Your Twitter bio: How to write it and why it matters

Five pros share what to reveal about yourself in 160 characters.

Let’s just skip the drill about giving an elevator pitch.

Because if you’re on Twitter, you don’t get the luxury of introducing yourself in a 30-second ride (or being stuck listening to someone drone on and on about their career).

Instead, with your Twitter bio, you’ve got 160 characters to tell the world about yourself. Write about your job, where you live and what you do. But feel free to tantalize us with details about how much you like walks on the beach, hazelnut gelato and WWF wrestling.

So, how do you know what information to put out there? And how will others judge you for it? If you’re thinking about writing or overhauling your Twitter bio, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Know your goals

Ask yourself what you want to get out of your bio, says Holly Matson, of Risdall Online Marketing Group.

“Think about your goals for the account. What followers are wanted? What type of engagement is desired? What will be discussed and shared? Use the bio area to showcase this.” Here’s Holly’s bio (@Hiomats): DMNews 30 under 30, Online Marketer, Blogger, SEO/SEM, Social Media & Lover of fashion, football, Pandas, Music, Friends (Online and Off), Movies, & Puppies.

David Erickson agrees. He’s the director of e-Strategy at Tunheim Partners. When he consults clients on how to use Twitter, he says it’s important to think about the audiences you want to reach with your bio. “Who are they, why would they want to follow you, and what search terms would they use to find you if they didn’t know you? Your bio should be written with those keywords in mind, while also being compelling enough to create an interest in following you.” Here’s David’s bio (@Derickson) Internet marketing/strategic communications/PR guy, estrategy & social media fan, political junkie, football & baseball fanatic, blogger.

Get real

Becky Blaine is a public relations and resort historian at Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa. If you’re representing a company, she says it’s important to let people know you’re a real person. “It’s more personal and lends credibility to the information you are tweeting,” she says. Blaine says people have reached out to her through Twitter and make connections for PR opportunities. And without her name on the bio, they wouldn’t know whom they were talking to. Here’s what Becky says about herself (@ArizonaBiltmore): Historic Resort built in 1929 celebrating 80th Anniversary this year! Tweets by Becky, Historian & PR Manager

Be authentic

Don’t just put “Public Relations Professioanl at xx,” advises Deanna Ferrari, account executive at WordWrite Communications LLC. “Include some interests on there, so you seem like a person, not a robot. Defining different interests in your bio allows your followers to recognize you are not one-sided.” Here’s Deanna’s bio (@dferrari): Account Executive @wordwritepr, PRSA Pittsburgh Board Member, Aunt. Loves Vinyasa Yoga, the Steelers, LOST, my DVR, the color pink, lacrosse and running. Also enjoy intending puns.

Say what you’ll tweet about

Help others make a decision if they should follow you or not. “Include what you will be tweeting about,” says Ty Mays, senior public relations manager at Perfect Pitch Public Relations. The Twitter bio is (@perfectpitchpr) Public relations tips, resources and services for small businesses and enterprising individuals. “If you come across my profile and you’re interested in those topics, then the decision to follow should be an easy one,” Mays says.

Lighten up

Be human, but professional, says Travis Dudfield, the PR Manager at @1800GOTJUNK. “It is important to remember that while social media can be fun and you can (and sometimes should) have a sense of humor with your tweets, you are representing your organization and people’s opinions are going to sway if you convey a positive or negative image,” Dudfield says. “Your profile should reflect this.”

Jeff Kelley of Capital Results says the Twitter bio serves as a way for people to get to know the person behind the company—not the place to directly market yourself. He points to Tim Siedell @badbanana as an example. “His feed is hilarious, but he links to his company: communications and advertising,” Kelley says. “It shows he’s an incredible creative genius and copywriter.”

Now that you know who you are, don’t forget to add a picture to go along with your bio.

And choosing the proper one is a whole different story.

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