Twitter's New Look

Twitter recently unveiled a new look – and here’s what you need to know if you manage a Twitter account for a government agency.

1. Optimize Your Images

Header Image on iPhoneFirst of all, your existing profile picture (probably your agency’s logo or official seal) is going to automatically stretch proportionally to fit the larger 400×400 pixel size. You might not even have to update it, unless the resolution looks grainy – an indicator that you need a larger size.

Your old header image (the picture that used to appear behind the text description of your profile) is now the focus of your page. Many government agencies never got around to adding a header image to their profile – instead spending all their efforts to customize their background image – which was a major part of the old Twitter look.

As the new prominent feature, you might want to switch out your header image with a great photo that really represents your agency. Start with a great quality image – the recommended size is 1500×500 pixels, which is perfect for a scenery landscape or landmark in your city. Just click on ‘Edit Profile’ to change your header photo.

2. Enhance Your Profile Description

Another big change is that your profile information is on the left side of your page, underneath your profile picture. You can still use #hashtags and @ links to other profiles, so take advantage of this feature when it’s appropriate. This would also be a good place to link to your social media monitoring policy.

Your description characters are limited to 160, so you’ve got to keep it short. The shortest ‘no endorsement’ language I’ve seen is “Follows/RTs ≠ Endorsement”.

Make sure to include something unique or interesting about your agency to make your profile a bit more memorable – include your agency’s slogan or your estimated population, for instance.

3. Use New Features

Twitter is now highlighting photos and videos that you’ve tweeted in a big way. They’ve turned your photo/video count into a link next to your tweet count in the prominent information bar under the header photo.

After you write a tweet, you can select to ‘Pin to your profile page’. This means it will be highlighted at the top of your profile. This feature is perfect for your major events or programs for your agency. Just make sure to double-check the tweet every so often that you have pinned to the top to make sure it’s timely.

Have you come across a great government profile with the new Twitter look? Share it with us!

Kristy Dalton is the creator of Government Social Media and host of the online video series. Read her full bio.

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