Have you customized your Twitter page yet? If not, you should be and here is how I did it. It’s pretty easy to do, and a person or company with a customized page is more likely to generate attention, conversation and followers. Plus, a customized page shows that you’ve taken the additional step to share more information about yourself – and transparency is what social media is all about.
For example, I rarely follow anyone who does not have a profile picture, a web link or bio. And if someone has a nice background page, I am more likely to follow them back and check out some of their links. Since Twitter only lets you display a 140-character Bio and a thumbnail picture, a customized display lets you go into much greater detail. This is especially important if you have a business account on Twitter since Twitter’s default screen gives users a lot of screen real estate on the left hand side of the screen that you can use to tell your own story beyond the 140-character limit of Twitter. On most screen resolutions used today (i.e. 1280×800), there is at least 250 pixels wide by 650 pixels tall or about 2 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches. Unfortunately, the links you put in your Twitter background are not clickable as the file is just an image.
While there are many different ways – some free and some not so free – to customize your Twitter background, I wanted to be able to fully control what I put on my screen. Plus, some attempts at customizing a Twitter background actually look pretty bad so I know others must be feeling the pain too. My approach uses tools that almost every has already or are relatively inexpensive to purchase. I used Microsoft Powerpoint (download my template on Slideshare) for most of the work, Nattyware’s free Pixie tool to identify color palettes and SnagIt to generate a JPG image.
These are the 3 easy steps I used to customize my Twitter page.
1. Create Powerpoint slide and generate JPG – First, you can start with the Twitter Background – Generic that you can download from Slideshare. On the template, you can edit the file to include your name, a picture, some details about you, URLs for your website and blog, and additional ways to connect with you on other social media platforms. For my template, you can change the background image and sidebar background to any color that suits you. Notice that the background color should be all one color as you will be matching this color using Twitter settings in a later step. Many people select colors that match or complement their logo, or select colors that set them apart from other users. Be careful about getting too wild with your color schemes as that can definitely be a turn-off.
When you are done with customizing the template, I select Print->Preview to see what the image will look like. From there, you need to generate an JPG image of the screen shot. My preference is to use SnagIt from TechSmith (see my SnagIt blog post for more), but the new Windows 7 has a Snipping Tool that will accomplish the same thing. You can also save the file as a JPG in Powerpoint, however the resulting JPG file on my PC was not as crisp as using SnagIt.
When you are still in Powerpoint, you need to use a color picker tool to get the HTML color code for the colors you have selected. My preferred tool is called Pixie from Nattyware. For example, the dark gray below is A6A6A6 and the lighter gray is D9D9D9.
2. Upload JPG file to Twitter – After you have a JPG image of your customized Twitter screen, you need to upload the file to Twitter. Under the Settings in the top menu, select the Design sub-menu. Then use Choose File to upload the JPG file you saved in the first step and Save Changes.
3. Modify background colors to match JPG – The last step is to change the design colors in Twitter. First, you will want to use the HTML Colors noted above. You need to change the background color to the same background color on your Powerpoint template. I have found that matching the sidebar color to the color of the box and the links to the color of the background on the template works well. While some people like to add color to their text, my recommendation is to stick with black or a dark shade of gray. Click Save Changes when you are done. Then it’s time to check out what you’ve done. If you don’t the end result, you can easily adjust the colors or even redo the template.
With these simple steps, you should be able to easily customize your Twitter background in 15 to 20 minutes – and take advantage of providing more information about you and your brand.