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Twitter needs no introduction – we all know that together with Facebook it’s the social network that attracts most brands and marketers. Twitter can help your brand in many ways, but it’s an especially effective social media tool for building a large group of followers and driving quality traffic to your website or blog, when used properly, that is. Like all social media, Twitter requires that you invest time and effort into connecting with others.

Don’t let Twitter’s 140 character limitation deceive you into thinking that the network is easier to use for marketers than other networks. On the contrary, the character limitation can actually make it harder for you to master Twitter, because it doesn’t leave any room for filler content. Still, it is possible to create an effective Twitter marketing campaign even if you don’t have at your disposal a dedicated social media team, or the resources that big brands have. The step-by-step guide below will inspire you to get started.

Analyze your industry and competitors

This will help you 1) figure out what your audience wants and 2) what your competitors do with Twitter. Although it takes time, you should try to perform in-depth research to discover what people in your industry discuss on Twitter, which individuals or groups are influential, and what they have done to achieve their current status. Compare the profiles of your competitors, keep track of their follower growth, and identify the topics that attract people’s attention.

Decide what to focus on

Will your Tweets consist mostly of links to your blog posts and other social media content? Will they be shares, that is, links to interesting non-competitor pages and resources relevant to your industry? Or will they be attempts to directly interact with your audience, by asking questions that invite participation or answering questions asked by followers? Ideally, you will want to mix all of these.

Tweet regularly

Tweeting several times a day will make your Twitter campaign a lot more effective. Do remember, however, that posting too often can dilute the value of your tweets, and even make you look spammy. Tweets may be short and easy to post, but they must have value if you want to attract a large following. Make sure you prepare a list of tweets at least a day in advance. TwitterFeed is one of several services that enable you to schedule tweets. However, don’t let automation services replace your presence on Twitter – you have to be there, interacting with followers if you expect them to engage with your brand.

Stay fresh

While you can use Twitter to bring to light older content from your blog or website, most Twitter users are on the lookout for hot news and fresh content. For this reason, it’s important to focus on what is important now, and to try to tie that with what your brand is currently offering.

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