If you have a Twitter account, you may want to consider custom designing your background image. The available space on the current Twitter layout is a useful tool with which to consolidate your editorial business brand. Using it won’t cost you a bean, making it a free marketing opportunity. Don’t waste it!
There’s a gap to the left-hand side of the Twitter stream that is often left unused. Why not take advantage of this available space to create an image that promotes the key features of your business? You could include jackets of some of the projects you’ve worked on, and the urls to your Facebook business page and LinkedIn profile. Or you could feature societies of which you are a member, your business logo, information about your blog or website, or key aspects of your editorial business (such as the services you offer and the subjects in which you specialize) – it’s up to you how you decide to promote yourself.
I’ve chosen to use the left-hand space on my Twitter page to:
● restate my website name and address
● summarize my services;
● direct viewers to my Facebook business page;
● publicize my blog; and
● feature jackets of proofreading projects I’ve completed.
And take a look at the Twitter pages of some of our freelance editorial colleagues to see how they are using the background image space to enhance their brand: @KOKEdit ● @thewholeproof ● @ebrenner ● @Copyediting.
Tips for designing your image
Twitter limits the file size to 800k but it’s worth trying to keep your files much smaller than this so that your profile page doesn’t take too long to load. I saved my custom image as a portable network graphics (png) file, which minimized file size without degrading the quality. My image is 173k and many web designers recommend aiming for no more than 200–300k.
The size and resolution of the monitor your viewer is using will determine how much of your image is on view. Smaller screens with lower resolutions force the centred Twitter stream to take up more space, which reduces the size of the left-hand gap. Therefore, if you make the displayed material too wide, key information will be obscured by the Twitter stream. I have a 17 inch monitor and a resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels. However, 80% of people who visit my website have a screen resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels and higher so I elected to design the background image with this in mind – the total size of my background image is 1105 x 714 pixels, but the displayed information only uses up 176 x 695 pixels. Note that you won’t be able to get the aesthetically perfect result for every viewer but it’s worth altering your own screen resolution temporarily, and playing around with your image design, to ensure you are offering the best view to the maximum number of users.
Feel free to use the template below if you need assistance with measuring your image. This is based on the background image on my own Twitter page so it should offer a work-around for the most-used screen resolutions.
How to upload your custom background image
Log in to your Twitter account. Select Edit Your Profile, Design, and then, under the Customize Your Own section, click Choose File followed by Save Changes.
How to create a custom url for your Facebook business page
If you want to promote your Facebook business page on your Twitter background, it’s advisable to set up a more user-friendly custom url. I changed mine from "facebook.com/pages/Louise-Harnby-Proofreader/328476347180231?sk=wall" to "facebook.com/LouiseHarnbyProofreader" – a significant improvement!
It’s very easy to do but think carefully about what you want your url to be before you confirm the new user name – you can’t go back and change it later. Click here for Facebook’s simple instructions. You can simplify your Facebook urls for both business/fan and profile pages.
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Author Member of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). I abide by its Code of Standards in regard to my status as an independent writer.
Advanced Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). I'm a signatory to its code of practice as a professional editor.
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