On Twitter? You’d Better Be Real.

A few days ago, my friend and social media maven Irene Koehler wrote a fantastic blog post entitled “11 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Me to Unfollow You on Twitter”.  After I laughed myself silly over #1 (you’ll see why), and smiled and nodded at all the others, my eyes lit again on #11.  Here’s what it says:

“You don’t get that authenticity is a key component of social media success. You have the default Twitter avatar or are using a photo of your dog. You haven’t completed your Twitter bio – come on, it is really, really easy to do. I don’t know your name and can’t find your blog, your LinkedIn profile or any other online presence…”

I couldn’t agree more.

I love Twitter.  I take it very seriously, whether I’m debating, offering advice,  or joking with friends.  Always, in the back of my mind, is one constant reminder to myself  –

Be real.

And I am, all the time.  My commitment to authenticity started with the page many people ignore, or scurry through, with no thought to content or context.

The Settings page.  Where you start to build your personal brand on Twitter.  Really.

I can almost hear the sound of heads snapping to attention.  It’s just a silly image and a tiny, insignificant bio, right?

Wrong.

If you are on Twitter to inform, engage, discuss, grow your business, join a community or support a cause, then give your brand the attention it deserves.

Think about how you want to look to the world.

I’m a strong advocate of an attractive photo or avatar that conveys something about you.  I’m not a huge fan of logos, unless you are writing exclusively for a company or product and not as yourself.  Otherwise, it’s hard to warm up to a logo in conversation.

Bios are short, but they pack a punch. And don’t forget – they are searchable, so choose your words carefully. Ask yourself a few key questions:

What do I want the world to know about me?

What is important to me right now?

What sort of people do I want to find and follow me?

Depending on how you answer, your bio may focus on your business, or the fact that you are looking for job opportunities.  Or it may be all about your hobbies, passions and talents.  Or your cats:-)

And it’s all good, because you’ve taken the time to understand what interactions you want out of Twitter.  And feel free to change the bio.  It keeps things fresh as your priorities change.

And yes, by all means add the links to your blog, Facebook or LinkedIn profiles  if they’re complementary to the brand you’re building on Twitter.

And ask for help if you need it.  Irene’s offered. So am I.  There are tons of smart, helpful people out there who would gladly offer their assistance in the name of authenticity and engagement.

We’ve had enough of names that are nothing but jibberish,  silly or offensive avatars, and NO story.  And we aren’t impressed if all you tweet about is yet another site that got you hundreds of new followers or another quick and easy way to make lots of money.

We want to talk to, learn from, share life’s moments with, and  help real people who are just as eager to do the same.

So if you are one of those people, I’d love you to follow me @CathyBrowne so I can follow you back.  For the rest of you, I have only one thing to say.

Please get real.