As much as it’s about substance, social media is about image, too. Maybe not in the traditional sense, but there are a host of images that people subconsciously associate you and your brand with, and one of these images is your Twitter avatar.

If you’ve been playing with the thought of changing your Twitter avatar, you might want to think again.

People associate your Twitter avatar image very closely with the tweets you send out. They’re used to seeing your head shot or logo next to your words in their timelines. So if you change your avatar, you are going to have to work at updating all of your followers about the change, or else likely suffer some loss of engagement.

If you change your avatar, it’s best to tell your followers. Let them know you’ve updated it so they can adjust to seeing something new in their lists and timelines.

Because your followers have already built an image of you based on your avatar, changing it risks a lot. You may lose people who can’t “find” your tweets anymore, or those who simply don’t like the new look.

It’s up to you whether you want to change your avatar, of course, but I’d caution against doing it too often and for no real reason. For instance, getting a really drastic haircut might warrant changing your avatar; getting a tan probably doesn’t.

Image means a lot in the virtual world of digital marketing, so try to maintain a consistent avatar to keep your followers engaged.