Twitter has become one of the mostly widely-used methods of rapid online communication. In one short, pithy sentence you can promote your latest product or event, or exchange valuable information. This is why hundreds of thousands of businesses, both large and small, have woken up to its possibilities.

Used the right way, it can be a powerful marketing tool. But here are a few important points to bear in mind:

1. Take your time building up your profile and don’t expect to get amazing results right away. Get to know other tweeters in your niche market, join discussions and make relevant comments. Don’t just go straight in for the ‘hard sell’– it can be off-putting to potential clients. In fact, an internet marketing consultant I spoke to warned me that using Twitter solely to promote your own products can do more harm than good. Nobody wants to be constantly bombarded with sales-related tweets – this effectively becomes another form of SPAM.

2. When tweeting, you need to give as well as take. Share tips and give helpful answers to questions posted during discussions and you will begin to build up a reputation for being a knowledgeable, and therefore useful, person to know. Remember that Twitter is an online community, not a personal website.

3. Don’t follow large numbers of people in the hope they will reciprocate and therefore add to your own follower numbers. Think carefully about who you are following. It is far more important to build up good relationships with a few followers who are active in your market niche. Research your sector thoroughly to target the right contacts.

4. Don’t over-tweet. Your followers don’t want to hear every single piece of information about your company, regardless of how important it may be to you. Consider whether your tweet is necessary, and what you want to achieve from it.

For example, Twitter can be very helpful for advertising an event you are hosting or organising. But again, don’t constantly promote your products – wait until you have something really innovative or unique to share. Use photos as well, as sometimes one good photo of your product or business can have more of an impact than 10 unnecessary tweets.

5. Maintain a lively writing style; Twitter is not necessarily the place to be formal. A stand-out tweet will be entertaining yet informative at the same time. But be careful not to upset anyone – remember that what is funny to you may be offensive to somebody else.

Twitter is still young, so no doubt its possibilities for business use will only increase. Start now, engage in discussions in your sector to get your brand out there and you will be well on the way to building up a solid base of online relationships and potential clients.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Jenkinson is a UK based marketing consultant providing an outsourced marketing service to business owners and company directors.