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How To Appear Professional On Twitter

Managing your online identity and keeping your image professional on social media has never been more important than today. Nowadays, when billions of people use social media to connect with friends, family, and business contacts, there’s value in making sure your online profile is clean.

On Twitter, one of the most popular platforms among professionals, looking every bit as cultured and educated as possible is even more vital for new graduates looking for career opportunities, seasoned employees or experts looking to build their names, and businesses growing their brands online.

Here are some tips for how you can command respect on Twitter, not just from your existing followers but also from future employers, colleagues, and clients.

Pick a Professional Profile Picture

Your profile picture is one of the first things people notice on Twitter. When your tweets appear on their feed, it’s not your bio that they read first (though it’s equally important that you don’t leave your bio empty).

So use a photo that reflects the kind of image you want to present on the platform. Selfies are okay but only if you didn’t take them in front of the bath mirror or store changing rooms, and if you aren’t wearing clothes more appropriate for clubbing or from last year’s Christmas costume party.

Opt for a headshot where your eyes are looking straight at the camera. There’s a science behind showing your eyes in your social media pictures and if you’re a brand, you’d benefit a lot from using this strategy. Here is an example of a professional profile picture.

twitter profile photo example

You can clearly see his eyes and face, giving you the opportunity to go ‘Hey! It’s, you know, that guy who was in that funny movie. Remember? Rick…or something.’ 😉

Another good marketing tactic you can use to grow your Twitter presence is buying Twitter Followers. Having a strong following on Twitter helps build your authority. With a massive number of people following you, other users on the platform will want to follow you too. That’s how you can use bought followers to increase your influence on the platform.

Brand Your Account

Your profile picture along with your cover photo are crucial parts of your branding. Aside from photos, though, your Twitter handle is also important in making an impression and building your brand on the platform.

Your username should reflect your personal and business brand values. If possible, use your name or your business name. If your name is already taken, choose something very close to it. You can also change your existing username if you want to.

Choose What You Post, Retweet, and Like

Your tweets, retweets and likes on Twitter are a reflection of yourself, your beliefs, principles, attitude and character. So post only what you’re comfortable with everyone on social media seeing. Retweet carefully and don’t get caught liking vengeful tweets, especially those directed at your competitors.

Avoid posting controversial stances about topics like religion and politics. Don’t post photos of yourself looking drunk or in a bad light, or anything that makes you look, in short, unprofessional.

Be careful with everything you post online because digital footprints last forever. You may delete a mistake but somebody might have taken a screenshot, and there’s no telling if it will ever resurface. You may even lose your job because of it.

The girl in the picture below lost her job after dressing up for work as a victim of the 2013 Boston marathon bombings and then posting it on Twitter for everyone to see. Not only that, her parents were doxed and threatened. Stay away from sensitive topics and don’t make them the butt of your online jokes — being careless could come back to haunt you in a big way.

justine sacoco twitter mistake

Image credit: EMGN

A similar fate befell Justine Sacco, who tried to make a joke on Twitter but just came off as insensitive and in bad taste. She sent the tweet as she took off for a flight to Africa, and when she awoke as she arrived she found that she had enraged the world and lost her job. I personally remember this day well. I was living in an African country at the time, Cape Town, South Africa where she was flying to on that fateful day, and we started the #HasJustineLandedYet hashtag in anticipation.

Get some tweet ideas here and be sure to tweet responsibly.

Watch Your Language

Don’t curse or say offensive words on Twitter. Though you might have heard that fluency in profane language may be a sign of intelligence, knowing how is different from actually doing it publicly.

It might be okay to use colorful language with your friends privately and they may even appreciate you for it, but the use of profanity is still seen as uneducated when seen publicly on social media.

Mind Your Grammar

Do you know that consumers prefer brands that use proper grammar? A study on what annoys people on social media showed that poor spelling and grammar negatively affect their opinion of brands on social media.

So be mindful of your grammar and use correct spelling. Customers pay attention even to these things, and it can make a company look incompetent. Take a look at the embarrassing example below.

twitter spelling mistakes

Twitter is one of the biggest social media platforms that people use to share their experiences and opinions of brands, and recommendations from friends are still the most credible form of advertising that you can get.

Grow your influence on Twitter by growing your followers. Include buying Twitter followers in your marketing plans to boost your results beyond what you could normally achieve. High-quality bought followers will attract organic followers to your account because you’ll appear popular and credible. This will help you build a strong social proof and attract an ever-expanding organic following because of it.

Don’t Badmouth People

Just as you shouldn’t badmouth people offline and in real life, you should also avoid saying bad things about other people online, where everyone can see how you’re putting others down to lift yourself up.

If you can’t say something nice about your clients, colleagues, or bosses, then don’t say anything at all. Disparaging people online is the fastest way to convince the world that you are resentful, arrogant and very unprofessional.

This is an example of what not to do on Twitter.

Bosses have Twitter, too…

Reply Politely to Criticisms

You can’t please everybody. If anyone criticizes you in their posts, reply in a professional and polite manner. Criticisms are not necessarily deliberate hate designed to upset you. Some criticisms are masked opportunities to win people over as a person and as a brand.

Take a deep breath and handle all criticisms with professionalism. Don’t hurl back hurtful words or answer in a defensive manner. Understand where the person is coming from, especially if it’s a client, reply accordingly, and move on.

Ignore Vengeful and Hateful Comments

The internet is full of trolls who find pleasure in seeing you get upset and there’s no shortage of them on Twitter. The best way to handle trolls is to ignore them. Ignore whatever they say and show them how you’re not affected by anything they do. Like bullies in real life, they stop when they don’t have an audience.

So, learn to handle trolls like the professional that you are and don’t take what they say personally. However, you also need to recognize a legitimate threat when you see one and deal with it the way American Airlines did in the example below.

twitter trolls
Image credit: MetterMedia

Be a Real Class Act!

Keep tweeting and stay classy! Sometimes, all it takes is self-control. The good news is that we can learn to restrain ourselves, especially online and on Twitter where the world can see our tweets and judge us by them.

It comes down to being polite and professional. Make it a habit to practice what we’ve outlined here and train yourself to tweet responsibly and professionally!

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