How to Maximize Your New Twitter Profile

social media how toTwitter is starting to look a bit like Facebook.

Twitter changed their account profiles so you can visually tell the story of your business.

With a little thought and planning, you can now create a Twitter page that performs like a business welcome page for existing and potential customers.

And you can instantly publish your story to desktop and mobile Twitter users.

What’s New With Twitter

Twitter recently announced changes to Twitter account profiles and headers. These changes include:

  • New profile header images. Now, your Twitter account starts with a main image, much like the Facebook timeline format’s cover image, but with some important differences.
  • Updated photo streams. It’s easier than ever to highlight images you have posted with your tweets and share them with your followers.
  • New mobile apps for Android, iPhone and iPad. These Twitter changes are not just on the desktop. They rolled out to most mobile devices at the same time.
today web and devices

The new Twitter header profile for the Today Show visible on the web and across all mobile devices.

While the changes may seem small on the surface, together they represent a shift in the focus and future direction for this important social media tool. Twitter wants to help you tell your business’s story with images, and wants to connect you with your community through their mobile devices.

You have a little time to figure out how you want to use the new profile headers. You can activate the new profile for your account just by adding a new header image at any time. Twitter will be forcing everyone to switch to the new layout in the future.

Here’s how to take advantage of the new Twitter features to build an exciting visual presence on your existing Twitter account.

Header Image Anatomy

The centerpiece of the Twitter changes is the new header image. This image works with your existing profile image to let you tell people about your business.

Here’s an example of a Twitter profile header image.

chuck taylors

An example of a photo used for a Twitter header profile that cleverly captures this business’s tag line.

The header image serves as a backdrop for your Twitter account information including:

  • Profile image
  • Username
  • Twitter account name
  • Twitter bio
  • Location
  • Web link

Tip: This is a great time to review and rewrite your Twitter bio to provide easy contact information.

Think about how your Facebook cover image works with your Facebook profile image to kick-start your ideas. But your Twitter header image is larger than your Facebook cover, and doesn’t have any content limitations like the Facebook cover image.

In other words, you can add words to your image such as:

  • Web address if you use a Twitter landing page for your account web link
  • Email address for easy access to you
  • Special offers and time-sensitive information
  • Announcements from your business
  • Hashtags you follow on Twitter

Your Header Image Strategy

Now that you have the basic idea, here are five suggestions for creating a header image that really promotes your business.

  1. Use a single photo that shows who you are. Your imagination is the limit here. You can show your products or customers using your products. You could highlight your employees, your office or a casual shot of people at work.

    host dimee

    A web hosting company uses a photo of its server bank as the header image for its employees’ Twitter accounts.

  2. Use a single photo that inspires your community. Choose a photo that shows the impact of your work or inspires people. Help people see the benefits of your products and services with a photo. If you support a charity, use an image of them and the good work they do.

    charity example

    An example of a trade organization using their header image to promote their charity.

  3. Use a single photo that includes your profile picture. This takes a little planning, but you can take a photo where your profile picture appears in its place.

    anthony quintano

    Take a wide-shot photo that includes your profile picture where it appears in your profile header for a clever header image.

  4. Create a collage of images that support your business message. This strategy allows you to show many different images, and is useful if your photos are too small to use as a single image.

    today show collage

    This header image includes many pictures to tell the overall story of the Today Show and its many facets.

  5. Use graphics to create a background that supports your profile image. This strategy works well if you use a logo for your profile image.

    totally rad

    A business creates a graphic that includes their logo for their header image.

Now that you are inspired, let’s dig into the nitty-gritty.

Create and Upload Your Header Image

Twitter provides few details about how to create your header image:

  • Recommended image size: 1252 pixels wide by 626 pixels high
  • Your image must be larger than 700 pixels wide for image quality
  • File must be under 5MB

Twitter automatically adds the gray shading (gradient) on the lower half of the image. Your profile text appears in white. You cannot change these features, so experiment with your image before making your final decision.

When your image is ready, you can upload it to your Twitter account from your computer or mobile device.

To Upload Your Header Image on the Web:

  1. Know the location of your header image on your computer.
  2. Log into your Twitter account (if necessary).
  3. Click the gear menu (top right). In the menu, click Settings.
    settings

    From your Twitter profile, access your settings to activate your header profile.

    Twitter displays your Account page.

  4. On the Account page, click Design.
    design

    You can add or change your header profile image from the Design area of your account settings.

    Twitter displays the Design page.

  5. On the Design page, scroll down to the Customize Your Own area.

    customize your own area

    One option in the Customize Your Own area allows you to add or remove your account profile header image.

  6. Click on Change Header.

    change header

    The Change Header button allows you to add a new header image or delete an existing header image.

  7. Use the browse window to locate the header image file on your computer and click Open.Twitter uploads the selected file from your computer and installs it as your header image. This process takes a few seconds. When it’s finished, Twitter displays the confirmation message.

    confirmation message

    Twitter displays a message when it successfully adds your header image to your account profile.

  8. Click Me to view your profile with the new header image.
    me option

    When you add a header image, it activates the header profile for your account. You can view your new profile from the Me option.

    profile header activated

    An example of a Twitter account with the profile header activated.

Tip: Check your new header image on each of the mobile devices. You may need to make small adjustments to make sure your masterpiece looks beautiful everywhere.

Photo Stream Changes

Another important change to your profile is the new emphasis on your photo stream. When you activate the new profile header by adding your header image, Twitter also makes these changes to your photo stream:

  • The number of thumbnails increases from four to six.
  • The size of each thumbnail increases.

If you’ve been adding photos to your tweets, your photo stream may be full. If you have not been adding pictures, you’ll see blank spaces in your photo stream.

photo stream example

An example of a photo stream with fewer than six photos available. Twitter displays blank boxes for any missing images.

Because of the new emphasis on images in your Twitter profile, you should start tweeting more photos. Each time you tweet a photo, Twitter uses it to fill in a blank in your profile photo stream, or updates your stream with your six most recent photos.

Change in Photo Upload Apps

In the past, Twitter allowed you to use several photo services to upload images with your tweets. However, Twitter now requires you to either use the Twitter app or Instagram to take your photos.

Twitter no longer supports any other photo apps. All photographs you already shared on Twitter with these other services are still available in your tweet stream. But you cannot use these apps to add new photos.

instagram photo in stream

An example of an Instagram image displayed in a tweet stream.

Twitter Background Changes

The Twitter background has always provided businesses with an opportunity to update Twitter with their visual branding and a message. However, it’s been troublesome to use, and the display depends on the visitor’s browser and screen settings.

With the new header profile changes, Twitter has made some adjustments that will allow you to have a little more control over the background display. Twitter centers its information on the web page so you have room on both sides to add visuals and your message.

twitter background

A Twitter account with the header profile activated and an updated Twitter background image.

Twitter experienced some challenges with the backgrounds on some mobile devices since the launch. Look for articles with detailed instructions on creating backgrounds after the bugs are worked out. In the meantime, here are some general instructions for creating a custom Twitter background.

A custom Twitter background that coordinates with your header image and profile image gives your business a smart appearance, and allows you to tell your business’s story visually. Don’t miss this important opportunity.

New Twitter Mobile Apps

This is the first time that changes appeared on the web and mobile apps at the same time. This shows how important mobile devices are to Twitter’s business strategy and future plans.

The new header profile layout appears for each account today on the mobile apps. The header image appears in two parts, a top and bottom.

part 1 and part 2 header image

Parts 1 and 2 of a header image displayed on an iPhone. Swipe to move between the top and bottom portions of the image.

To view the bottom half of the header image, swipe the image.

If the account has not activated the header profile, the app displays a gray background instead of a header image.

liberty market

An example of a Twitter account on an iPhone with the new header profile. This business has not yet uploaded a header image, so Twitter displays a gray background.

The iPad has some exciting new features in the photo stream.

  • The photo stream only appears if your account has at least six images.
  • View a full-size image by tapping the photo.
  • Play a video by tapping on the thumbnail.
  • Swipe to move through the photo stream to view the thumbnails of older images.
  • Tap a tweet to expand it to the Tweet Card format available on the web.
ford photo stream

An example of the photo stream in its new location in the profile shown on the iPad app.

ipad expand

An example of an expanded Twitter Card on the iPad app. To display the Twitter Card format, tap any tweet.

What do you think about the new header profile and other changes to Twitter? Are you excited to see these changes on the apps at the same time? What are you planning to do first? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Charlene Kingston

Charlene Kingston teaches small businesses how to build a strong online presence with a thriving community through her blog, free webinars, courses, ebooks and personal consultations at the Social Media DIY Workshop. Other posts by »




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