For many small businesses marketing your business through Twitter can seem like a lot of effort for very few tangible results. The unpredictable nature of the Twittersphere can be enough to put anyone off.

But the truth is you can leverage the benefits of Twitter quite easily and many businesses are finding that it is worth investing the time.  Take Dell, which recently announced that it had generated nearly $7 million in global product sales on the social media platform.

You may not be able to reach the same targets as the computer giant, but you could get a boost in customer interaction and with it a hike in sales.

Twitter itself is making a concerted effort to engage businesses – its guide for business is a fantastic source of information about advertising, other business services and a way to find out about any updates which might be of interest. But in the meantime…

Here are my top tips for making the most of Twitter:


Customise your platform

There are so many business which set up their profile on Twitter and don’t do anything to it. You must give it the injection of brand power that it needs.

By not using a suitable profile image and background you are telling people that you don’t care about Twitter and the chances of them following you are slim. Make your profile and background as personal to your business as possible – images of your team are a great way of doing this.


Give your tweets personality!

No one will want to follow your account if your tweets have the personality of a stone. Be chatty and engaging in your Twitter messaging and people are more likely to want to engage with you. Feel free to send pictures or videos of your staff and office. It will make your account more human and people will be able to relate to your brand easier.


Help and engage people

You should make sure that your Twitter action isn’t just a one way street – have conversations with people and talk to them as you would someone coming into your store or office. If you simply tweet about your products or services without ever talking to people directly you will miss you on a chance to build an army of loyal followers who will share your content and promote you to their followers.


Use Twitter cards to get the most out of your content

If you have social sharing buttons on your business site which encourage people to Tweet your content or products – you can add a piece of code to your pages which create expanded Tweets or ‘Cards” when people share on Twitter.

For example, if you have products and someone Tweets one, if you have added the product card code, their Tweet will appear with an image, the price and availability of the product.


Use hashtags to get your Tweets noticed

If you use a hashtag before a relevant keyword or phrase, your Tweets are more likely to get found by people. If the keyword is trending your Tweet will appear for people in trend maps or if someone searches that term your Tweet will appear. Most of your Tweets should contain hashtags unless you are having a conversation.