So you’ve opened a Twitter account. Whether for business or for pleasure, it is important that you get that profile working for you as soon as possible. Even if it is for pleasure, you will soon see the business benefits and understand why the following 5 steps are important actions if you are 1) to benefit from being on Twitter and 2) not to suffer from having a Twitter account that is left dormant.

Things to do:

  1.  Add a profile picture

Some favour a logo, some a caricature, others a nice head and shoulders photo. Any of those works, although many think the latter is more successful if you are to engage more personally with others on Twitter. What is certain is that anything is better than the default blank-looking egg that Twitter uses if you don’t upload a picture. Going around on Twitter with that egg as your representative just suggests you are dis-interested and certainly haven’t got to grips with the platform. Remember it is the first thing people see of you and first impressions count and also that in many cases it will appear even smaller on their mobile handset screen than you upload it, so be wary of any lettering that may be hard or indeed impossible to read.

  1.  Change your header image

This is a relatively new feature that isn’t viewable in all Twitter applications, but does offer you a chance to say much more about you – and a picture says a thousand words. On your twitter homepage ( this comes up at the top of the screen behind your profile picture. If you don’t change it, it isn’t as vital as not having a profile picture, but since Twitter is all about creating your persona online, it makes sense to complete the package.

  1.  Create your profile bio

This is possibly the most important 160 characters you will ever write. It has SEO value and also is the way strangers will decide whether you are worth following or not. It is your introduction to the Twittersphere, so make it punchy and engaging as that is what Twitter is all about. In the main Twitter conversations you will only have 140 characters, so being able to sell yourself in 160 is a good test of writing tight copy.

  1.  Gather your community

Twitter will encourage you to search your existing contacts and connect with them via Twitter. This is a great way to get started but also consider how you plan to use Twitter. Is it for business or pleasure? Do you want to try and keep the same separate? (not always easy in the public social sphere remember)

  1.  Begin engagement

Twitter is often tolerant for a while of lurkers. We know many will want to learn how it works before leaping in and indeed etiquette is a big thing on social networks, so it pays to understand before you join in fully. Yet, you will only really understand the value and the fun to be had from Twitter by using it properly and that means engaging. By all means join in on social conversations, that is the key to great tweeting, especially if a hashtag is being used – it is almost an invite for others to join in. Starting the conversation is the best way to get involved though and asking a question or framing your 140 characters with an open-end, inviting a reply, is the best way to get noticed.

So there it is how to start on Twitter. It will probably take you a maximum of an hour to complete them all, but the sooner you do the sooner you will be enjoying the benefits of the social network. “So don’t delay, act today” as they’d probably say in an advertisement.