Special Feature

Take flight with Twitter

Whether you're a social-media novice or a hash-tag connoisseur, these expert tips will help you get the most from your tweets.

Sales & Marketing

Start with an effective bio, header image and profile picture

By Leah Golob |

Once you have created a website, the next logical step in building your brand is to establish a presence on social media, says Kirtarath Dhillon, social-media and public relations coordinator with Advisor Websites in Vancouver. Twitter is an effective network for encouraging real-time interaction with your target audience because it is an open platform.

Twitter also is the quickest way to stay on top of the industry's latest news and insights, adds Maggie Crowley, marketing manager with Advisor Websites. By following the influential business people, writers and news sources you admire — you can receive a steady flow of ideas and news relevant to your interests.

Here are three tips for creating your Twitter account:

1. Write a bio that's short and sweet
The overarching rule on Twitter is that you have to keep your writing short and concise — and that rule applies to your Twitter "bio" section. You have only 160 characters to work with in your bio, Dhillon notes, so avoid writing full sentences or quoting your LinkedIn profile or resumé.

Use popular industry terms to attract users with similar interests, Dhillon says. For example, an advisor might write: "Financial planner. Philanthropist. Tech expert. Family man."

It's always a bonus when you can connect with users on interests outside of the financial services industry. For example, identifying yourself as a Blue Jays fan may encourage other users to connect. That bond can later lead to a business relationship, Dhillon says.

2. Find a captivating header image
Make your profile unique with an eye-catching header image — the picture that extends across the top of your your main page. Twitter recommends an image that's 1500 x 500 pixels.

"A lot of people have stock images portraying themes like power or influence," Dhillon says. "But if you include a family photo with your dog by your side, that can set you apart from what everyone else is doing. Don't be afraid to mix it up a little."

Another option is to use an image based on your geographical location, Crowley says. For example, if you live in Vancouver, you might use a photo of the city's skyline against a background of mountains.

3. Upload a professional profile photo
Skip the smartphone selfies and go for a well-lit, professional headshot. Twitter suggests 400 x 400 pixels. For brand consistency, you can use the same photograph as you have on your LinkedIn account or on your website's "about me" page.

Says Dhillon: "This is one place where you don't portray your ‘fun' side."

This is the first part in an occasional series on building your business with Twitter.

Next: Creating a social-media strategy for Twitter.