4 Ways to Make 140 Characters Count

Bigger isn’t always better, especially when marketers are trying to craft succinct Twitter bios that connect with potential customers. The 140-character limit can prove to be daunting for marketers who don’t always know which information will lead to follows, engagement, and eventually purchases. There’s one thing, however, marketers should know: Twitter bios are a golden opportunity to make direct connections with customers.

“Essentially, if you want to be able to communicate with people, you need to first get them to follow you,” says Jennifer Spivak, managing director of digital marketing firm Social Fulcrum. “The bio is the window into that. That’s the sound bite opportunity that you have…to get people to follow you.” She says more engaged followers can equal greater opportunity to market to people interested in your brand. Spivak, along with Likeable Media cofounder and CEO Carrie Kerpen, explain how to market a brand successfully in 140 characters or less.

Include a call-to-action

Twitter bios, Spivak says, should ask customers to take action. Remember, the bio will likely be the first message users see when reading your Twitter page or after getting an email prompted by your follow, should you do so. “Call-to-actions can be [executed] in a variety of ways,” Spivak explains. “Use shortened links at the end of your Twitter bio that have some sort of call-to-action. ‘Visit here,’ ‘Sign up here,’ ‘Get more updates here,’—whatever you would like the customer to do.” Spivak warns that the call-to-action should be different than the company URL. “You want to get people to accomplish a specific objective, such as sign up for an e-newsletter.” Other call-to-actions can include requests for questions, comments, or ideas coupled with hashtags and your brand’s Twitter handle.


Create a brand persona

Likeable Media’s Kerpen reminds marketers that Twitter is—at its core—a one-to-one medium; people are looking to have personal conversations. Kerpen says creating a persona in your bio and then weaving it into your feed can create personal connections. “Remember, it’s one person engaging with another person via 140 characters,” Kerpen says. “Typically when you’re talking to people, you wouldn’t want to have a conversation with a logo.” She cites Twitter accounts, such as DKNY, that use personal avatars representing the brand, rather than company logos. “It’s a much more human touch.”

Speak the Twitter language

Each social media platform has its own culture and nuances—and Twitter is no different. One of the most effective marketing strategies, Spivak says, is to use specific Twitter language in your bios. “Don’t use your standard [company] tagline or bio. Be native to the platform.” She encourages marketers to use the short, perhaps funny, even snarky language often used on Twitter—if it suits the brand. Include searchable hashtags, at symbols, and trends. “That small change [in your Twitter bio] can communicate to people, ‘We understand Twitter, and we’re speaking the language.’ Find ways to make your bio Twitter-specific.”

Get specific about your products and interests

Ultimately, Twitter bios are designed to get to the point. “The best Twitter bios are the ones that succinctly say who you are, what you do, and what you tweet about,” Kerpen says. She explains that if someone’s going to follow or engage with your brand, they care much more about what types of things you tweet about, not company missions. Essentially, Kerpens says, marketers should bullet point the things their brand chats about on Twitter, and eventually the like-minded will follow. “Spelling out exactly what you tweet about will be more much effective [in gaining followers and boosting engagement.]”

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