My friend and Visual Buzz 101 co-creator Kelly Kingman joins us this week to talk about the changes up ahead on Twitter. Discover how to adapt your Twitter header and profile images to take advantage of the new format. Questions? Ask away in the comments! – Pamela Wilson
Twitter is rolling out its biggest-ever redesign this month, and the new look will remind you a lot of the shift that Facebook went through a couple years ago with their cover photos.
But it’s not just about bigger photos — a couple of these changes might transform the way you think about the content you post to social media.
Right now, this new design for your profile is opt-in, but by May 28th, 2014, all profiles will be switched over to the new look. Below, we’ll hit the highlights of what’s new as well as give you a super-fast way to give your Twitter profile page a fresh makeover.
What’s New on Twitter
Here are the highlights of Twitter’s new profile page:
- Think panoramic. You get a big, beautiful header image to play with, spanning the entire page. You’ll want an image that’s 1500 pixels wide and 500 pixels high.
- Smile! Your profile photo gets a bit bigger now, maybe it’s time to update your headshot?
- Visitors can now go directly to your visual content with the photo/video tab. Those photos and videos will also show up directly on your profile page, with a strong horizontal crop.
- Posts that get more engagement now equals larger text and you can also select great tweets (your own, or others) to pin to the top of your feed.
A New Twitter Header Image in Just Three Steps
Before you begin, take a few minutes to think about what kind of “flavor” you want your header image to have right now. Some places to start:
- What’s my brand personality?
- What do I want to promote this month and next?
- What emotional quality do I want to evoke with this image?
- What is a quote that I find interesting, funny or inspiring right now?
Pamela and I always recommend that you have a good sense of your brand personality to help inform color and font choices, but our Twitter profiles are often a mix of business and personal content, so don’t overthink it too much — have some fun!
For this example, I’m using PicMonkey.com to create an image — it’s free and super easy to use, you don’t even have to log-in. Although many of their filters, fonts, and effects have a little crown icon (indicating it’s a paid feature), there are lots of fun things to explore with just the free tools.
Step 1: Choose Your Background Image
I’ve started with an image from Twitter’s free header image collection, so it’s already the right size (1500 x 500 pixels).
If you’re using a larger image, just click “Crop” and enter the pixel dimensions.
Other ideas for background images:
- Take a panoramic image with your smartphone’s camera
- Use a photo you’ve taken and crop it in PicMonkey
- Start with a solid color background or texture from the PicMonkey library (better yet — layer a texture on top of a solid color)
Step 2: Add a Quick Filter Effect
Choose one of the free filter effects to give the background image some texture or dimensionality. Here I’ve chosen one called “Frost” and simply used the default settings.
I liked the effect because the quote I am going to add talks about sunshine, and this effect combined with the yellow background evokes sunlight. Play around with the fade, color and other controls to see what kind of custom look you can create.
Step 3: Add a quote and URL
You can turn this image from wallpaper into content with some text, and quotes are just perfect for this. Check out websites like BrainyQuote.com, GoodReads.com — or go back to some of your own writings and consider quoting yourself.
Don’t forget to add your URL to the image for good measure — and some extra brand awareness.
Bonus step: Play with shapes
PicMonkey has quite an extensive library of shapes you can add to your image. You can control the color, size and opacity of the shapes. You can also resize and rotate them. This is a fun tool to try, especially if you decide to go with with a color background instead of a photo.
Mix it up!
Consider updating your header and cover photos seasonally — just like you update your wardrobe as seasons change. Better yet, whip up fun new images monthly or even weekly as part of your regular marketing calendar and keep your brand top of mind.
Want to create more images for your social media channels? Register to watch this webinar instantly: Impressive Images You Can Make Yourself.
Feel free to “steal” the images below to use for your Twitter header. Right-click on a PC, or command-click on a Mac. They’re already sized to fit in your Twitter header perfectly.
About the Author: Kelly Kingman helps people use visual tools to ideate, solve problems and communicate better. You can learn more about her current projects at KellyKingmanMedia.com and by following her on Twitter @kellykingman