social media how toAre you still using the standard Twitter backdrop? If you’re looking leave a lasting impression, you should consider swapping out that plain-Jane image for something more exciting.

Your Twitter background helps convey your brand and convey a positive first impression.

This is the second of a two-part series of tips to create a strong Twitter profile.  In the first part, we covered the first five steps to creating your Twitter profile.  Now let’s talk about your image.

Creating Your Twitter Background

By changing the default Twitter background on your Twitter profile, you show your audience you’re not a spambot.  And it also gives you the opportunity to create a more inviting environment to engage with your audience and even to brand your business.

Using Free Twitter Backgrounds

If you want to use a free, easy-to-install Twitter background, have a look at what Twitter has to offer first. On your Twitter page, go to the Account Settings link. There you’ll find a Design tab where you’re able to change your Twitter background and Twitter design colors.

In addition to these 20 Twitter designs, you’ll see a link to ColourLovers, where you can easily create your own designs.  There are many other free resources for Twitter backgrounds and you’re sure to find one to suit your tastes.

It’s easy to change your Twitter background from the Design tab under Settings.

Investing in a Custom Twitter Background

Whether you represent a business and want to create a Twitter background to maintain consistent branding across all of your communication platforms, or just want a custom Twitter background, you can try to do it yourself if you’re handy with creating images or you can have it done for you.

If you want to create your own Twitter background, you’ll need to create a specific-size image.  You’ll also have to remember to view the finished result on different screen sizes. There are two main limitations with setting up your custom background:

  • It’s an image and won’t have any active links. This means you should try to use easy-to-remember links and not clutter this space with too much information.
  • The visible area on either side of your Twitter feed will be different sizes depending on the size of the screen used by your viewers. For example, let’s say you set up your Twitter background to look good on a large computer screen.  However, if a large portion of the people you want to connect with use smaller screens, your communication will be lost.

This is Chris Garrett’s Twitter page as seen on one computer screen.

This is Chris Garrett’s Twitter page seen from a smaller computer screen.

Get More From Your Twitter Background


Of course, your Twitter background is a great place to get creative and show some personality. After a little Twitter networking, you’re sure to find a wide range of creative Twitter backgrounds. You don’t need to get carried away with design; simple designs also work well to connect with people.

It’s easy to get a glimpse of Johnny B Truant’s personality here on his Twitter background.

Extended bio

You can also use your Twitter background image to share more information about yourself not included in your bio.  Consultants and businesses may want to put their phone number, email and other relevant contact details here. If you’re worried about spam when giving out your email address, you could create an email address specifically for your Twitter networking.

Again, these won’t be active links and you need to verify that everything fits well when viewed from different screen sizes.  But this can help you to connect with your Twitter audience.  Keep in mind that you can’t scroll Twitter backgrounds.  Rather, they remain fixed on the page and content scrolls on top of them.  So don’t extend your design too far down the page or it may not be visible for some users.

Brian Solis uses the background to provide more information on how to reach him.

Seasonal customization

You can also create more dynamic branding and incite interaction from your Twitter followers by customizing your Twitter background or Twitter picture for seasonal holidays and special events.

Mari Smith often changes her profile picture to match the season or special events. This one was for Cinco de Mayo.

What’s your favorite Twitter background? Do you customize your Twitter profile for holidays or events?  And if so, do you notice any difference in engagement from your audience?  As always, please share your comments below.

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  • that’s some ass-kicking advice, Cindy,
    It took me ages to tweak my Twitter background, because I couldn’t fin a relevant post.
    I’ll check through this again and tweak some more.

    nice nice nice work !

  • Great post Cindy…as always 🙂

    I already have a custom background but I’ve been thinking about sprucing it up and making sure it “fits” on different screen resolutions…

    I have a question for anyone who cares to comment.

    What is the optimal screen resolution?
    I know some images/backgrounds look better in one size vs. the other but there has to be a “safe” resolution and format. No?

  • I have been experimenting with a lot of different techniques lately and I have found that the more simple your background, the better. Of course my findings are anything but scientific, but simple has worked best for me.

    If you’d like to see what I mean, my twitter ID is @prestondlee

  • The only problem I have when creating Twitter backgrounds is that I’m not familiar with Photoshop. It will take me a long time to learn Photoshop. Do you know of any simple, straight forward graphic design software I can use in the future?

  • katiemo

    You should find the answer you’re looking for in the “create a specific-size image” link above (

  • saw it..liked it 🙂

    the problem? your title and website are not entirely visible on my machine. (resolution issue of course).

    I assume using smaller resolution would make it compatible on higher resolution as well, correct? And the opposite is NOT true….?

  • actually this is the best post I’ve read on this. Customizing your profile is a good way to polish things off and give some people more reasons to hit your site. I would be interested to see some testing on this though. It makes sense, but it’s also true that I personally have not visited the web interface in over a month. Many users do not, so what is the effect…actually? Something to consider before spending any actual time on this. Very solid content on Twitter customization though. Rock on Cindy 😉

  • I dont use photoshop either….I’ve used , you can see what mine looks like

    Its ok, its better than having a default, but a long way from some of the other ones I’ve seen which look amazing. Its a start tho 🙂

  • You bring up a great point Chris. I wonder how many users actually go to twitter vs. using twitter-tools (like tweetdeck).

    I would assume that overwhelming majority does NOT use tools, they instead go to the actual website but I could be wrong about that….anyone know of any info in this regard?

  • Hi Dino, Right now I’m traveling with a netbook and all Twitter profiles look cramped.

  • Thanks for sharing Cindy!

    I’m wondering how much of an influence a background plays in terms of probability of being followed and the interaction. The reason I ask is because branding plays a huge role in perception. McDonald’s is a great example as their branding is noticeable and with bright colours, we are subconsciously attracted to it.

    Have you seen any studies that support or deny any findings around probability of following a profile on Twitter due to backgrounds?

  • Thanks..have been wondering how to do this but not had time to look into it. Will get customising!

  • Right on Dino 🙂 Yeah, the reason people don’t “get” Twitter, is because they’re not using a client like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, etc. Haha.

  • Great question Christian. We’ll have to find out.

  • You would think, by now, that Twitter would make it so the background could be seen. I mean, it’s done for web pages all the time!

  • Great post Cindy,

    I spent ages fiddling with my background and I’m sure it still doesn’t fit properly on netbooks.

    A good compromise is to have an image which is still relevant, however much is obscured – a montage for example, where images are all partly obscured anyway.

    best wishes


  • I really like the work of They make 3 visuals for your background to fit various screen sizes and resolutions. I found them as a recommend in Joel Comm’s book on Twitter Power 2.0. You can see an example on our site @queceus or visit Joel’s page @joelcomm.

  • Check out mine @djnightlife

  • Good information you’re sharing for folks who don’t know of any graphic designers out there (Craigslist? Twitter? LinkedIn?). Sure you can do-it-yourself, but just like any branded endeavor – you’re better off hiring a professional. You save time, it looks great and not like a background robot slapped it together. It also won’t look like anyone else’s background. I’ve created a couple dozen for organizations of all types and it really does make a difference if you want your brand to resonate on Twitter – or any/all of your social places.

  • Dee Reinhardt

    One thing I noticed was that I had to “tile” my graphic once I designed it. It took on one of my accounts but not the others, so I tiled all of my accounts. check them all out

  • Just went to that site and don’t see where you’re suppose to actually do the designing! Am I missing something??

  • maybe…it looks like the site is using java/flash/activeX..who knows…if you dont see the option to design a background try a different browser and/or make sure you log in as an admin so you can install necessary plug-ins.

  • Thank you so much for this, Cindy, and to everyone for all of the additional information. I have been trying for months to find the best size to work with the various screen resolutions!

    I am glad to know that I am not the only one with this frustration!

  • Great post Cindy 🙂 Here are some key things to consider when designing a Custom Twitter Background:

    #1 – The BIO area in the “Twitter Content Area” gets picked up through Google searches. I recommend putting your “business keywords/content” there.

    #2 – Because the custom twitter background is a JPG/PNG it doesn’t have any “searchable” value. I recommend putting your “personality” there. (i.e. the personal funstuff so people see your real, photo)

    #3 – Design to the common resolutions (1280×768, 1440×900, 1680×1050, 1920×1200).

    #4 – I do agree that MANY utilize Twitter apps (tweetdeck, etc) but most end up at their computer “searching” through people. With a custom branded background, you most likely increase your chances of someone “stopping” and following, then if you had a “stock” background from Twitter.

    #5 – If you’re attempting to utilize Twitter as a sales tool for your product or service… then don’t add ALL of your thousands of social media. Sometimes it drives people in, what I call a “social media loop” and they never get to your storefront (which is where you need them to land). That’s like sending out a Direct Mail card advertising your YellowPage Ad (it’s advertising the advertisement).


    Let me know if anyone has any questions… be glad to help.

  • Thanks for the great tips. I love going out and personalizing my things. I have changed my Twitter account to different colors but I am excited to go further and add pictures and have the ability to design the layout. With social networking becoming more and more popular I think it is very important to sell yourself. Show everyone who you are. Don’t just limit yourself to a name and some text. Add some color and personality where it is relevant. Express yourself. I love having the opportunity to go out, be creative and design new layouts.
    -CKR Interactive Intern

  • I’m always saying to my peeps that the Twitter background image is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate on the web. People may choose to follow you back or not depending on three primary factors: your bio, your tweetstream and your background. The more relevant, appealing and attractive you can make the graphic, the better, IMHO!!

    Also, you can make links clickable on the background with — only downside is users have to have the plugin too.

    I used – he does a great job. I’m not really a fan of the free background image creators – much as they are certainly better than nothing – you simply don’t have as much control over the end result. And, it’s best to have an image that’s uniquely you and is seamless with your brand.

    Cindy, thanks heaps for including my Cinco de Mayo avatar – haha!!! 🙂 I love to goof with my avatars, I think my fave is the big pink fluffy Easter bunny ears! (I even made a montage:

  • Great tips, thank you!

  • Serita Diana

    Great post! Providing people with the resources to brand themselves is important for business, and on twitter it is a big influencer. I have mine branded, and you can see it here, . I have someone I work with this on as it’s not one of my focuses, but branding makes all the difference. I went from around 100 to over 500 followers in just 2 months. I’m sure my tweets had some influence on this as well, but the branding really pulls people in.

  • Good stuff Cindy! Simple and easy to implement.

  • Ruth Shipley

    In his book Twitter Power, Joel Comm mentions Gimp and He says they’re simpler than PhotoShop and says at least is free.

  • Ruth Shipley

    In his book Twitter Power, Joel Comm talks about creating a panel to the left of your timeline. You can include a lot more in this panel than you can in your Bio. Including more links!

  • Antoine Guédès

    Great post Cindy!
    I think you got it well about Twitter backgrounds. I have a custom one for my own Twitter account and I can admit it becomes tricky depending on wich informations you’d like to share with your followers.

  • Good tips. Personally, I haven’t paid a lot of attention to my Twitter’s background, however, I know that the backgrounds are attractive to all the other users. It happens to me when I go to someone else’s Twitter page. Sometimes you can use a picture that just doesn’t fit and honestly I haven’t been able to find one to suit my Twitter page. I’ll try to follow your advise. Thank you for sharing.

  • Added a picture I took of the Seine as mine last week — I love it!Best,Christine Hueber

  • Thanks for this Cindy. I think it’s important to add personality to your background. Makes the experience that much more personable

  • I have customized my twitter background, but it doesn’t fit to the page exactly what i want. I think there is some problem regarding screen resolution or may be some designing prospects. Any way it’s good to share the post with some good points.

  • Thank you for your insight. I can say from my own experience that a well-designed, unique Twitter background makes the page more memorable — specially if I click through to the main web site or blog and find a page that has a similar design. Now I have this on my To Do list!

  • This is a great post!
    I have found that by utilising the custom background you can really “own” your twitter page. It is also REALLY good for brand recognition if you use 1 symbol or design across all sites you have.

    I am in the process of creating brand awareness and making people aware of who we are and using the custom option on our twitter page to show people we are confident and not just a “fly-by-night” site.

    I am always surprised that bigger bloggers or brands have not done this on their twitter page!
    Other than it being fun to customise the page it is important to own it all and show your clients that you are the best.

    If anyone has any comments on my twitter background I am happy to take them! I want it to look A+++!

  • Hi Lara,
    I checked out your twitter page and the background is brilliant! I love the information you have conveyed here and if I were a potential client, this would really sell to me that you know what you are doing!

    Great stuff!

  • I really need to design a good background for my profile! Greetings.

  • Apritchard

    I have a template that I use with a feature book cover, which i repeat over and over to fully cover the background area, along with having other pertinent contact information. That way, I can help market new titles in a very subtle way!

  • Guest

    Great Post Cindy!
    It took me a while to implement my tweet background.
    Thanks for good Tips! 🙂

  • bisnero

    excellent tutorial! Will definately try it. For those who don´t want to try it I recommend you visit as they create some great twitter designs at only $19 bucks!

  • Thanks! I finally made my own custom Twitter background. 🙂

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  • “…maintain consistent branding…”
    Excellent point. Personalization and consistency are important marketing parameters.
    Customizing Twitter Backgrounds

  • Tuula

    Thank you, a very helpful post!

  • Create your own Twitter background is much more interesting to stand out from the crowd is always interesting. but for the first time and fit a pattern, not all at once.

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  • The ideas you’ve shared here are fantastic and no doubt so great and it may really improve the variety of individuals visiting your website.

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