Convince Me With Your Twitter Bio. Please!

Posted on 13 June 2009

When someone follows me on twitter, I don’t automatically follow them back. Before I decide whether or not to follow someone, I read their profile page, in particular their bio. I want to see what their interests, skills, background and values are.

And that’s where most people get a big FAIL, in my opinion. If someone doesn’t offer ANY bio info at all, or their bio isn’t interesting, compelling and intriguing to me, I won’t follow them. It’s brutal, I know, but that’s the way it is (and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way).

After all, if you want someone to follow you, you have to SELL yourself and give them a good REASON to follow you. You only have 160 characters (including spaces) for your twitter bio, so make ‘em count.

When you’re writing your bio

  • Use keywords that will grab people’s attention in a split second.
  • Tell me only the most relevant, compelling, interesting stuff.
  • Be bold about declaring your interests, skills, values and what you offer the world.
  • Show me who you are and what makes you unique and follow-worthy.
  • Don’t tell people what YOU want/need, tell them how you can help them get what THEY want/need.
  • Be quirky, memorable and intriguing.
  • Don’t bother using full grammatical sentences.
  • Don’t try to be all things to all people. You won’t appeal to everyone, and that’s OK.

Here are a few twitter bios (from people I didn’t already know) that caught my attention and made me follow the writers, because the keywords are topics I’m interested in and the writers included a personal touch that appealed to me.

@jeremylim “Musician, DJ, marketer, photographer, and social media aficionado. Big dreamer and panda-eyed.”

@wendyperrin “Consumer news editor, columnist, feature writer at Conde Nast Traveler mag. Author, speaker, road warrior, mom of 2 boys, trying to juggle it all.”

@Mjamme “Social, Serial Entrepreneur, Humanitarian, Mother, Philanthropist, Motivational Speaker, Strategist, President, CEO, Advocate for Women and Men’s Rights.”

@nametagscott “Writer. Speaker. Entrepreneur. Coach. Oh, and I wear a nametag 24-7!”

@BethHarte “Principal of HMC. Marketing. PR. Social Media. Adjunct Prof. History addict. Avid reader. Art/Culture buff. Fan of beer, cowgirl boots and brilliance”

@Adamfyre “Prayer, devotion, love, dance, movement. Handknitting, handspinning, metalworking. Upliftment of all beings. Embracing life :)

@StuBakerComedy “With Muscular Dystrophy, I’m doing stand up even though I can barely stand up! If that’s not enough, I’m old too! So, I got those things going for me! Booyah!”

Here are 10 things NOT to say in your twitter bio:

  1. Nothing. I’m astonished at how many people don’t offer ANY bio info at all. How do they expect anyone (other than a bot) to follow them?
  2. “John Doe is a…” or “I’m an…”. That’s a waste of valuable characters – just jump straight in with compelling content.
  3. “Single and lonely.” That’s a real one I received (and it was the sum total of the guy’s bio). He really thinks that’s going to attract followers?!
  4. “My girlfriend is much more interesting than me.” That’s another real one I received. OK, let me follow her, then!
  5. “Go to my website to find out more about me.” Well duh! If you’ve listed your website address in the relevant field, it’s obvious that I have the option of going there to find out more about you. No need to tell me so in your bio.
  6. “The leader in…” or “The leading expert in…”. Who says you’re THE leader? Where’s your proof? Why should I believe you?
  7. “I’ll be active once I reach 2,500 followers.” This from someone who had very few followers and who had posted no tweets at all.
  8. “Internet marketing expert” or “Social media expert” or “I’ll show you how to get thousands of followers” when you only have 17 followers yourself.
  9. “Please follow me and I’ll follow you back.” By creating a twitter profile page, you are by definition inviting people to follow you. If you give me a good enough reason, I WILL follow you (but promising to follow me back is not a good enough reason for me to follow you).
  10. An inspirational quote (by someone else, not you). I want to know about YOUR talents and opinions and experience, not someone else’s.

I need more

An interesting twitter bio by itself isn’t enough to convince me to follow you. I also want to see:

  • your real name as your logon name
  • a real, recent, close-up photo of your face (not your dog or your cleavage)
  • your real-world location
  • your website address
  • a good balance of “following” to “followers”
  • some interesting, funny, helpful tweets (please, not too many hard-sell messages promoting your e-book, teleseminar or Internet marketing system)
  • tweets that are relevant to the topics you listed in your bio – if you say you’re an expert in collecting stamps, tweet mostly about that. It’s about establishing and maintaining your personal brand.

Oh, and if I see that you’ve re-tweeted that message about somebody’s interesting idea about how to attract 19,530 new twitter followers in 30 days, you lose! And please don’t “protect your updates” – that kind of defeats the purpose of being on a social media site.

@kayross
Marketing consultant editor copywriter connector comedian actor singer healer CouchSurfer. Born Glasgow, grew up Adelaide, living in Hong Kong since Sept 93


26 responses to Convince Me With Your Twitter Bio. Please!

  • Avi says:

    Fantastic post. Clear, to the point. Shares the dos and the donts . Very effective.

  • Marysia says:

    Great post! I am just setting up my new blog and not sure if I shpould be tweeting in my old personal Twitter acct or my blog name.. hmmm
    But once I have decided, I will be following this guide step by step,, and will also link this great info to my blog – many thanks!!

    • kay says:

      Thanks Marysia! On twitter, I prefer to follow and communicate with a real person, not a faceless corporation, organisation or blog. But hey, that’s just my personal preference. Whatever you decide, good luck with your new blog.

  • click this says:

    This design is steller! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost.
    ..HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.

    Too cool!

  • [...] In June 2009, I wrote a blog post, “Convince Me With Your Twitter Bio. Please!” [...]

  • [...] Your twitter bio is not compelling (in which case, please read my blog post, “Convince Me With Your Twitter Bio. Please!”). [...]

  • Al Ferretti says:

    Great Post Kay. Thanks for sharing…
    @alferretti

  • [...] “Convince Me With Your Twitter Bio. Please!” by Kay Ross [...]

  • tomv says:

    hi kay,

    ok, i’m a smart ass. how about leaving off sept in sept 93? there’s only 160 chars, you tought me and it’s 15+ years ago. sept does not impress as much anymore, i’d say…

    tomv

  • I think I will try to recommend this post to my friends and family, cuz it’s really helpful.

  • Robert Clay says:

    Kay,

    This is an excellent and very informative piece. In the short time I’ve known you it has become obvious that you really know your stuff. Great to know you and thank you for your great suggestions. Much appreciated.

    Robert

  • Kay,

    I think if you are contacting someone from one of the Linked In Twitter Groups, you should tell them that is why you are contacting them.

    If someone from a Group contacts me first, I appreciate their telling me that in their initial Tweet.

    Thanks for an interesting, well-written synopsis.

    Ellen

  • Harald Wilhelms says:

    Ahoi, Kay,

    interesting article there, indeed,
    may I translate it into German and post it on my blog?

    and, yes, I´ll change my bio & profile @infex before long

    • kay says:

      Hi Harald – I’m honoured that you want to translate my article and post it on your blog! Please go ahead (as long as you give me due credit as the author, of course, with a live link to my twitter profile and my website). Let me know when it’s up and running. Thanks – Kay

  • Hi Kay.

    You really did hit it on the head with this post. Like you, I never cease to be amazed at the number of follow me requests i get where there is no bio.

    #FAIL big-time is no bio and no photo.

    Yes peeps – your follow to followed ratio is important – it engenders trust – you’re not going to be spamming me with useless stuff and as important, particularly if you’re new to twitter is have a good page full of your own updates / some select re-tweets so you can give prospective followers a taste of what you have to offer them – are you worth their time.

    Be helpful, be informative, be light-hearted and if you’re on topic, then you’ll get followers the natural way – as it was meant to be.

    (oh gawd – i sound like a herbal remedy advert!)

    Thanks for the reminder to all Kay.

    Jonathan

    http://twitter.com/fabphotogifts

  • Ruth says:

    Thanks, Kay. I have hastily rejigged my profile @hkbabies

  • The article is usefull for me. I’ll be coming back to your blog.

  • Great article – I retweeted it at @TemplateDiva and @BarbraSundquist

  • Jeremy Lim says:

    THANK YOU for this post. Everytime I find a self-proclaimed marketing expert or social media guru, I want to barf. Guh. Much love, Kay.

  • Glad you liked my bio! Thanks!

    REMEMBER: Meaningful Concrete Immediacy.

    that’s the key

    @nametagscott :)

  • Tim Ho says:

    Too bad my bio is not interesting enough to be on there. Will work harder on it ;)

  • Tim Ho says:

    Wow great info. “An inspirational quote (by someone else, not you)” Absolutely hate those. Also, I don’t like when people claim that they are “SEO SPECIALIST”, do they even know what SEO means? :)

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