Did you know, 400 million tweets are sent out per day!

Yeah, to say the least Twitter can be an overwhelming social media platform to tackle.

How do you use Twitter as an effective marketing tool with all of those other tweets out there?!

While it may seem impossible to get your 140 character messages seen, this list of best Twitter practices will help and act as a good guidelines for developing an effective Twitter marketing strategy.

  1. Follow relevant people.  Find brands inline with your brand identity and follow relevant suggestions from Twitter. Don’t just follow everyone Twitter suggests and every celebrity name with a blue check mark next to it.  This doesn’t make for a relevant community. Do some research, aka read tweeters profile before you just click “follow”
  2. Follow back relevant fans. If someone likes your brand and isn’t a spammer or has an inappropriate profile, follow that person back! They’ll be glad you did. Furthermore, start engaging with this fan and who knows, maybe they’ll be a future customer!
  3. Thank relevant followers for following you. Try not to go overboard on this and try not to make it the same message every time.  I like to mix it up with a message relevant to the person following me. This will delight your followers and nurture the relationship you’re starting to build with them. For example, recently a tequila company started following one of my clients.  This was how we thanked them:
    best twitter practices
  4. Keep your tweets between 120 and 130 characters.  While tweets can be up to 140 characters long, this length is ideal so that people can retweet and add a comment.
  5. Only use one to two hashtags per post. Don’t go overboard with the hashtag use.
  6. Don’t FORCE hashtags.   If your brand has nothing to do with the new Jay-Z album that’s all over Twitter, do not force the #MagnaCarta hashtag. One, it has nothing to do with your brand and, two, when you capitalize on these trending hashtags there is often so much being said about that topic that your tweet will just get buried.  That being said if a trending hashtag does fit your brand and is relevant to a message you want to send out, don’t avoid using it.  It will show that you know how to capitalize on trending topics RELEVANT to your brand.
  7. Use photos. Using photos on Twitter does get more engagement.  I like to use photos as the follow up to the text of the tweet.  Writing a tweet that intrigues the follower to click through to see the photo.
    best twitter practices
  8. Speaking of photos- try to direct upload photos.  This can be difficult because it means you can’t preschedule your photo tweets.  When you use a tool like Hootsuite or, if you link from Instagram, those photos are not going to show up on your profile. In order to get the photos to show up on your profile (see below) tweet photos directly from the Twitter platform.
    best twitter practices
  9. Be aware of what happens when you hit “reply.” Often times replying to a tweet can be a great way to engage and further delight followers.  However, if in that reply you have a message that you want to reach your entire audience you need to be clever in how you reply.  Only people who follow both the person being tweeted at and the tweeter can see a reply. Therefore instead of replying and saying “@JoeSmith Thanks for sharing. Since you liked that you may also be interested in this blog post.” You can compose a new tweet from scratch and say something like, “Thanks for sharing, @JoeSmith. Since you like that you may also be interested in this blog post.” That way you are still delighting your follower but other followers will see the extended message there as well.
  10. Timing is everything. Do several tests to find when your tweets get the most engagement. After you find the best time of the day for you to post, try to schedule posts for that time. Then, for additional live engagement, go on and respond/ retweet during those times.  Generally I’ve found that 1pm to 3pm is an ideal traffic time. However, it may be different for everyone, so test, test, test!
  11. Linking. When using links, it’s best to put a link towards the beginning of a tweet. Furthermore, make sure you are using a shortened link.  Hootsuite has a builtin link shortening tool, but if you don’t use Hootsuite, bitly.com is a great tool.
  12. Optimize your profile. Make sure your profile is relevant and full of relevant links and/or hashtags.  Both will help in directing interested
  13. Engage. This last tip may be the most important. Make time for real engagement.  Favorite tweets you like and are relevant to your brand. Retweet tweets your followers will enjoy. Add realtime content.  The more of a human the better the more people will connect with your brand.

Twitter can be an intense and overwhelming platform to tackle. Abide by these best Twitter practices and you will find you have an effective Twitter marketing strategy on your hands.

What other Twitter tips would you add to this list?