Setting Up Your Twitter Profile
Twitter – 140 characters of sheer bliss! Don’t feel that way? Don’t stress. We’ve got the basics covered here for you – from setting up your profile to plotting your online presence – guiding you step-by-step through the process.
Twitter is a micro-blogging site that started in 2006 as a San Francisco-based company’s internal communication tool. It quickly evolved into one of the most communicative social networks available. Friendships, customer relationships, and even marriage proposals have blossomed within its short-and-to-the-point confines.
But how will this help YOUR bank?
Great question. Twitter has a reputation for being an easy way for customers to voice service issues, complaints, and yes – even compliments! – directly to a company. It enables you to send short updates to your following, including links to your website which can help boost traffic. You can engage in public conversations with your customers, endearing them to your brand and spreading the word about various products, promotions, interesting articles, and fun pieces of content you’ve produced. You can learn a lot about your customers by asking them questions directly relating to how you can serve them better, from understanding specific customer relations issues, to getting their feedback on broad-based topics like home loans and new accounts.
Before you delve into the Twittersphere, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the network’s lingo and functionality.
- Your Twitter account is represented by a handle, which is the moniker that appears after the @ symbol. Twitter handles must be 15 characters or less.
- A Tweet is what the messages you send via Twitter are called. They must be 140 characters or fewer. (If you include a link or an image, you will have fewer characters for copy.)
- A hashtag is the word or string of words that follows a # symbol, and acts as a link to other related Tweets. For more details on hashtags, check out Gremln’s #HashtagEtiquette infographic.
- You can mention someone in your post by including his or her Twitter handle (e.g. @Gremln).
- You can send a direct message (DM) to another user that will be privately sent and not viewable to the public. DMs must be 140 characters or fewer.
- A Twitter trend means a certain topic, person, or hashtag is garnering a large amount of social media attention.
Now that you’re hip to the vernacular, it’s time to get yourself ready to create your bank’s official Twitter account.
Head over to www.Twitter.com, enter the full name and email address of the person who will be managing the account, and create a password (be sure to write this down so you don’t forget it!). You will be able to change this information later, so it will not be public to your account.
When you click “Sign up for Twitter” you’ll then be asked to enter your credentials and create a Twitter handle. (Remember, your handle needs to be 15 characters or less – and yes, you can change the name and the Twitter handle later if needed.)
Once you click “Create my account” you’ll need to verify your email address. So go check your email for a new message from Twitter! (Hint: If using Gmail, you’ll want to check the “Social” tab in the new inbox layout.)
Your email message from Twitter will look like this:
When you click on the link, you’ll be redirected to enter your Twitter credentials:
The first time you log in, you’ll see some suggestions for who to follow – likely pop artists and celebrities. Feel free to ignore these recommendations completely. They will not appear every time you log in, and we’ll quickly get to helping you build an audience you really ARE interested in!
On the left, you’ll see your name, with a link underneath that says “View my Profile Page.”
At this point, you won’t see much in your profile. Our next few steps will take you through the process of creating it. Here’s what your blank slate will look like:
If you click on the blue + button, you’ll be able to add your profile image. This can be a photo of the person managing the bank’s account, the bank’s logo, or the bank’s mascot, if applicable. (Reminder: It needs to be 81 x 81 pixels, so be sure to have it edited to size before you get started to make things easier.)
On Twitter, as in life, making a strong first impression is important. While looks aren’t everything, the way you present yourself visually plays a big role in how you are perceived. As a financial institution, professionalism and reliability are of utmost importance – make sure that comes across in your visual branding on the social networks.
When selecting images to accentuate your profile, consider using a visual representation of your bank – perhaps an exterior or interior shot, as well as your company’s logo. This way, people can build brand recognition through your logo and get a feel for the bank’s physical location.
Once you have your images selected, you’ll want to make sure they are the right size:
- Header image: 1252 x 626
- Profile image: 81 x 81
One of the best ways to boost your bank’s social presence (and search result status) is to make the most of the 140 characters you have for a description. You have other fields where you can enter your location and website, so use the 140 characters to describe your top services and products. What kind of bank are you? (Commercial, Retail, Investment?) What sets you apart? (Free checking, No minimums, No fees?). The description is also a great place to let your audience know the person behind the account. “Tweets by Cheryl, Great Bank’s Marketing Officer!” It’s not necessary, but depending on the voice you’ve determined for your social presence, you may choose to add that personal element.
Under the description area, you’ll see you are able to enter your bank’s Location, as well as include a link to your Website.
- Gremln tip! Create a Brev.is link that directs Twitter followers to your website, and you can track the number of clicks that link receives.
Once you’ve got your profile set, you are ready to start Tweeting.
A few ideas to help you get started creating content:
- Let the Twitterverse know you’re here. A friendly “We’re on Twitter!” post with your bank name and a link to your website will get you started.
- Does your website have a great “About Us” page? Tweet a link to alert people there’s more than 140 characters to your bank’s story.
- If your website features a “Team” page with staff photos & bios, share it – showing the personal side of your company is a big part of what social media is all about.
- Tweet links to interesting articles you find online – they can be industry related, or highlight a person or company in your community.
- Have some fun! Showing a humorous side indicates there’s a human behind the posts, and can help your customers identify with your brand.
Need help building your Twitter following? Check out Gremln’s tips on finding your audience. If you’re a local community bank, following other local organizations is a great starting point. They’ll likely follow you back, and may even welcome you to Twitter, alerting their audience to your social presence.
Don’t miss the rest of Gremln’s Banking & Social Media: Get Started Guide! In Part 1, we offer some pointers to help banks define the purpose, voice, and policies for a successful social media presence. Part 2 provides a how-to guide for setting up your bank’s Facebook Company Page, and Part 4 takes you step-by-step through building your LinkedIn presence.