Whether you're growing your own business or marketing for someone else, Twitter can seem like a daunting prospect. With close to 320 million users the audience is there - but so is the competition.It is possible to increase your exposure, connect with clients, and discover valuable networking opportunities, but without a clear strategy it is just as easy to waste time you could be spending elsewhere.
What that being said, here are five ways to help you and your business get the most out of Twitter.
Narrow your focus. What can you bring to the table that no one else has thought of? Don't just tweet yourself as a dog groomer - consider specializing in difficult breeds or offering services after hours.
The more you prioritize tweeting specific or unique content, the more likely Twitter users will view you as an asset and want to follow you. If you're using Twitter for business, this will probably mean you'll want to keep your personal and Twitter life separate. Sure it's fun to post about your dog or your latte - or your dog drinking a latte - but trying to have the best of both worlds can result in the dilution of your brand and ultimately hinder your effectiveness.
With so many users on twitter, you're already at a disadvantage. If you don't want your tweets sucked quietly away into the sands of time you will need an edge. Think of something unique you can bring to the Twitter buffet. A quirky sense of humor, an unexpected perspective on an issue or consistently well-researched information can all help you stand out from the crowd.
Don't think you have to constantly come up with new content either - sharing a link to an article you've found helpful or re-tweeting relevant material can also help you build a solid base of followers.
The importance of knowing your audience can't be over-stressed. If your target audience happens to be insomniacs or new parents, you will need to be prepared to burn the midnight oil. Those who work day jobs likely won't be scrolling through Twitter until after 7 p.m. so you may want to save your best tweets until then.
Studies say that twitter users are most active between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., but it doesn't necessarily follow that will be that the best time for you to tweet. Know your brand, know your audience, and you will maximize your effectiveness.
Let's face it, wallflowers rarely get asked to dance - so get in there! Follow hashtag streams that coincide with you brand and engage with Twitter users who have questions or are struggling with issues you may be able to help them with. Publicly acknowledge re-tweets and make sure you attempt to respond to replies and personal messages. Remember that the personal touch on Twitter can often take you farther than 100 vague tweets into the void.
After you've done your research and chosen the best times to tweet, stick to them and try to do it every day. If you tweet four times on Wednesday, two on Friday, and then are missing in action during the weekend, its unlikely many Twitter users will follow you with much interest. Be there every day with new and interesting content and you will find a niche that can add exposure and credibility to your brand.
Don't despair if your empire doesn't grow overnight - it can take time to find the sweet spot. Twitter probably won't be the answer to all your problems, but in the right hands it can be a useful tool to take your business to the next level.