I am a writer. If you are here, I suspect you are, too. So how does someone who loves words and more words tell all the words in only 160 characters?
Focus + Wit + Polish.
It is that easy, and that hard. Think of it like writing a piece of micro fiction. It is an opportunity for creativity.
The following four tips are designed to get you thinking about what you want your followers and potential followers to know about who you are, what you do, and why they should continue to connect.
CALL TO ACTION: Do you want followers to get to know your product? Visit a particular publishing company’s site? Buy your book? Share writing highs and lows using your hashtag? Make a stand for a marginalized group?
If this is your goal, your bio has the potential to get followers out of their placid bubbles and into a state of action. As you can see in Tiffany Rose’s bio, one way to do this is to incorporate hashtags or handles as a part of your 160. Used sparingly, this is a great way to create connection with like-minded Tweeters.
Tiffany (@FromPawnToQueen) let’s us know immediately that hers is a call to break binaries through language, and she tells us that she is an expert. Do you want to see her proof? She wants you to. Click a hashtag or a handle. It’s all there.
SOCIAL PROOF: Otherwise known as subtle boasting, this type of bio lets followers know that the person Tweeting using this handle is an expert. Do you have a unique background in eating monkeys in Amazon jungles like Candace Davenport? Perhaps your expertise is in something less exotic like copy-editing for a local publishing house or creating webpages for a fee. Putting the information in your bio lets potential followers quickly determine if a Twitter connection is going to be mutually beneficial.
Candace (@Candace_OLbooks) does a great job of offering social proof as to who she is and what she wants her followers to know. She is an author. She lived another life. This a bit of information that drew me in immediately. Take a look at the screenshot of her bio. What else can we learn about her in 160 or fewer characters?
SHOW. DON’T TELL: How many times have we heard this mantra in our writing circles? Just because you have a limited amount of space does not mean this can suddenly be ignored. Quite the opposite. Your bio should focus as much on what you do as who you are. Candace’s bio is a great example of showing, also, but I couldn’t use her for everything. To show, think action verbs. Action verbs physically (jump, chase, fight, hammer) or mentally (think, dream, believe, nod) animate a sentence. Haley Reed does this quite well.
Haley (@HG_Reed_) believes in coffee and campfires. Hey. So do I. [*Clicking Follow*]. She also tells us who she is (an author or YA and NA) and what type of personality she has (INFJ). That’s a lot to learn about a person in that tiny amount of space.
If you can’t remember examples of action verbs from composition class, I have included a link to two example lists at the end of this blog post.
WIIFM: When I was an educator at a local college, our VP of academics held a monthly all-hands meeting. Every month, he wrote this acronym on the board in huge letters. It stands for “What’s In It For Me?” He believed that in every purposeful interaction there should be a promise of value to be delivered. Secretary Hillary Clinton knows her followers expect the same, and she delivers. When you build your bio, ask yourself about your own value add. Make sure your followers know what it is.
Secretary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) says we are better together. We are stronger. We are unified. We are what? Say it with me. Pantsuit Nation. And Senator Clinton is a “Pantsuit Aficionado.” In her short 160 word parameter, she tells her followers that the WIIFM is the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Each of the Twitter accounts highlighted above tell a story in a creative way. Now it is your turn. What do you want us to know about you? Post your Twitter bio in the comment section, or send me a Tweet.
Do you have other great tips for creating a bio that tells a tale? I would love to hear about those, as well.
Let’s learn from each other.
Resumes and professional profiles require the use of action verbs such as these: http://career.opcd.wfu.edu/files/2011/05/Action-Verbs-for-Resumes.pdf
Writers Helping Writers, offers these examples of action verbs: http://cdn.writershelpingwriters.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Active-Verbs-List.pdf