twitter profile optimizationThis month, we’re going to take one post a week to help you make the most of your social media profiles with a social media optimization series! We’re doing this because there’s more to your social presence than the content you post.

So for the next five weeks, we’re devoting Mondays to helping you improve your profiles. We’ll be tackling Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. If there’s another profile you want optimization tips for, just tweet us and we’ll share some tips!

So why is optimizing your Twitter profile important? Because Twitter is about so much more than tweets. Even if your content is written well, you won’t be taken seriously on Twitter if your profile is generic looking.

What does a generic looking Twitter profile look like? I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of them: the background is the cloud image that Twitter automatically uploads, the avatar is the default egg, and there’s no Twitter bio information. If you look at the tweets, you’ll probably see a lot of automated-looking tweets: just the name of an article and the link. Basically, there’s no customization.

So how can you make your Twitter profile optimized for Twitter’s search engine as well as for your profile’s visitors? Start with these four steps:

1. Upload a picture of yourself

The “of yourself” part of this point is important. Twitter is about what you have to say, so it should look like it’s coming from you. You can get creative with how you represent yourself, but you should stay away from using a logo, cartoon, or picture of your favorite celebrity or public figure. This will make you seem like the real person that you are!

2. Change your profile’s background and header image

twitter backgrounds

Even if you change your Twitter background to another premade theme or a solid color, it shows you’ve taken some time to make your profile look nice. There are also at least hundreds of websites with really great, creative backgrounds. Normally, you can sign into the website using your Twitter account and you can change your background right from there.

The same goes with your header photo. Ideally, you want your header photo, background, and avatar to all blend well together, so at the very least the colors don’t clash. There are a lot of users that have taken the time to make sure the three elements blend seamlessly, like Mashable and Vocus.

3. Enter your real name and location

When Twitter asks for your name, you should enter it. The Internet isn’t so anonymous anymore, and there are reasons for that. If you’re tweeting brilliance all the time, don’t you want people to know it’s you? This will also be helpful for people looking for you on Twitter. If you have serious privacy concerns, at least use your middle name or last initial instead of your last name. “SoccrGrl548617″ is better left in the AIM era.

It’s also helpful to enter your location. Advanced Search on Twitter lets users search by location. If your name is common and people could have trouble finding you otherwise, you definitely want details in your bio. Entering your location is also a great way to make it easier to connect with your local community.

4. Fill out your bio

You may only have 160 characters for the main section of your bio, but it can go a long way. Even if you are connected to more than one website, save bio space by choosing just one and entering it in the “URL” section of your bio. Additional links take up too much space without a URL shortener, and some people dislike not being able to see where the bio link leads.

You can also make your profile more search-friendly by mentioning other Twitter handles you’re affiliated with (such as your employer, school, or organization you’re a member of) and using hashtags. However, you need to be careful here. You don’t want your entire bio to consist of links leading away from your profile. Don’t use more than two of each, or you risk your bio being hard to read.

So, there you have it. Complete these steps, and your profile should be able to clearly communicate who you are and what you do to Twitter search algorithms and users alike! If you have any other tips to share, leave them in the comments!