Your Twitter avatar, that little picture that accompanies every single message you publish on the network, is important. Probably more important than you think – a poll I ran a couple of years ago revealed that only 5% of my readers didn’t care about the avatar of the people they were following.

Here are five quick tips to help you get it right.

1. We Want To See YOU

You should always use a recent photo of your face for your avatar – 58% of my readers prefer and expect that.

And just your face – not a close-up of your eyeball, not a picture of you (at least, we think it’s you) from a mile away, and definitely not a picture of your pet, your baby, your favourite celebrity or all of the above. Just your face, shoulders up, and nothing too staged or iStockphotoesque. A good, but regular picture of you.

Exceptions: if you’re a brand with an established, recognisable logo, and/or your Twitter profile is managed by a team (as opposed to one person), then it makes sense to put your ego to one side and use your logo.

Otherwise, no exceptions. Face, face, face.

2. Your Avatar Needs To Be BIG (Not Small)

Upload a large image in as high a resolution as you can manage taken with a decent digital camera – go for a JPG or PNG over a GIF. Twitter allows up to 700KB and will shrink it down for you to 48×48 pixels, but when somebody visits your profile page and clicks on your image it should get bigger, not stay the same size. I’ve requested a close-up – please don’t disappoint.

(I’ve actually seen a few that get smaller – just how low does your self-esteem have to be?)

Read more