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By now, everyone has an idea of what Twitter is. But are you getting the most out of it when it comes to your business?

Sure, most of these tips are things that you are probably already aware of, but have been putting off. Now is the time to get a handle on what you’d like to see from your Twitter presence.

Follow these tips and watch as you’ll generate more followers on Twitter, increase your marketing reach and generally make an exceptional splash in the wondrous world of social media.

• Set your Twitter goals

What do you want to achieve? What are you going to do differently? What are you going to try? If you haven’t done this already, then get on it. Knowing where you’d like to go with Twitter is oftentimes more important than a fantastically-written Tweet.

• Tweet on a regular schedule

Make this a priority resolution. Tweeting predictably establishes report with new followers and reassures your loyal customers.

• Tweet in multimedia: videos and pictures often speak louder than words

Change it up. Remember, that Twitter is a proud member of the social media family: use all types of media at your disposal to reaffirm your product.

• Mix-in retweets, shout-outs and thank you’s

Spend more time answering questions and thanking followers for retweeting your links than pushing products. The marketing karma will pay you back generously.

• Tweet relevant content and information that your followers will enjoy

If you’re not in-tune with your followers, then you’re missing the point of Twitter, entirely. Social media has its own limits of shameless self-promotion and Twitter is more about a dialogue than a soapbox. Learn about your followers and customers, and Tweet links and information that they’ll enjoy.

• Change up your Twitter background to reflect your company’s focus

Switch your background to something that shows where the company is going in the future. New product? New mission?

• Balance out your follower-to-following ratio to 50/50

An ideal Twitter business account has a relatively equal follower-to-following ratio. If you swing more towards the followers side, then your message will get lost. If you want to follow more, then your Twitter will be more skewed towards promotion instead of interaction.

• Host quarterly Tweet-ups with your customers to gain valuable feedback

If you haven’t already done this, then you’re missing out!

• Link your Tweets to your other social media pages and website

All social media sites and websites should “talk” to each other. Have your Twitter feeds featured on your website. Send your Tweets to Facebook. You’ll reach more people if you cross-mingle. And, as a bonus, you’ll look like you’re on top of your game.

• Plan your Tweets ahead so they have substantial impact and consistency

Without “generally” knowing where you’re going, you’re bound to get lost and distracted on the way. You don’t need to write your Tweets out verbatim, but have a theme or idea for the coming weeks.

• Broaden your Twitter presence by adding additional business accounts for customer service and ordering

Just do it!

Ready to start? Want a hand with automated some of your Twitter messages? Use SimplyCast’s Twitter marketing tool for free. Sign up today and stop worrying about your Twitter profile vanishing into the giant see of hash tags and Tweets.

1. The quality of your Tweets matters more than the quantity. 5 exceptional Tweets will always be better than 25 crappy ones. Otherwise, you’re just Tweeting for the sake of Tweeting.

2. If you let it, Twitter will consume your marketing life (just as any other form of social media). Twitter and social media aren’t the only marketing games out there. Diversify your marketing strategy.

3. Twitter will make you a better writer. You’ll learn that there’s more power in saying the same thing in 3 words than in 13. Less is always more.

4. Aim for an equal spread of followers and those who you follow. Don’t stack your Twitter deck by amassing a ridiculous number of followers. All that says is that you’re pretentious and you don’t really care what the rest of the world has to say.

5. Remember that Twitter (and all other social media sites) is a competition for air time.

6. Always be kind and respectful on Twitter.

7. Make Tweeting a daily habit.

8. Plan before you Tweet. Don’t use Twitter if you’re at risk for off-the-cuff content.

9. Incorporate what’s going on with your other marketing channels in your Tweets. New blog posts? Most YouTube hits this week? Record “Likes” on Facebook?

10. Remember that Twitter is searchable. Dot your Tweets with relevant keywords and phrases so that newcomers can find you easily. Don’t forget to include important keywords in your bio!

Have more? Do share?

We also invite you to check out SimplyCast’s free Twitter marketing automation tool. Make your Tweeting that much easier.

Twitter Marketing can help your organization create leads and interact with customers to maintain strong relationships, but how can you measure the success of these marketing initiatives? There are four metrics that can tell you a lot about the effectiveness of your twitter campaigns:

1. Retweets – when someone retweets your message it means they endorse it and want their followers to see it as well. Retweets can help you extend your reach beyond your list of followers, to their followers as well.

2. Follows - when someone follows you it means that they are interested in your company/what you are tweeting about. If you engage people with your tweet content, they are likely to follow you, which will help extend your message further. Your number of followers is a sign of how interesting/engaging you are.

3. Link clicks – Twitter can be a great tool for driving traffic to your company’s blog or website. Tweet about interesting content and include a link back to your website. Track the links to measure how effective your tweets are.

4. @[Twitter Name] Replies – If you pose a question or post interesting content, some tweeters man reply using @[Twitter Name]. The @reply tells you that the other person is engaging in a conversation with you. Not only is this great for relationship-building with customers, @replies are public so all of their followers will see the post as well.

At SimplyCast, we have developed an easy-to-follow Twitter reporting tool in house to measure the success of your Twitter campaigns. Our automated Twitter Marketing and reporting tools are free of charge. Sign up for free today.

Regardless of how you say it or how often you do it, social media can be the biggest time-suck for anyone. This is especially true for marketers who have to spend time on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

But, these fantastic marketing tools don’t have to eat up your precious time. With a few handy tips, you’ll be well on your way back to time management harmony.

• Seek Professional Help

No, no, that sounds bad. We don’t mean what you think. There are many apps and programs that allow you to not only preschedule your social media postings, but also link all of your social media sites together. So, spend some time every week to compile new content that can be uploaded to one social media management site and will post it everywhere when you want it to.

Pro Tip: Blogs, press releases and reoccurring promotions are great “generic” content to preschedule. But do throw in a few non automated Tweets every now and then. People can tell when it is 100% robot.

• Make an Appointment

If you’re not keeping track of your time and how you spend it, then you’re not working efficiently. Think of the adage, “Work smarter, not harder.” Stop allowing social media to dictate how you spend your time. Instead, set a daily schedule and time limits for your social media work.

Pro Tip: Set a recurring calendar reminder with specific start / stop times.

• Be Concise

Though it may sound counterintuitive, poor writing can be a huge time waster, especially with social media. Think about it: if you’re writing 25 words when 10 will do, you’ve wasted even more time. Becoming a concise writer takes practice and training. After you’ve completed a Tweet or a Facebook post, take 5 minutes to whittle it down by 10%.

Pro Tip: Streamlining your words has enormous benefits, even outside the realm of social media. You’ll find, with practice, that you’re emails, reports, memos, ads and promotions become shorter.

How do you manage your social media time when it comes to online marketing for your business?

When it comes to social media, standing out from the crowd is key. There are so many tweets flowing and offers being pitched, that they can all blend into one.

Here are 3 ways to do promotions on Twitter that your competitors are not doing.

• Break Free From the Incessant Marking Twaddle

Sure, it may sound counterintuitive and a bit on the silly side, but breaking free from the never-ending cycle of marketing-only tweets will actually propel your brand to new social media heights.

Actually, tweet less about your brand and more about the story behind your brand. Tweet about your employees, your customers and what’s going on inside your company.

Twitter is based on a conversation, so have one.

• Have a Voice (Better Make it a Passionate Voice)

Remember, your followers are more intuitive and sensitive than you think. If you’re tweeting because your job description tells you to and you treat it more like an annoyance rather than an opportunity, then you’re going to lose your followers.Fast.

Put some passion into what you’re tweeting. If you’re excited about your company and it shows, then your followers will be, too.

Excitement and passion are some of the most important fuels that feeds social media.

• Create a Trend

Or, more specifically, create a hashtag (#) trend that relates to your brand, but don’t make the hashtag your brand. Let’s put it another way. Let’s pretend that you are Ford and you’re launching a brand new car in the spring. You could create #MyFirstFordWas or #IloveMyFordBecause. This sort of hashtag will generate more response and marketing power than one that’s just #Ford. With any hashtag, think action, fill-in-the-blanks or anything that requires engagement.

Have you tried either of these ideas? Was it a success? Let us know.

Need a hand managing your daily tweets? Check out SimplyCast’s free twitter marketing tool.

Own a small business and wondering how to use Twitter Marketing to generate leads and grow sales? Use the following tactics:

• Freebies

Drive customers to purchase from your website or physical location with giveaways. As always, do the math beforehand to ensure that you’ll be able to handle the potential loss or the insane influx of customers. Better yet, tie the freebie to a purchase, like, for every $50 spent, you’ll get a trial size version of your most popular products. And, you’d better be well stocked!

• Lean on friends

Ask your family and friends to tweet honest opinions, thoughts and experiences about your business and products. That’s how any word-of-mouth campaign begins. If your friends aren’t going to support you, then who will?

• “Check-in”

Encourage customers to tweet that they’re at your store. Not only does it show how busy and popular you are, it makes your store the place to be. Offer customers a coupon or a free (small) gift for doing this.

• Donate

Ask your customers and followers to retweet your latest promotions. If you reach, say, 100 retweets, you’ll donate a portion of the promotion’s sales to a local charity. You’ll be reaching a ridiculous number of people in a very short period of time. For example, if each person who retweets your promotion has just 10 followers, then you’ll reach 1,000 new people. Awesome, right?

• Make it friendly

Tweet photos and videos of you and your staff hard at work. The sillier, the better, (increasing your chances of going viral). Put a face and a name to those who work for you. Customers like businesses that are more focused on people rather than sales.

Once you have all of these tactics in place, add a little automation to your game plan.

SimplyCast provides a 100% free Twitter marketing automation tool to help you post and manage your daily tweets.

Increasing followers for free is an honest and organic approach. It sets the tone for your entire Twitter presence. Especially for businesses, people will trust you more, than, say, a company that acts like a Twitter spammer.

And, yes, it may take you some time to get to the level of followers that you’d like, but you’ll have great followers because of it.

Quality of followers is always better than quantity, regardless of what the celebrities do.

The most important way to gain new followers for free is to write great tweets.

Great tweets always consist of well-written, thought-provoking and relevant content to your followers. And, don’t forget to spell-check!

But, here are some other fantastic tips to get you started:

• Tweet the way you want to be tweeted

Respect and congeniality rule the Twitterverse, not smarminess or rudeness. If someone is being disrespectful, try to diffuse the situation or ignore it outright. Tweeters typically don’t put up with bullying or grandstanding.

• Follow trending topics

Add to the conversation. Look for topics that pertain to your industry, company and products, and add your own unique insight. For extra oomph, include a link to a blog or article from your website.

• Start your own trending topic

Create a buzzworthy hashtag and watch it go viral. If you make custom bikes, then consider starting a hashtag trend like, #WhenILearnedtoRideaBike. The Twitterverse loves to contribute to those. Look at #FirstFriday (#FF), if you’re not convinced.

Need a hand with your follower growth? Maybe it is time to add a sprinkle of Twitter automation to the mix. We recommend you don’t go 100% automated but a tool can certainly help a small team create a big following.

•    Tweet company press releases

Whatever’s going on inside the walls of your business – unless, of course, it’s top-secret – is great fodder for Twitter. Try to Tweet fuzzier, heart-warming press releases than those that may be more technical. Happy news – such as how your product changed a family’s life – is read, commented on and reTweeted more often than non-fuzzy news.

•    Tease customers with almost-released new products

This tactic works especially well with an upcoming holiday or a highly anticipated product (think the iPhone). Perhaps you release a new product feature every week or what the initial price will be. Twitter is a fantastic tool at creating buzz, and buzz is what every marketer wants.

•    Tweet short profiles about company staff

Customers love to learn about the people behind their favorite products. They want to learn about the people in your company. Too many companies on Twitter are more focused on selling that they miss how much of a sales impact a little humanizing does.

•    Link to customer testimonials on your website

People trust other people. People trust people they’ve never met more than they trust the company that’s pushing them to buy their latest product. Let your customers to the selling for you.

•    Tweet reviews and articles about your company products

Link, with minimal commenting, articles and product reviews. Even better, try to link to reviews by trusted consumer agencies and websites. Essentially, you’re not saying how fantastic your products are, someone else is.

•    Tweet Twitter-exclusive promotional codes, sales and giveaways

This technique is virtually foolproof: not only will your chances of your promotion going viral, you’ll gain new followers just because they want the inside scoop on your next deal.

Want a hand automating your Tweets? Sign up to use SimplyCast’s free Twitter marketing tool. It is easy to use, brings in the results you want and like we said, it costs nothing to use.

Sign up for Twitter marketing today.