I like this pic. Especially because I can't hear his voice. Courtesy of Mashable

Twitter is a cool platform – everyone who follows me here on BadRedheadMedia or my author account, RachelintheOC, knows how valuable I think it is as a free marketing tool – when used correctly (read: not spammy).

From a metadata perspective, yes – having a fair amount of followers is important overall (face it: if people have more followers, you’re more inclined to follow them, right? To an extent, that is for the most part true, yet not always. The subject of a future post for sure.).

Here are my top tips to help your profile stand out:

1. Avatar: Your picture or logo (if you’re a business) is critical to get people to notice you. So, how do we do that? If using a photo, make sure it’s hi-resolution. Why? Because it will look blurry and/or pixelated when enlarged, which is just weird. If you didn’t take it hi-res, there are apps that allow you to play with it.

If you use a logo, be sure it’s something that stands out against your background (more on that in a moment).

2. Bio information: This is super important, because what you write here will be what’s seen EVERYWHERE. You have 160 spaces for your profile, so make them count. I suggest using a few keywords that represent your brand – i.e., genre, interests, business or service, and using hashtags (#) with them. Why? This makes it a hot link (this one goes to #snark) to Search – important for you to have more visibility in Twitter’s internal search engine.

Also, this is how you show up on Google. Do you need me to tell you how important that is?

Finally, if you have another account, list it! I list @BadRedheadMedia on my @RachelintheOC account and vice versa. Again, hot link.

3. Background: Don’t stick with the plain blue with clouds background that Twitter sets by default. It screams ‘Newbie!’ as well as ‘Lazy!’ Go to up to Menu, Settings, Design, and choose another premade background OR click on Themeleon, a cool free option for with thousands of backgrounds to choose from.

You also have the option of hiring someone to create a personalized background. My graphic artist created mine from artwork designed originally for my book covers, so for me there was very little additional cost involved.

4. New Header Option: Released on Tuesday, 9/18, this new header option is pretty darn cool. If you’re using a header for your Facebook timeline, now you can use the same one for your Twitter header. Very cool.

(My background is actually the cover art from my second book – a light blue — but it doesn’t show up here. I couldn’t figure out the screenshot thing…oh whatever. Don’t ask. Just click…Also, be aware: the writing is now WHITE, which I think makes it harder to read but whatev. Nobody asked me.)

5. Links: You have room for two, not one, two URLs on your profile. How? Obviously where it says Website but also in your Bio! Remember though, you still have only 160 spaces. So I recommend shortening one or both links with bit.ly so you can not only customize your links (see my example below), but also track clicks. Genius.

Notice in my author Twitter bio:

Website: http://amzn.to/MANCODE (shortened with bit.ly, customized, and trackable)

Bio #1 #bestsellers A WALK IN THE #SNARK, MANCODE: EXPOSED; Nov ’12 BROKEN PIECES. Founder @BadRedheadMedia. Nutella advocate. Essayist. http://RachelintheOC.com

6. Color Story: Important and often overlooked. Color is what attracts the eye. It’s a fortunate coincidence that my hair is red and my eyes are green – both colors that draw the eye in. Any saturated color is useful for your profile picture. Those that are plain, white, grey or black don’t stand out. Add a burst of color and you’ll be surprised how it increases interaction. Also, use the same colors anywhere you’re online. Color is part of your branding.

These are just a few of the many tips I offer here and on my daily streams. As long as you’re not a spammer or bot, I will likely follow you back.

Please leave your tips below.