rolling out a profile redesign to all users, a redesign that puts an even greater emphasis on the great Twitter content that you share and one that provides some bonus opportunities to make a branding splash. Visual content will get a big boost. Top tweets will get a bump. And we’ll all be scrambling to find out what works best on this extreme makeover of our Twitter homes.

While you wait your turn to find your way around your new profile, you might be interested to plan ahead. We collected some Twitter tips from past stories, some psychological studies on marketing best practices, and some ideas on how each of these different factors might combine for some truly terrific tips on how to handle your new Twitter profile.

What’s changed on the new Twitter profiles

The Twitter redesign has a lot of people seeing shades of a certain other highly popular social network. It looks a lot like Facebook.

Here is a before and after of how the new Twitter profiles look.

Before: (I’m still waiting for mine.)

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 6.18.24 AM

After: (Buffer’s Adam Farmer already got his.)

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 6.12.26 AM

The full list of what’s changed appeared on Twitter’s blog when the redesign was announced. Here are the details:

  • Larger profile photos. These photos are now 400 pixels by 400 pixels, the same aspect ratio as before but with larger dimensions.
  • Customizable header image. This main image spans the browser, and users are encouraged to upload a 1500 pixel by 500 pixel image. Your current header image might fit, but the bigger scale might make it look a little fuzzy. (Images sizes are relative to device, too, so you might notice different layouts on different screens.)
  • Best tweets. Your tweets with the most engagement will appear in a larger text size inside your stream of updates.
  • Pinned tweet. You can pin one of your favorite tweets to the top of your profile page.
  • Filtered views. When visiting someone else’s profile, you can choose how to view their tweets: tweets only, tweets plus replies, or tweets with photos or videos.
  • Pinterest-style grid view of your followers, who you’re following, and your visual content.

These changes are being slowly rolled out to users over the next few weeks, so if you haven’t received the new profile yet, your turn is coming.

In addition, new users will start with these profiles, so if you’re at all interested in doing some early test runs to see how the profiles work, you can set up an alternate account and give the new design a go.

How might the new profiles affect you and your social media marketing? We’ve brainstormed some ways that you might be able to take advantage of this Twitter refresh. We’re curious to try these out for ourselves.

 

1. Header photos: Learn from the best Facebook pages

The comparisons of Twitter’s redesigned profiles to Facebook pages and profiles are obvious. So why not take a page from the most successful Facebook pages?

Many businesses big and small have found a way to use Facebook cover photos effectively. These inspiring samples might pique your own creative ideas for your new Twitter banner. One of my favorite lists of ideas comes from Constant Contact’s roundup of Facebook cover photos. Here are a couple standouts that you might consider trying:

Give back to your community with a user-driven header image

650x350xFB-cover-photos-for-business10.jpg.pagespeed.ic.l3oOjN54md

Show a behind-the-scenes look at your offices or employees

KUHF

 

Show what you sell – products, services, widgets, or alpacas

Alpaca-600x343

(One minor note here is that you may not want to copy over your Facebook cover photo directly into your Twitter profile because the dimensions may be off. Facebook is 850 pixels by 315 pixels, and Twitter is 1500 pixels by 500 pixels.)

Certainly, the new size for the Twitter header image gives you more real estate to show off a branded message. The previous headers were covered with your Twitter bio and avatar, but these new ones have room to spread out.

What are some of your favorite Facebook pages? Can you take a cue from them when creating a Twitter header image of your own?

 

2. Pin a tweet that drives an emotion

You now have the ability to pin any tweet of your choosing to the top of your Twitter profile. That’s a lot of freedom. Where to begin?

  • One of your best tweets
  • An upcoming event
  • A new announcement
  • A tweet that summarizes your brand and mission
  • A tweet that drives an emotion

You can go in a lot of different directions with your pinned tweet, so perhaps a good idea to keep in mind is the effect of emotion on your social media marketing.

We covered emotion in-depth in an earlier blog post, hitting on a number of different types of emotion and the feelings they engender. This particular emotion might be especially relevant to your social sharing strategy:

Happiness makes us want to share

Consider pinning a tweet that makes profile visitors feel happy—something positive, funny, or delightful, perhaps —and you might start a chain reaction of sharing.

Emotion in general is a good indicator of effective marketing, as evidenced in a study by IPA dataBank. Their research points to emotional content outperforming rational content nearly two to one.

emotional-vs-rational

3. Share more photos and videos

The value of visual content is a topic near and dear to our hearts (and our experiments) here at Buffer. We have seen great results in adding photos to our tweets and in making those photos as self-explanatory as possible.

By our numbers, tweets with photos outperform those without. Tweets with photos get 18 percent more clicks and 150 percent more retweets.

retweets

So what does this have to do with Twitter’s new redesign?

Well, photos and video are much more prominent with the design refresh. At the top of every profile is a list of links, many of which are familiar from before: Tweets, Followers, Following. One of the new additions is Photos/Videos.

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 6.13.06 AM

People who view your profile now have easier access to the visual content that you post. You’re likely already making a push for visual content, so the redesign should just add more incentive to keep your content fresh because it’s now top of mind for everyone.

 

4. Be aware of Twitter’s No. 1 rule for @-replies 

If you have a tweet that you want the world to see, you should not start the tweet with an @ symbol.

Twitter recognizes this as a reply, part of a larger conversation. As such, these tweets are hidden by default in a number of places around the network, including the redesigned profiles.

The new Twitter timeline filters create distinct views of tweets, tweets plus replies, and tweets with photos and videos.

The default view is simply “Tweets,” minus the @-replies and conversations.

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 6.12.48 AM

So if you want to ensure that your content is reaching the masses, be careful about when and how you use the @ symbol. And if you do start your tweet an @, be sure to place a period as the first character.

This type of tweet will end up in a stream:

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 2.58.18 PM

This won’t:

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 2.59.46 PM

 

5. Rethink your “favoriting” strategy

There are many of us on Twitter who use favoriting as a form of social currency—and we’re all quite generous. I’ve seen examples of people marking tweets as favorites any time a tweet mentions their name or anytime a conversation ends and there’s nothing left to say. Favorites mean different things to different people on Twitter.

How does Twitter feel about favorites?

According to the redesign, favorites might be more important than many of us thought. The new look gives a Favorites tab a prominent place in the main navigation.

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 6.13.50 AM

With this new focus, you might consider treating favorites in a different way. One idea is to use them as social proof for your brand. Favorite the recommendations, testimonies, and positive blurbs from your customers and fans, and transform your favorites tab into a board of brand high fives.

 

How will you use the new Twitter profiles?

If you’ve already started playing with new ideas on the Twitter profiles, what are you trying? What works? If you’re planning ahead on what to do, which of these ideas might you try?

I’d love to help you brainstorm in the comments or hear your ideas on how to best take advantage of the new designs. Oh yeah, we can take the conversation to Twitter, too. :)

P.S. If you like this post, you might also like Twitter Tips for Beginners: Everything I Wish I Knew About Twitter When I Started and The Power of Twitter’s Expanded Images.

Image credits: Twitter, Constant Contact, WixNeuroscience marketing.

  • http://about.me/muruganpandian Murugan Pandian

    I didn’t know about the placement of an @ as the first character in a tweet prevents it from appearing in a stream. Thank you for the information.

  • http://about.me/muruganpandian Murugan Pandian

    Any recommendations on sharing articles and having a photo from it appearing in the tweet? For my Instagram photos, I use an IFTTT recipe to tweet them in a way so they appear as Twitter photos instead of just an Instagram URL link.

  • Shawn Carter

    I love that Favorites are getting some love in the new redesign. I’ve always used the appreciate/love approach to favorites/retweets to enhance how I interact socially with other users. This will change up the game quite a bit.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Absolutely! Love your approach to favorites. I might be rethinking a strategy for myself.

      • Shawn Carter

        Awesome! Be sure to share it. I love swapping ideas around twitter usage. There’s so much good information that comes from conversations like that.

        • http://www.fatrank.com James Dooley

          So are we saying favourite as much as retweets?? I retweet a lot but only favourited several posts and always left this item. Let me know your thoughts?

          • http://johnrmeese.com/ John R. Meese

            No, I think the idea now is that we should be selective with our favorites, since those are the tweets featured on your profile.

          • Shawn Carter

            Actually, if I understand Twitter’s explanation of the new design, favorites shown on the profile page (like the example Kevan has here) are actually YOUR tweets that others have favorited. Stuff that gets higher counts on the favorites then acts like a temporary tribute to how much people liked a tweet or idea you had. It gives you some clout on whatever it was you tweeted. I could be wrong and the favorites section could be a list of tweets you’ve favorited, but that makes no sense to me since that’s the same function the retweet serves.

          • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

            Oh, interesting! I’ll need to dig a little deeper into this, it seems. Your observation makes a lot of sense, Shawn!

          • Sharon Shaked

            I don’t know… pressing the favorites counter loads all the tweets I have favored, not those i wrote and has been favored by others.

          • Shawn Carter

            Oh duh, I can’t believe I missed that. For whatever reason I interpreted that from my perspective when I checked it out. Good catch! It looks like it’s going to function as a retweet. The only difference is that it won’t get buried in your own profile feed. Hmmm. That really does change up how I favorite things now.

          • http://www.fatrank.com James Dooley

            Yes i agree but many seem to fav every tweet

    • http://videoforbusiness.ca/ Jeff Pelletier

      I’ve always used Favorites as more of a ‘bookmarking’ tool so that I can go back and respond, retweet or even just digest the content later – I’d then un-favorite it once done. Going to have to rethink this in light of the new design! (PS sorry I’m so late to the conversation)

  • http://www.ashideas.ca/ Michael Ash

    Great post. I will definitely think about a happier tweet to pin!

  • Jonathan H. Lemaster

    Great article. I can’t wait for my resigned and start playing with it.

  • Candy Donovan

    Great post! My primary Twitter account has been updated already – I had the chance to update my sister account, but chose to wait – wish I hadn’t now….new design is really cool!

  • Depression BP Bear

    Excellent article makes me look forward to the changes.

  • http://www.hijos-del-atomo.com/ Christian Orellana

    I didn’t even know there was a change coming. How clueless! Now I am excited waiting for it!

  • http://johnrmeese.com/ John R. Meese

    I’m glad Twitter is making profile features like headers more prominence, it seems to be a consistent move across social platforms. I’m super excited with the pinned tweet feature. I think we all have a few tweets that were funny or ironic that we’re a bit proud of, but generally only so many people saw it! Now our faves can live on.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Great point, John! I can think of a few top tweets that I wish more people could see. Long live our best ones!

      • http://johnrmeese.com/ John R. Meese

        Exactly!

  • helices

    I don’t know where this 1500x500px image size specification comes from; but, Twitter is NOT using 3:1 aspect ratio anywhere I’ve checked

    NOT desktop
    NOT iphone
    NOT ipad

    It’s usually closer to 4:1 on larger displays

    Furthermore, whereas the profile photo size is larger, its position varies, depending on the viewers’ screen: large displays it’s lower left; but, mobile displays still place it in the center horizontally & vertically

    Therefore, twitter graphic design is a very complicated process now …

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Helpful notes here! Thanks! The 1500×500 size is something I saw in a number of places, like here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/life/ct-new-twitter-profiles-tips-20140417,0,4171471.story . I’m really grateful for your followup on different devices and aspect ratios. It’s awesome to have this extra info! I think I could make a distinction in the post that these changes are coming to desktop, not necessarily mobile. Thanks!

    • http://staticforiphone.com Static

      This is spot on. The actual display is way off and tricky to photoshop properly if you want to place content properly on the header

  • http://www.thewebsitemanagers.com/ Thea Woods

    Loving the new Twitter changes. Thanks for the head’s up!

  • http://staticforiphone.com Static

    Does anyone else think that Twitter might be trying to do what Facebook did a few years back and make accounts pay for posts to be visible to all it’s followers? With the recent IPO and ads platform push I think it might be inevitable!

  • http://www.encourageyourspouse.com/ Lori Ferguson

    Thank you! I especially appreciate learning more about the “favorite” concept – I was grappling with how best to use the opportunity without really understanding how it’s viewed by others… (other than the obvious, of course.)

  • andrekibbe

    I don’t think I’m the only user who uses Favorites as bookmarks rather than the equivalent of Likes.

    Since I use Tweetbot, which has no Buffer integration, I’ve duct taped add-to-Buffer functionality through this IFTTT recipe triggered by favoriting a tweet. Occasionally I’ll do something else with a favorite (after removing it from the Buffer queue), but after I’ve done what I needed to do with them, I remove them from Favorites; so I’m basically Inbox Zero with Favorites.

    It’s unlikely that many users do this, but I suspect that many people favorite tweets to reply to them later, decided whether to retweet them, or to essentially bookmark a link contained in the tweet—using Favorites as a read-later queue.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Great use of IFTTT there! I can definitely see how Twitter’s revamping of favorites could have an odd effect. Hope it doesn’t cause you too much trouble. :)

    • Hannah

      You aren’t alone! Book-marking is my main use of favourites. I also use favourites to indicate thanks and things I find amusing but don’t match the outward voice I want to present.

      Great article, Kevan. I definitely have to rethink how I favourite tweets now…

      • andrekibbe

        If Twitter wants Favorites to be Like equivalents, they should add a “Pin” feature to let users bookmark tweets without endorsing them.

  • http://www.BenBrausen.com/ Ben Brausen

    It’ll be very interesting to see if we see any additional engagement from the pinned tweets. We’ve been able to do so with a couple of my accounts for 9+ months now and see less than 10 extra clicks per-week even with hundreds of thousands of followers. Remember that people have to come to your profile to see them. Once someone follows you, they don’t often return to check out your profile.

  • http://kpanastasi.com/ Katya Pavlopoulos

    I’m really excited about the changes! The only thing I’m still unclear about is how are the new favorites different from retweets? It used to be that I retweeted everything I liked and wanted to share, and favorited anything I liked but did not think it would benefit my 1k followers. Now, essentially both the RTs and Favorites get shared, just differently. What’s the point of having both functions, and how can I best take advantage of them?

    Also, can’t finish the comment without saying WHAT A GREAT ARTICLE!

  • Wanda S

    Great article, Kevan! The change with the favorites will be interesting. Thanks for the great tips!

  • http://www.outance.com/ Outance

    Great post… I love the new look of twitter :-)

  • Sam

    So how do I read conversations of people I do not follow? Like some people I find interesting, but their tweets flood my TL with quotes I don’t care for too much. I like to see the political exchange with them. So I pop into their twitter pages from time to time. Now I cannot read the conversation with the new format. What am I missing?

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Great question, Sam! I can certainly see how this would be valuable. You can click on the “Tweets & Replies” link at the top of someone’s timeline on their profile, and this should show you the conversations. It won’t filter out the non-conversation tweets, so you’ll be picking and choosing from among the whole enchilada.

      Hope this helps!

      • Sam

        Hey Kevan, thanks for that. I saw that if I click a conversation box on the other timeline, it opens up a bit of the conversation as a brand new page. To read anymore from the same person, I have to hit the back button and then click on the next conversation box. A bit painful compared to the earlier UI where if I hit reply, I could see the whole conversation on the same page.
        I have not yet opted for the change. How long before I will not have that option anymore? :)

  • mihha

    If I switch the option “Tweets and replies” in the New profile I can see my replaying tweets in timeline but I can’t find the option “view conversation” and neither “expend”. So I can’t evoke tweets that I was replaying to as I used to do before. This is not correct, is it!

    • mihha

      It’s all right. You only have to click on the tweet and then opens the all conversation.

      • Woodshedding

        Unfortunately though, that opens a new page and when you click the “back” button, you’ve lost your place in the the timeline.

        I for one find the new look tacky and shallow.

  • jessica@ Scienceof Parenthood

    We just changed to the new profile today and it’s given us a great opportunity to display our “science-y” parenting cartoons right in the header. I am loving this!

  • http://glassduffle.com/ Eric White

    Great timing with this one. High resolution photos are about to get a ton of love. Can’t wait to start taking advantage of the look! I dig it.

  • Daniel Smith

    my header image is at 1500×500 but is all blury. its only 113kb ><

    • Frederik

      Same here, around 120kb and Twitter compresses the crap out of it… header image looks horrible at this moment… anyone any sugeestions on which file size twitter stops compressing the header?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nwdjQmc_N8 Tanz

    I’ve noticed I cannot delete some RT’s since I’ve changed to the new design. Is this a typical glitch?
    And is there any way to go back to the old design?

  • http://www.lizmelville.co.uk Liz Melville

    Love the new design….on the laptop. But it’s disappointing to see that the lovely new header image doesn’t convert well onto the mobile version – which most folks will use to access Twitter. I’m hoping Twitter are looking into this so businesses can really maximise this real estate whatever access route folk take.

  • http://www.dailynewscompany.com/ Mehreen Ali Syed

    its great Twitter gets redesigned i read this news on http://www.dailynewscompany.com but ur details and content is best and comprehensive. thanks for sharing keep it up

  • Buffalo Wing Wear

    When you look at pictures on someones new profile you don’t seem to be able to see the replies to it any longer? You can look at replies to tweets, but if an image was attached to the original tweet you can not see the replies?

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nwdjQmc_N8 Tanz

      I noticed that last night.

      Had I known this in advance, I would not have switched over to the new design.

      • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

        Interesting find! I had a hard time seeing these replies, too. Where I ended up looking was on the individual URL for the tweet+post, like here: https://twitter.com/joelgascoigne/status/459135667201916928

        Is this maybe what you had in mind? I could be way off here. :)

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nwdjQmc_N8 Tanz

          Thanks for this tweet link. I appreciate your effort, Kevan.

          Unfortunately, that is not *exactly* what I had in mind.
          I’m very disappointed Twitter has not offered (did not mention when choosing the new design) that there is any way to opt out of this new design. If there is a way, I cannot find it from my profile settings.

          I just noticed something else; I’m not able to see replies from one of my followers unless I go to ‘Notifications’ and I now have to tweet a reply back to him via the notifications. Very annoying.

          If you have a link at Twitter for support regarding this new design, that would be great.

  • http://johnrmeese.com/ John R. Meese

    Heads up! You can now activate the new Twitter profile without waiting. See here: New web profiles are here.

    • http://johnrmeese.com/ John R. Meese

      But the header is smaller on mobile and third-party apps like Tweetdeck, so make sure to test your new design on multiple platforms (learned this the hard way—my logo was cut off!).

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      So helpful of you to share this, John! Thanks. :)

      • http://johnrmeese.com/ John R. Meese

        You got it!

  • Cathy Baker

    I’m new to Twitter and the updated profile has thrown me for a loop in regard to replies. I hit the “Tweets and Replies” link at the top to read their replies (I enjoy the conversation) but they don’t show up. I hit the “More” link but my only two options there are “Embed tweets” and “Report tweets.” I’ve read this post and numerous others but I’m still searching for the replies. :( Sorry if this is a stupid question! :)

  • Cathy Baker

    Ah, never mind. I thought I’d read all the comments prior to posting her but I missed Mihha’s which answered my question. Thanks anyway!

    Great article.

  • Jennifer

    I ended up using a service to delete my favorites. It will do 50,000 tweets for you. It’s by far the easiest approach I’ve found so far. http://bit.ly/twitter-service

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Sounds like a really neat tool, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • terra100

    Wish I could hide who I followed in the stream. I don’t think that adds to my stream, but now it is automatic. Twitter needs an on/off button in the settings features to hide or show who you follow in your stream.

  • raj Fore

    ;) Let us know how it goes when you use some of the techniques on Twitter. Would love to hear from you.

    advertise on twitter

  • https://plus.google.com/+Luisbiasimexico/about Luis Alfredo Biasi

    Great tips…Very useful…

  • Denis

    Can you tell me what size is required for an opened image fully in stream, great information by the way Kevan :-)

  • http://twitrheaders.com Twitter Headers

    There is large collection of ready to use twitter headers. Optimized for new twitter profile layout 1500×500 pixels – http://twitrheaders.com

  • http://www.amsvans.com Amsvans Atlanta

    Just turned on our new profile, and it looks terrific. That said, when I log into Twitter now, it still shows our old page. When I click on our name under the profile pic on our old page, it takes me to our new page. How do I eliminate the old page?

  • http://www.amsvans.com Amsvans Atlanta

    How do I permanently transfer to the new page? When I log in to Twitter, it still brings up our old page, though I can get to our new page by clicking on our company name under the profile pic.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Thanks for the comment! I’m thinking that the experience might not have changed for the logged in user but rather for those who view a profile? Does that sound like maybe the way it’s been working for you? I seem to notice the same.

  • JR

    Great artice…thank you..

  • grace

    hey Kevan – interesting post again! btw everyone can request for the new Twitter profile change right here: https://about.twitter.com/products/new-profiles

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Thanks, Grace! Awesome to see we can all grab the profiles now. I’ve been enjoying mine! :)

  • landon pauley

    Short, sweet, and to the point.
    Twitter is becoming more personal with a “timeline” like Facebook. It will be interesting to see Twitter’s progression in the future and takeover mobile apps/real-time social media updates.

  • BrokenEye

    Okay, I already know about the bug where tweets appear in different sizes, but how do I actually fix it?

  • mpinard

    Very helpful, especially #4 and #5! I found this article because I’m annoyed that I can no longer easily Buffer tweets from my Favorites page though… I use it not as social currency, but as my to-do list for Buffering: see something good on my phone; favorite it for passing on later. But now I have to go into every Fav’d tweet to un-Fave and Buffer it, instead of getting the pop-up and being able to manage it all from the old page. Any advice? Great article, btw!

    • Adam Farmer

      Oh, no! So sorry for the trouble on this one. Definitely something I would love to dig into and see if we can get back into working order for you. Are you seeing the trouble happening today? Just took a quick look and I have a hunch it may be better, :)

      • mpinard

        You are correct! Promote that hunch to a head honcho. ;-) I think I may not have been treating the number and the icons as separate links. Solved!

  • Christa Vartanian

    Well Written. i think retweets and favourites have taken important place in people’s mind.

    If u want Retweets and Favorites, i can provide you the same , check this http://www.fiverr.com/facebooklikessz/add-7000-retweets-and-favorites-to-your-tweet-and-send-1000-followers-in-6-hours

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  • Meloney Bartlett

    Hmmm, have to rethink my favourites – i.e. those links I mark for reading later – this doesn’t mean endorsement.

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  • anisa

    brother i have problem. I can’t see tweets i have favorited on tab favorite. help pls