So You Think You Know Twitter?

When it comes to social media, Twitter is easily one of the most potentially powerful networks available. It’s simple and easy to use, taking only moments to complete a tweet and get your message out there. It is also an open network that allows anyone to see anything they might be interested in.

The goal set before those who utilize Twitter to promote their brand is to generate visibility. How do you get more views? Generate interests? Twitter isn’t just about tweeting as much as possible; it’s about generating material that is applicable to your followers and of good quality.

Timing is Essential

Your tweets don’t have to overwhelm the feeds to gain visibility. One of the best practices is to create a schedule of tweets. Don’t spend all day on Twitter (time is precious); instead, focus on tweeting at scheduled times during the day, with a few hours in between. Give your readers time to re-tweet your material, and specifically target times when your readers are most active.

Use Those Hashtags!

One practice that many businesses often overlook is the #hashtag. These handy tags permit you to relate your tweet to specific material, particularly those feeds that would appreciate what it is you have to say. In many cases, you could display them during discussions to improve awareness of your conversation throughout the network. But while it is possible to find followers by using hashtags, it is also a way for you to find people to follow too. Pay attention to posted hashtags and research their purpose. Be sure that you explore all the benefits of Twitter’s tools and use them in every way possible.

To Tweet, or to Retweet?

A great tactic is to re-tweet relatable material posted by other experts in similar fields. You don’t have to be competitive in Twitter, since it’s basically one huge network that everyone shares. Think of it as working together to improve visibility an awareness. There’s no reason to turn tweeting into a competition when it could be far more effective as a cooperative effort. Re-tweeting content from other users also shows that you’re goal isn’t simply to drive traffic to your website or advertise your products are services, rather that your interest is to give your followers relevant information that they’ll find useful, regardless of any benefit to your business. This brings us to our next point:

Create Discussion

Be sure that you join in on Twitter chats – open discussions about certain topics. These are often mediated by an expert, but provide a community of numerous similar minded contacts that you can use to expand your network. Share and discuss, and be sure to display your expertise. While some topics may be general in nature, don’t step out of your field or make assumptions that would degrade your expert image. Focus on what you know and demonstrate that. In other cases, they can be a great opportunity to listen and learn.

Can’t find a mediated discussion? Create your own! Use your Twitter as an outlet to engage your customers in conversation, and find out their thoughts and opinions, whether it be on some current event, a new product, or ideas for future products or services. This helps you build real relationships with your customers that will eventually translate into sales, traffic to your site, traffic to your store – whatever your goal may be!

Proceed with Caution

Remember that you do not own your Twitter account. Rules and regulations do apply, so you have to be sure that you remain on the network’s good-side at all times. It could be bad for your brand image to be banned or deleted from a group or feed.

It’s also important to steer away from polarizing topics such as politics or religion. Never associate your personal beliefs with your brand’s Twitter page or any other social media account. Even if people love your products or services, if they disagree with you on these types of issues, it could lead them to no longer be a customer of your business. Also, even if they agree with the view you put forth, chances are they don’t want to read about such topics on your social pages, and this could cause them to “unfollow” you or “unlike” your page.

Twitter is a powerful social word of mouth marketing tool, as long as you know how to use it properly. Be sure that you explore all uses of Twitter and make the most of its tools for the benefit of your online brand image.

Have you had success in using Twitter to engage your customers? What are your best Twitter practices? Do you have advice for business owners entering the world of social media? Let us hear these thoughts and more in the comments!

Maria Elena Duron is Chief Engagement Officer of buzz2bucks.com – a word of mouth marketing firm. She helps create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand. Maria Duron is co-founder and moderator of #brandchat – a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.

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