How to Create an Effective Twitter Account for Your Business

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Right now, if your business isn’t on Twitter, the only explanation I can think of is that you don’t know how to use and optimize it.

Twitter is an incredibly powerful business tool. Many mistakenly see it as a sales platform or as a streaming platform, when in fact, it is the most powerful listening platform there is. So if you want to get your business featured on Twitter but aren’t sure where to start or what to tweet, here are some tips.

Be sure to complete your profile and biography.

Nothing screams unprofessional more than a business on Twitter that doesn’t have a profile picture. The same goes for a bio. Tell me, your potential follower, who you are and why I should follow you.

Be clear and concise and try to make yourself as approachable as possible. A light touch of humor in your biography could go a long way. Putting a smile on someone’s face should be your mission statement.

Determine who to follow.

You can tell a lot about a person or a business based on who they are following. I’m not even talking about the fact that when you follow someone and they find you interesting, there’s a good chance they’ll follow you back.

All I’m saying is that Twitter is the perfect platform to engage with leaders and businesses in your space. So, before you start tweeting, be sure to identify some of the key players operating in your industry and follow them.

You need to work out with your team how you plan to engage with other users and what your tone will be. Are you more corporate or more personal? Either way, Twitter is a very engaging platform that allows you, both as a person and as a brand, to be friendly and personal. Once you follow someone, don’t be afraid to say hello and begin what could become the start of a long-term strategic relationship.

Always think about the person following you.

Many spend their time on Twitter finding a way to get more followers instead of focusing on people who have already followed them, which, in turn, would bring them more followers.

Make sure your feed contains plenty of interesting, non-promotional content about your industry. So, if someone is interested in your space, you are a valuable asset to them.

It’s called social media, not broadcast media.

Most businesses (and people, for that matter) focus on the media part and forget that it’s supposed to be social.

This means that in addition to the links and articles you share, be sure to engage. Ask questions, answer questions, reply, retweet, and use the search function to find and interact with people talking about your space.

Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts.

If the first type of tweet to consider is links and the second is engagement, the third is general reflection. These tweets have no link or call to action and they are not directed at anyone in particular. This third category can include general thoughts on your industry, quotes from the CEO, or just general information about trends in your space.

Twitter is an incredibly powerful tool if used as it was intended. Like most things in life, if abused, it can also cause tremendous damage to your brand. So don’t just join Twitter to say you’re on Twitter. Be strategic about it, define your goals and your target audience, and then get going.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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