5 Effective Steps to Help You Build a Strong Twitter Presence

How to Build Your Twitter PresenceRight from the early days of Twitter I decided to start working on building my brand there. Now with over 5,000 visitors in the last 30 days, Twitter is my number one referral traffic source. And it has actually always been on the top of the list for the last few years

The fact is with enough high-quality followers, you have the potential of drawing a lot of traffic from Twitter right to your blog.

But of course followers are not all there is to Twitter…

I’ve seen accounts that rarely receive a SINGLE retweet on their shares even though they have hundreds of thousands of followers under their belt. To see success you should look at different directions and take into consideration multiple factors.

The aim of today’s post is namely to give you a glimpse over some of those other factors that matter.

In the below paragraphs I have devised a list of five of the things I do to stay on top of my Twitter marketing aside from getting people to follow me.

Let’s get started:

1. Start with Designing Your Profile

What a lot of folks tend to do is the minute they sign-up, they just become tweet and follow frenzy. Without having taking a minute to optimize their profile, they rush into following everyone they see and tweeting links.

Chances are before following you back, people WILL look at your profile. And when they see an egg or some photo you found on the internet (it’s easy to distinguish between a real one) as your profile picture, they probably won’t look further.

What is the morale here? 

We need to be genuine.

Shooting and uploading a photo of you takes just a couple of minutes but the effect is big. One thing to remember is don’t make the photo too small. I myself have the tendency of clicking on the avatars to see them in bigger size. It looks rather unprofessional when you click on one and it doesn’t scale up to a bigger size than the thumbnail. The least it could be an avatar you’ve found somewhere and used on your profile.

It seems like the perfect dimensions for a Twitter avatar are 400 x 400. That way when clicked the images scales up nicely so people can see your face better.

Second thing is the cover image, which all big social networks incorporate lately.

The default cover image isn’t ugly, but it doesn’t tell the visitor anything. Plus it isn’t cohesive. The avatar rarely fits that grayish background. Here are a few examples of great combinations between a profile image and a cover photo:

Darren Rowse Cover Photo

Darren has done a great job connecting the cover with the profile image. The professionally-made close-up of Darren’s face definitely adds a pinch of credibility even if it wasn’t for the blue tick next to his name.

KISSmetrics Cover Photo

KISSmetrics profile tells us right away, without having to read the description, what they are all about. We instantly know we are dealing with a company that specializes in social media (the Twitter badges and the conversation balloons) analysis (the numerous charts) to help business make money (the briefcase, the shopping trolley, the dollar bill).

Michael Hyatt Cover Photo

The last one from Michael Hyatt’s profile is the “cleanest” on the list. Simplicity is definitely not a bad thing when executed right. Additionally the black color makes for a great contrast between the background and the letters, making the reader’s eyes focus on the text.

Hopefully those profiles brought some inspiration. If they indeed did and you are ready to fire-up Photoshop, make sure your cover image is exactly 1252 pixels wide and 626 pixels high. 

As for the background, I honestly don’t like the ones that include a ton of text, logos and images and prefer to keep it simple with just one color that matches the cover photo. One simplistic background that I really like is the one Moz have.

Twitter BackgroundIf you’d like to design your own, here is the pattern that you must follow. Simply click on the image to download it. The actual resolution is 1920 x 1200:

2. Use and Monitor Hashtags

Are you adding hashtags to your tweets?

Well if you aren’t, you should be. A recent research proved that hashtags do make a difference. The results speak for themselves:

Twitter and the Importance of Hashtags

So from the above graphic we see that it is best to go for either one or two hashtags in your tweets. But the question now is which hashtags should we use. Well unless you are making a Twitter chat using a hashtag, you shouldn’t be too specific with Twitter hashtags. There isn’t enough search volume for hashtags like #ConversionOptimizationTips or #GetMoreBlogTraffic to work.

The best starting point is your competition. Discover Twitter users who are using Twitter longer than you and observe their hashtag usage.

Then to get an idea of the usage of a specific hashtag that you have in mind, you can take a look at a tool called Hashtags. As the name suggests, the tool is designed to give you information on hashtags. With it you can get cool graphs on the usage of the hashtags you are interested in. Here is an example one for the #blogging hashtag:Hashtag Usage for  Blogging

3. Take Advantage of Search Alerts

The main idea of a search alert is to stay tuned to what other are saying about your brand and to engage where appropriate. Search alerts can also be used for monitoring your competition or just keeping yourself informed on an event.

One really simple tool that I recently discovered and that does the job well is TweetBeep.

Before you use it, you will first have to sign-up. The whole process will take just a minute of your time so it’s not a big deal.

Then once you have confirmed your email, you log-in and click on the big “My Alerts” link on the top-right side of your screen. Now you will have to insert the keyword or the keyphrase you will be monitoring, choose whether that is simply a keyword, a hashtag, or a Twitter username, select the frequency and you are done:

Setting Up Keyword Alerts

Noticed the “Exclude keywords” option? That one can be particularly useful if you are looking for specific results and don’t want to receive all notifications about the keyword of your choice.

4. Make Sure People Know You Are on Twitter

Sounds a little obvious, doesn’t it?

Even though it might indeed seem like a no-brainer, have you seriously thought about ways to let people know you are on Twitter and they can follow you there?

Well below I have included some of the more important things you absolutely must do if you want to be followed:

  • Add Your Twitter HandleMake sure to add “via @YourTwitterHandle” to your retweet button – It is quite frustrating when you want to retweet an article, but the retweet button doesn’t include the via element. After all you need to make sure you give credit to the original author. Haven’t you also happened to follow someone namely after seeing the author’s Twitter handle?

Okay, how do you add that? Simple. Most social plugins will have a field in their Settings page where you can add your Twitter handle. The rest will be done automatically. Or if you are using the direct code for the button, here is what you need:

<iframe style=”width: 115px; height: 21px;” src=”http://platform.twitter.com/widgets/tweet_button.html?url=<?php the_permalink(); ?>&via=YOUR TWITTER HANDLE&text=<?php the_title(); ?>” height=”240″ width=”320″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”></iframe>
  • Include social buttons at the right side of your headerSocial Media Widget is a really simple WordPress plugin that does just that – it allows you to include social media buttons for a wide variety of platforms including Twitter. There are several button styles with different hover effects, so you should find the look that suits you.

If you have a widget area at the top of your blog, make sure to include the widget there. After all that is one of the first elements your blog’s visitors will notice.

  • Still Don’t neglect your sidebar – The sidebar is where most blogs have a “Stay Tuned” widget for people to connect, so you shouldn’t forget about that area. One of the best placements to use is the “About me” widget, where you tell people a bit about yourself and provide them with a link to your About page.  There I’d advise you to use the follow button from Twitter’s page.

Also if you are willing to spend six bucks, the Social Box plugin (aff. link) is a great way to add a dynamic widget that shows the number of fans and followers for your social platforms and allows visitors to easily follow you.

  • Create an Email Signature – It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. What I’ve done is simply included a link to my social media profiles without any styling. Images and hard formatting aren’t a good idea with emails anyway, since most people won’t see them. Make it simple and noticeable.

If you are unsure how to create an email signature, here is a tutorial for those of you who use Yahoo and one for those of you who use Gmail.

5. Measure Your Results and Adapt

The last part comes down to measuring your results and adapting your presence.

How do you do that?

Well there are a number of tools that you can take advantage of.

Buffer Top TweetIf you’d like to know which of your tweets return a lot of retweets and which fail to create engagement, you can use Buffer (ref. link).

Buffer as you probably know is a tool that allows you to schedule Twitter updated. If you use it, you also get some really detailed analytics that can give you an insight on what is working and what isn’t if you are testing different kinds of tweets.

Another service that you can use to observe your results is Twitter Counter. The service provides information on how many followers you gain/lose on daily base. With the free plan you can go back up to six months in time to see how your account is doing and how your number of followers is changing over time.

Twitter Counter Graphs

Final Words

Those are some of the main considerations if you want a strong presence on Twitter. Keep in mind that it all starts from your profile. If you make that part right, your path will be a little easier. Second thing is hashtags – make sure to use them – they do make a difference! Thirdly don’t forget to make sure people know how to find you on Twitter.

Now on to you! 

What are your ways to stay on top of Twitter? Do you agree with the steps I covered in the post? Do you use hashtags?

Please take a minute to share! 

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  1. Nice points Daniel :)

    I use twitter to promote my blog posts and tweet my favorite posts too. I drive little traffic from Twitter, I guess that am missing some key ways to show my presence over there. I use one or two hash-tags as you told and have social buttons at exact place in my blog.

    Thanks for your twitter tips, will follow your executable ways to build my presence on Twitter.

  2. Nice tips Daniel. Sorry I missed this the first time you shared it but glad I caught it when Rebekah Radice posted it on Pinterest and tweeted it today.

  3. I’ve been using Buffer to track social engagements and Twitlet for Twitter search activity. You’ve added a few nifty Twitter tools to consider. Will be interesting to see how these new tools work?

  4. Great tips Daniel! Thank you so much for sharing. Hashtags are something I sometimes forget about using, but they are so important! When you see the numbers, it really drives it home as to how crucial it is to use them. Also never really thought about doing a keyword search for my company. Definitely will be doing that soon!

    Thanks again!

  5. Daniel, these seem to be awesome tips!!! I am struggling to build follower base on Twitter so this should help me a lot!!!

  6. For personal twitter accounts, it is useful to follow some celebrities. In the rare even that you are followed back, a legion of fans from that celebrity will also end up following you. Has happened to me before.

  7. To my surprise, Hashtag matters? This is one thing I have been ignoring for days and at some point I thought it is just a swag which I do not need. This post really calls me to revisit my twitter account. Thanks Daniel for the share ~Anetta

  8. Some great tips there – those image dimensions are a great find.

    One thing I definitely dont do (and should) is using search alerts – will give that a go now.

  9. Just getting started in the Twitter world so it was really nice to get a short, basic list of things to do. I’ve been working through all the links to implement as many as I can!!
    You’ve got lots on, I’m sure but I’m @CZBlog if you are ever in the area ;)

  10. This is really a great one. Those are very good tips. Thank you for sharing this information.

  11. Hi Daniel,

    Great tips. I think our profile stand out, but my guess after reading this is that we should “clean-it-up a bit”-make it simpler. What would you say about @feedwebresearch?


  12. Great article. Confirmed some things I already incorporate– gave me some new ideas. My website Zipinpolitics.com under construction– but will redo with added info under my belt.

  13. Just to add, don’t just hashtag #random #words. I think it was Gary V. who mentioned “ride the hashtag, don’t create it.” Meaning you need to use hashtags where there is an existing conversation, or that people actually search for.

    • Yes, I definitely agree with you Jay. As I see it only big companies can really be able to create their own hashtags and turn them into a trend. If you really need exposure, use more generalised hashtags to describe the topic of the content you share.


  14. Thank you for your advices, I think that is why my twitter didn’t appeal to people. I will try your way, hope it will succeed!!!

  15. Powerful tips I must say. A lot of us use Twitter the wrong way. I guess this post is an eye opener to the fact that having a strong Twitter presence requires a lot of proactive steps. Tips 1 to 4 are readily revealing! Thanks Daniel for sharing them!

    In the social bookmarking site, kingged.com, this post was found. I have read it and found it helpful. The above comment was left on it.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor


  16. Daniel,
    Seeing the value in hashtags, wouldn’t you want to use hashtags per topic that are most likely to reach beyond your followers? Please try the tool my team has built, RiteTag, and let us know what you think. Be sure to get your stuff set up in Settings (pull-down fromyour name) and then, get the Chrome extension from “Browser extensions.” Smart-tag and schedule, tweet or auto-schedule – right from any web page.

  17. Jeevan Jacob John says:

    Hey Daniel,

    Hope your move went well :D

    As I am planning to launch a new blog, I definitely need to go and redesign my Twitter banner. I will certainly keep the tips in mind. Thank you Daniel :)

    I do know the importance of hash tags, but most of the times, I just forget to use them (Sometimes, I do remember, and I do add them). I could say that it doesn’t matter much now since I don’t share “my content” (but, I am sharing others’ content – content that I read and like, and I should try my best to get more people to read it, right?).

    I use Tweet Deck to manage Search alerts. I constantly switch Twitter clients, so I decided to keep out of the loop – out of the “important things”. My tweet deck is now dedicated for searches/queries.

    Not having twitter handles on share buttons? Oh, yes. I have seen plenty of that. I still do it. I hate it, but I live it (I don’t imagine all bloggers would be willing to do that).

    Anyways, appreciate the tips, Daniel :) Thanks!

    • Hey Jeevan,

      The move went good, it is finally all settled. :)

      The launch definitely seems like a good time to do a redesign! As far as hashtags go, yeah when it comes to retweeting other people’s content, I rarely use them as well. The tweet becomes very long with both the via @ part and hashtags.

      I’m mainly using Tweet Deck to monitor mentions. Have tried its alerts function, but didn’t really stick to it.

      Thank you for stopping by my friend! :D

  18. Great tips. The only thing I would add is consistency. I have noticed a negative change in engagement after taking a break of around 4 weeks from blogging and from Twitter. Now I am working hard to get back to the previous level of engagement with my followers. It really makes sense to schedule posts on Twitter.

    • You most definitely have a point Churchill. Consistency is a key factor and the moment you take a break is the moment when things start to go down. But of course that shouldn’t mean one should tweet non-stop IMO. Breaks every now and then aren’t a bad thing. Once you get back, you just have to push a little harder until it all goes back in place.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  19. Hi Daniel,
    Super tips. Engaging is a biggie. Tweet early, often and retweet quite a bit too. Respond to tweets and start chats with people after running hashtag searches. I started this approach yesterday. Working well so far.

    I run a search then chat. I @reply, that is it. Casual, light. I might ask questions. I do not retweet at this point. Just all light chatter to detach from outcomes and simply be sociable. This practice instantly makes your tweets more attractive than all those link pushers out there.

    Thanks Daniel,


    • Hey Ryan,

      The one about hashtags and starting chats is a pretty good idea. Honestly I haven’t tried it myself, but might indeed give it a go at some point.

      Thanks as always for stopping by my friend! :D