One of the keys to business success is to establish good communications with your existing customers and the people you would like to do business with in the future.
The rise of social media in recent years has created cost-efficient platforms that business can use to talk directly to their customers, and - as importantly - listen to their concerns.
Twitter is still one of the most popular social media channels in the world - despite recent concerns about its future. At the moment it is still a good way for businesses and organisations to connect with the people it wants to reach, inspire, entertain and influence.
Because businesses make up a sizeable percentage of Twitter's users, the platform has created easy-to-use features with them in mind.
It's always worth understanding as much as you can about what your target audience WANTS from you and your business on social media because you can only hold their attention if they are getting something they value from you. If all you are tweeting are sales messages your Twitter account will have a limited appeal Always think about creating and sharing a variety of content types that entertain, interest, provide help and show support for others.
To raise your profile on Twitter, and keep your followers engaged, you need to be posting the content they want to see.
Never forget the 'social' element of social media. Twitter is a place to build relationships and have conversations. Listen to what your customers are saying and understand how your products, services and events can make their life better and easier.
Be generous in acknowledging and supporting suppliers and associates. If you are a member of any business organisations, networking groups or associations, engage with them on Twitter. When others share your tweets it pushes you out to new audiences - and when you show support for others they are likely to reciprocate.
Keep track of what tweets are getting the most reaction from people by regularly reviewing the wealth of data that you can find in your Twitter analytics.
Set some targets that you can measure, using both Twitter's own analytics and the Google analytics for your own website. These might include how many people have clicked a link to look at a page on your website, or completed a web form to make an enquiry, or signed up to your newsletter or downloaded a free fact sheet you have created.
Remember to use your tablet or smartphone to stay connected with your Twitter audience when you are out and about. Customers will appreciate prompt responses if they send you a question through a tweet or a private message.
Images and videos are an important element of Twitter content and can convey information quickly in an engaging and entertaining way that makes you memorable. Think about infographics and images that you can overlay with text to add more content to a single tweet.
Videos of up to 30 seconds can be uploaded directly to Twitter from your smartphone. Be creative and think how you can make people smile - they'll remember how you made them feel and look out for your tweets in future.
If you have some cash to spend on promoting your business on Twitter, take a look at ads.twitter.com where you will find information on the available options. You can set objectives and a fixed budget and you will only spend the money when users take the action you want. It's easy to stop your promotion at any time, or add more money if you are seeing results.
You can choose the type of users you want to see your promoted tweets based on interests, gender, their location and the type of device they are using to access Twitter.
If you need some more help and advice in using Twitter to promote your business, or want to organise a training session, contact Caittom Publishing.