Twitter is a great tool. But when I’m delivering talks on social media, I always say that Twitter is about engagement, starting, building and maintaining relationships, and then leveraging those relationships. It isn’t about selling.

Often, however, I see Twitter users getting too bogged down in the detail, and forget the basics: the first 10 seconds, the “hello”. So I’ve compiled a quick list of the top 8 tips for using Twitter, and getting your to look again at how you could improve and optimise your Twitter time.

#1: Conversation lists

If you follow inspirational people, people who say intelligent things and challenge you to think differently, Twitter becomes a valuable tool.

Try creating a ‘conversation; list to focus on these people.

Include in this list:

  • Those who inspire you in business
  • Those who inspire you personally
  • Those who are fun to talk to and engage with

You can then easily view this list (and their Tweets) when you are looking for inspiration or encouragement during your day.

#2: Update your Twitter profile image

  • Make sure your logo fits into the square size.
  • Make sure your logo is readable especially if it contains words. One without words works best.
  • Try a headshot as people prefer interacting and engaging with real faces. People do business with people.

#3: Rewrite your Twitter bio

  • Tell people what you do succintly and quickly
  • Show some personality – try humour if you’re comfortable with it
  • Be passionate. This can come out in your bio, profile image and background image for your account
  • Do it again – once every three months to keep things fresh

#4: Publicise your Twitter account

Every piece of marketing material you send out should contact your Twitter account details. Consider:

  • Your website
  • Your email signature
  • Your email newsletter
  • Your business cards
  • Paperwork you give clients

#5: Make sure you are following your clients and key contacts

Connecting with your clients and key contacts on Twitter can be truly valuable.

Advertise your Twitter account to your clients (see point 4) so your clients can find you.

#6: Incentivise people using Twitter

Twitter can help drive real business and engagement.

For example:

  • A Twitter-only special. Offer a special deal (a discount) for everyone who knows the secret code you tweet out Tuesday at 5 pm.
  • Reward people who retweet you. Twitter is a great tool to drive traffic to your blog. Set up a contest or a reward for people who retweet your messages about your blog posts. You might give away an ebook, a seat at an upcoming webinar, a free 30-minute consultation or a product discount.
  • Organise a tweetup at your business. Set a date and time, offer refreshments and give people something fun to do or learn and they will come.

#7: Add photos to your tweets

Everyone loves pictures. Facebook posts using images are 10 times more likely to be read. Posts that are interacted with (liked, commented on, etc.) will be higher in the order of posts (Facebook only). But this shows that people love pictures!

Increase the attention your tweets get by posting your tweet with a image. More engagement means increased business and exposure. They don’t have to be professional, just honest!

#8: Expand the Twitter conversation to your blog

Try expanding the conversation you’ve had on Twitter over to you blog, and invite those people to engage with you there (there’s only so much you can say in 140 characters or less).

Additionally, Twitter now makes it easy for you to embed a tweet into a blog post so it looks like a tweet and has the same interactive features it has on Twitter. You can write a blog post around a tweet and your blog visitors can interact with you on Twitter through your blog.

Good luck, and get Tweeting!