Almost Everything But the Tweet – Conquering Twitter (visual elements)
Visual elements. There are two areas on Twitter where you can make a visual impact, and it has nothing to do with what you’re actually tweeting. No, scratch that, there are three. Kinda.
So the first, most obvious one, consists of the account’s avatar. Here’s where you should put the company logo. Don’t have a logo? Then it can be a picture of the person doing the tweeting, as this is supposed to be something of a conversation.
Other visual elements of choice for an avatar can be a picture of the company mascot, if there is one. Or a photo of one person (the main user) on the Twitter team, although if two or three people are doing the tweeting, what about a closeup of both or all three of them, photo booth style? This will depend upon your industry and your image therein. But at the very least, you must get away from a generic Twitter avatar.
Where’s the second area where you can make a visual impact? It’s your background. Here’s where your company logo can go if it’s not already being used for the account’s avatar. And if you have a well-known logo, that will add to the visual impact, so long as you’re not using the logo for both the avatar and the background. Because that constitutes overkill unless both are subtle.
Depending upon monitor or device size and screen resolution, some parts of the background will be hidden or revealed. So make sure to place the logo on the left of the background, preferably near the top, and test the look on several different-sized monitors and devices, and utilizing different resolutions and operating systems. You will not be able to customize the look for each setup (like you can with Cascading Style Sheets), but at least you’ll get an idea of where you’re being cut off. Naturally, you want to optimize your visual elements for whatever setup your customers are most likely to be using — if your target audience has vision problems (e. g. perhaps they’re elderly), the most likely setup may very well involve a larger than standard screen resolution.
More About the Background
Below the upper left corner is some space directly to the left of where the tweeting actually occurs. To the left, vertically, you have a little room in which to place the company web address, a telephone number and possibly a short slogan. Twitter is meant to be short and sweet; don’t get caught up in adding a lot of verbiage here. Less can certainly be more in this case. Keep in mind, too, that no one can search on any verbiage you place here in the background image.
You can also add a picture just below your logo, or in place of it, in the upper left corner or along the left side. Try, perhaps, a picture of the Twitter team. Because you can great impact from offering pictorial evidence of who’s listening. Another option: place a picture of your main product here.
There is also some space to the right. However, this is the part that seems to grow or shrink depending upon monitor or device size and resolution. I recommend putting nothing much (if anything) here. This is because you don’t know how it will cut off. Although, if you have a color readily associated with your company (think of Starbucks green) or website, make sure that any unused portion of the background contains at least that color. Utilize that space as a part of a more unified design, not as a focal point.
What’s part three? It’s small, and not every company can really do this. But for companies with readily recognized logos, it can be golden: the Twibbon.
A Twibbon consists of a small logo or picture placed in the lower right corner of an avatar. Sparkpeople does this well, as theirs (the cover of the site founder’s book: ) is orange and easy to spot. Sparkies can readily spot one another. But it’s another unsearchable visual.
However, adding to its brilliance: it’s not the site’s own accounts that sport the Twibbon; it’s the site’s followers. Here the site’s followers are also virally getting the visual message across, not only in their tweets but also in their avatars’ presences on other users’ follower lists.
More About Twibbons
The Twibbon seems to work best with either sites with a lot of users or charities or cause-related/ideological/religious situations. I doubt an accounting firm could get anyone to sport its Twibbon (no matter how lovely). However, the Republican Party, LiveStrong and the ACLU (of these three, only the ACLU doesn’t seem to have a Twibbon) can and could all do very well. A quick and tiny visual, if readily recognizable, can really get across a message.
You most likely don’t need to use your own Twibbon much. However, if you do, it’ll look odd if the avatar and the Twibbon (and, perhaps, your background) are just different-sized versions of the same visual. Hence you’d need to choose. If you’ve got several visuals that could work, mix them together, although less is probably going to be more here. Once the Twibbon is established and people are using it, you might want to drop it from the official Twitter account(s). What you tweet is, naturally, important, but consider the other areas where you can enhance your message. These basic visual elements can help you to place an exclamation point at the end of your tweets.