Twitter Guide for Government: Profile Info

Download the PDF: Thou Shalt Tweet! 15 Commandments for Government Agencies on Twitter


Your profile should entice people to want to follow and engage with you. That means putting up a picture (a logo or other identifier) and filling in your profile information.

Your Picture: Your organization’s Twitter picture should be the senior representative doing the tweeting (an ambassador, for example) or your agency logo. This should be up on the first day and changed when it is appropriate.

Your Profile: Your profile is where you tell people who you are and what you will be tweeting about. You are limited to 160 characters, so make every character count.

You should include:

  • A link back to your agency website
  • A description of the account’s “raison d’etre:” This is the official feed of the department of …

You could also include things like:

  • What you intend to tweet about (We tweet about international trade, travel alerts, etc)
  • Something personal, if appropriate (John Dough, senior trade officer, tweeting for the Department of Commerce)

Your User Name: Usernames must be no more than 15 characters in length so take this into consideration when choosing your name. You may have to use an acronym. If you can, try using something that is universal instead of terms generally only used in your organization. For example, use industry terms, or international ISO country codes. Also, avoid selecting a username that is specific to the senior executive running the agency, as we know these people change often.

GovLoop Tip: Who’s in your network already?
Take a look at other agencies and departments, maybe someone has already set up an account. Get in touch with these people, sit down with them and talk through the challenges you’re having and see where you can collaborate.

Complete Listing of All 15 Twitter Commandments

This guide evolved from a post by Alain Lemay on GovLoop titled “Who Not to Follow On Twitter: A Guide for Public Sector Employees.” Alain is a Senior Web Communications Analyst for the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Agency in Canada. He graciously donated his time to assist in producing the 15 Commandments for Government Agencies on Twitter Guide in tandem with the GovLoop team.

  1. Thou Shalt Listen Before You Leap
  2. Thou Shalt Use Thy Profile Information Properly
  3. Thou Shalt Have a Disclaimer
  4. Thou Shalt Not Be a Bully (Nobody Likes a Bully!)
  5. Thou Shalt Tweet Regularly
  6. Thou Shalt Integrate My Tweet Approval Process
  7. Thou Shalt Not Register Alternate Accounts
  8. Thou Shalt Not Automate Thy Tweets
  9. Thou Tweet In the First Person
  10. Thou Shalt Not Bait and Switch
  11. Thou Shalt Not Spam
  12. Thou Shalt Be Selective About Who You Follow
  13. Thou Shalt Monitor Thy Account
  14. Thou Shalt Contribute to the Conversation
  15. Thou Shalt Measure for Success