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Advanced Twitter Tactics for Small Businesses

Getting an edge in any social media space is, to say the least, a very hard challenge. Rising above the sea of competitors and the ever-present social noise takes finesse, planning, pizzazz, and the latest technological tools. Twitter is perhaps the most challenging medium to make a big splash in, but it’s far from impossible. Get a hashtag up on your competition by using the following advanced Twitter tips!

1. Be Proactive About Gaining Followers

Obviously, you need to build a loyal, diverse following of Twitter fans to make this space work for you. If you’re thinking about buying “fake” followers, think again – you need engagement, not bulky numbers. False profiles don’t make for very viral supporters! To amass your dedicated crew, don’t just launch your profile and cross your fingers, get out there and connect with people! Follow like-minded industry leaders and fans, message up a storm, and post intriguing posts that get people talking. Whatever you do, be extremely active, and people will respond in kind.

2. Resist the Urge to Schedule Your Tweets

Yes, there are oodles of great tools like HootSuite that help you schedule tweets in advance, but remember that your follow-up conversations are far more important than your original correspondence. Why? Because you have that fan’s attention, in the moment, and if comments or retweets go unanswered for hours or days, you’ve missed the chance to not only deepen loyalty, but perhaps gain a viral supporter.

If you still insist on scheduling blasts, be on hand to respond to comments every hour during your workday. Better yet, have a social media manager tasked to stay engaged with your follows as much as possible. Remember that it only takes a handful of fiercely loyal super-fans to spread the good word about you and send your numbers through the roof. Folks these days have a very small attention span though; don’t miss your window of engagement opportunity.

3. Watch for Your Company’s Mentions

You’re probably already tracking everyone that tweets your company using a hashtag or @ symbol; don’t forget to search for plain text mentions too. If your company has an easily misspelled name, search for those variations as well – it’s absolutely imperative that you connect with any fan posting positive or negative tweets about you, and, ideally, within minutes or hours of the mention.

4. Be Humble, Diverse, and Interesting

We already know that tweets need to have value to your audience, but don’t be afraid to infuse personality and spunk in your Twitter persona too. At the same time, no one loves an egocentric company that only blabbers on about itself. Make sure you’re conveying humility, and tweet not only about your company’s endeavors, but things happening in your industry as well. News bites that are relevant to your followers will be highly appreciated, and create a necessary break in all that talking you do about yourself.

By the way, humility always involves an awareness of balance. Please do not ever spam your audience with auto-responder tweets that spew stats all day long. Likewise, don’t schedule an excessive amount of announcements for any one day unless you have a hugely legitimate reason. It’s definitely critical to stay in touch, but when it comes to tweets, there is without a doubt propensity for too much of a good thing.

5. Stream Baby Stream

While I don’t advocate using third party software to pre-schedule a gaggle of tweets, it is super smart to use these tools for streams. Streams are tracking tools that allow you to stay in-the-know about mentions across Twitter on all manner of your industry topics. For example, if you run a cosmetics company, creating a stream for hashtags #makeup and #cosmetics will help you stay on trend regarding what Twitter users are talking about in the space. You can in turn make related comments, showing you’re on the pulse in your industry, responding to real-time topics. This kind of relevancy and engagement is priceless!

6. Be an Obsessive Analyzer

Guessing at the success rate of any social campaign is crazy talk, especially when there are scads of tools to help you determine how well your messaging is working. For Twitter, make friends with Bit.ly. Not only does this nifty site help shorten long URLs so they fit in the very conservative 140 character tweet limit, but it also lets you track click-throughs for each link so you have current metrics for all your efforts. Quantifying your investment in the social space is difficult, but tools like these demystify the process tremendously – if you take the time to use them!

7. Use Your Keywords

If you’ve done your homework and identified the core keywords for your business, use them in your Twitter posts when appropriate too. These terms are like neon signs that point folks to your business, so use them proudly! Make sure to be consistent across your site and social mentions.

What are some of the most useful Twitter tactics your business currently employs? Post your tips in the Comments section along with any advice on what not to do.

Digital producer, game designer, Internet marketer and staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs, Tina Courtney-Brown has been shaping online businesses since 1996. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, social networks and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and true cooking diva. Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+.

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