How to get started on Twitter

Brush up your Twitter Presence for Better Impact

One way to find interesting Twitter accounts is to go to someone you admire and look at who they follow. You'll see a grid of all those accounts.

  • How does your account stand up in a line-up like this?
  • Are you selling yourself as someone interesting to follow? 
You want to be exploiting every element of your Twitter account to showcase yourself and your exciting adventures. 

You want to be exploiting every element of your Twitter account to showcase yourself and your exciting adventures. 

HOW TO SET UP (OR BRUSH UP) YOUR TWITTER ACCOUNT

1. Open an account.

2. Find an available user name (or update your current name).

Twitter has a 15 character limit. Make your name recognisable and memorable, if you can. Ideally match your user name on Instagram.  You can change your username without losing your followers. You should have a consistent name ‘brand’ right across all your internet activity.
[Useful blog post: Creating a Consistent Online Adventure Brand]

3. Fill in your display name.

This should match your brand (naming policy) across all your social media & website

4. Put up a profile photo.

Use the same profile photo as all your other online properties - show your face, no sunglasses - you want to be recognisable. Size it square at 400x400 pixels.

5. Put up a banner photo.

Any adventurous photo is better than a blank blue strip. Better yet is an image that shows what you’re about as an adventurer. If you want to work your banner space (use images and/or text to promote your book, speeches, next expedition, sponsors, etc) be aware of the various bits of the image that get hidden on different devices. This link provides a useful guide to how it all works. The current sizing recommendation 1500px by 500px.

6. Write your bio text.

This has a maximum of 160 characters. (Most text editors will give you a character count for a highlighted piece of text. Google for help if needed.) It’s a short piece of text, use all the characters, hit the essence of what your account will be about. Include any other accounts you are associated with, giving their user name - an expedition you were part of, another account you run, an account you a brand ambassador for, a magazine you write for.
You can’t put line breaks in a Twitter bio. You can use emojis in your bio and your user name but not all of them. There is a helpful emoji list here.

7. Include a location.

You can write anything you like in the location box. Putting your city or country will help local people find you, but you can use that box to say something else altogether.  

8. Put your website address.

 If you don't have a website, put your most important other social media presence.
[Useful blog post: 12 Reasons an Adventurer Needs their own Website]

9. Set your colour scheme.

Match the photos you’ve used (or your brand colour scheme, if you have one).

10. Pin a key tweet.

Write one key tweet and pin it (tap the tiny grey arrow at top right of tweet - pick ‘pin to your profile’.) It will then sit at the top of your twitter stream. It can include a photo, or  a link to an article about you, or a post you've written, or where your book is on sale. If you are an active user you may want to change it as you highlight different things.
(Tip: if you, for example, normally pin a tweet about your book, but want to temporarily pin something different, get the perma-link for your book tweet via the small grey arrow at top right, and the 'copy link to tweet' option. Save that link.)

11. Request that elusive blue tick - the verified account.

Unlike Instagram or Facebook, you can request Twitter verification. However, you are unlikely to get it unless you already have a public profile, and you are an active Twitter user.

A selection of well-crafted Adventurer Twitter accounts. What catches your eye and makes you consider following them?

A selection of well-crafted Adventurer Twitter accounts. What catches your eye and makes you consider following them?

If you are truly over twitter, you should

1. Delete your Twitter account completely - Or...

Don’t let people who do use Twitter stumble over the decaying remains of your account. They may assume your entire adventure career has been abandoned as well. 

2. Better - Leave your Twitter account up in 'marketing mode'

This will take 15 minutes of your time and then you can forget about it. 

  • Make sure your name matches your other social media
  • Update your profile photo to match your other social media
  • Put up a banner photo that highlights you being adventurous
  • Fill in your website link (or your preferred social media link)
  • Use your bio text to say who you are and direct people to your preferred social media 
  • Pin one tweet that promotes something useful to your adventure brand - your book / website / expedition / sponsor / other social media presence. As long as it is something useful to you, without an expiry date. 

How to find people to follow

Twitter is a fast moving stream, designed for you to follow many people. If you only follow a few, you will soon feel as if they are shouting at you all the time. How do you find interesting people to follow? 

1. Find adventurers you admire who are active on Twitter, and then look at who they follow. (Click on the number under the Following header below their banner photo.)

2. Find Twitter lists that match your interests and subscribe to them.  @BizOfAdventure has a number of public lists on topics that should interest adventurers. 
(Tip - subscribing to a list is not the same as following the people on the list. It means you will see the tweets of the people on the list but they won't know that. When you actually follow someone, they get notified, and then they may follow you back - if you sound interesting.) 


Understanding Twitter numbers 

Looking at any Twitter account will show you 4 numbers (on a computer, not on mobile)

1. Tweets - how many tweets the account had sent out. Looking down the timeline will show how recent those tweets are.

2. Following - how many people the account follows (you can browse the entire list).

3. Followers - who follows the account (again you can browse through).

Looking at Twitter users who have tweeted in the last six months, the average user has less than 500 followers. The mega-celebrities of Twitter, with 100k+ followers, make up less than 0.06% of this user group. If you are trying to have impact (but are not gaming your growth) aim to join the 6% who are in the 1,000 to 10,000 followers group. Stats from here. 

4. Likes - how many tweets the account has ‘liked’ - hit the little heart symbol ❤

At the most simple level brands who are trying to judge your ‘social influence’ are looking at

1. Followers - they expect to see you having more people following you than you follow. 

2. Engagement - given you may have bought the followers, they are also looking at:

  • Number and recency of tweets - but you may be scheduling tweets and/or auto-posting from another platform, so the other number that matters is: 
  • Likes - because that gives an indication of whether you are genuinely present on Twitter and interacting with other people’s content. 

Any individual part of the twitter experience can be gamed in various ways. Followers, retweets and likes can all be bought. But it is possible to dig in for a more detailed analysis. “The combined picture of engagement – the Likes, RTs, [retweets] @replies and @mentions is extremely difficult to fake.” As this article explains, you can work out each of these numbers through the Twitter search function. 

You may wonder about accounts that have 20k followers, but are also following 20k people. How can anyone keep up with that many people? They don’t. They are probably doing follow-for-follow, which is why their numbers are roughly even. Then they are either using Twitter as a megaphone, talking at their followers while ignoring those they follow themselves. Or they are using private lists to keep track of the accounts they actually care about. 


Other useful posts about Twitter