Twitter Backgrounds: Are they worth it?

I had a bit of a debate last week, I was being interviewed about Twitter and I was asked to explain why Twitter backgrounds were important to small businesses.  My answer surprised my interviewer when I said:  They weren’t!

Yes, you DO want consistent branding, BUT how often are Twitter backgrounds ever viewed?

  • 43% of Tweets come from mobile devices and you can’t see Twitter backgrounds on a mobile device
  • If you used Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to manage your Twitter, you can’t see the backgrounds
  • Even if you use predominately, all you see are people’s avatars and Twitter names.  If you click on their names, you see their bios and the last 3 tweets.  To see their background, you would need to click on their Twitter name again.
  • The only time I ever look at someone’s background is when I check on whether to follow them back or not.  Most of my decisions are based solely on their bio and their last three Tweets.  If I am still not sure I will then click to see more of their Tweets, but too be honest, I look at the content not the imagery at that point.
  • You see the Twitter background when you follow people from their website So there is a brief chance to look at the background before you follow someone.

So how often do you look at someone’s background image?  Do you dismiss people if they don’t have a professional background?

I have a confession:  I have a standard Twitter background, when I joined Twitter a couple of years ago, I was told it was very important to have a customised background.  I played around with a few backgrounds and even had a go at designing one for myself and then Twitter changed its format and…

…I meant to come back to it later…

…but I have been too busy Tweeting!

Over four thousand people have chosen to follow me despite my background.  So do you think its time for me to have a properly designed Twitter Background?

Please let me know by voting or leaving a comment below.


Nicky Kriel

Nicky Kriel is a Social Media Coach & Trainer inspiring, educating and empowering Business Owners to use Social Media more strategically. She is also the author of How to Twitter for Business Success. For more information visit or to find out about her courses that she runs in Guildford visit

Jenny Ray - 29th October 2011

I don’t think twitter backgrounds are essential as such or would stop me from following someone I was interested in, but I do think ‘that looks professional’ when I see them customized. When the pr/website company ‘morph pr’ were working on my website they did a background at the same time and I liked it!!! So I guess I do like the consistency between my webpage and twitter… just some thoughts!!!

    Nicky Kriel - 29th October 2011

    Hi Jenny

    I agree with you about consistency in branding across all platforms. I think sometimes small businesses spend too much time trying to get things perfect instead of doing things that will make a difference to their business.


patricia - 29th October 2011

I know a lot pf professionals that have huge lists of clients and are successful with a normal average site that is functional and others that have sites and twitter backgorunds that look great and still struggling to get clients.
I guess we need a balance here and remember what our goal is, and give it the right priority.

    Nicky Kriel - 29th October 2011

    Hi Patricia
    Thank you for adding to the discussion. What you say is very true about needing to get our priorities right, it is so easy to get distracted.

    Nicky x

Annette Yates - 30th October 2011

I follow and agree with all your arguments – they’re not essential.

I love mine, and on putting it up (it took just a couple of minutes) I had positive comments immediately. First impressions, and all that. But it is an ‘extra’, and messing about with your settings comes a poor second to putting up some strong and meaningful content.

Heather Bestel - 30th October 2011

I agree that branding is important, but I must be honest and tell you that I haven’t looked at someone’s twitter profile for a long, long time. I used to have time to go visit their page and admire their branding. But now, I tend to just click through to their site/blog from tweetdeck if I want to check them out – so I don’t even see their profile page.

    Nicky Kriel - 30th October 2011

    Hi Heather

    It is amazing how few people actually look at Twitter backgrounds, thank you for leaving a comment. It is good to know that it is not just me!

    Nicky x

Sue Oliver - 30th October 2011

I voted ‘No’ – your Twitter background was not the reason I followed you! Some thoughts:
– could a fancy background be a ‘triumph of style over substance’?
– using the 80/20 rule to focus on what gets results in business, I don’t believe tinkering with a customised Twitter background even gets a look-in!
– perfection is the enemy of excellence

    Nicky Kriel - 30th October 2011

    Hi Sue
    Thank you for leaving your thoughts and adding to the discussion. I love the way you have embraced Twitter.
    It will be interesting to see what the final vote will be.

    Nicky x

simon - 2nd September 2012

You could all have a lovely background by now rather than spending time debating it. No it’s not vital, not it won’t get you anywhere on its own clearly… so why the debate about 80/20 rubbish and focusing on content instead, it’s not an either or surely? some will see it some won’t. More importantly than consistent branding or looking nice, you have the opportunity to reinforce your USP in the graphics. Miss that one at your peril.

    Nicky Kriel - 2nd September 2012

    Hi Simon

    Thank you for leaving a comment. It is obvious that you didn’t look at my Twitter account before posting this comment which kind of proves my point that nobody looks at Twitter backgrounds. I published this blog post in October last year.


      simon - 2nd September 2012

      I looked at your twitter profile after I posted my message, I was making a general statement. If I’d have come across you on Twitter, I’d have had a look, checked out your website via your profile page. Also if I click on your ‘follow me’ twitter tab on this very page it takes you straight to your twitter profile page with background. What have you proved?

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