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10 Twitter Experts’ Tips for New Businesses

Twitter is part art and part science. When used properly, it can give your company much-needed visibility in the market — and a potentially decisive edge over the competition.

On the other hand, Twitter has more than its share of pitfalls. If you’re new to the platform, it’s best to learn from those who’ve been using it — successfully — for longer. Start with these these 10 simple tips from 10 of the world’s top Twitter experts.

1. Ask Questions of Your Customers

This one is self-explanatory — the more you ask, the more your customers will respond.

2. Answer Your Customers’ Questions

Questions are a two-way street, so don’t be a shrinking violet. When your customers ask you something, answer it — no matter how challenging.

3. Follow Influencers

If you’re reading this, you probably look up to certain leaders in your industry. Find and follow them on Twitter, and make sure they know who you are.

4. Don’t Drone on About Yourself

By all means, use Twitter to announce product releases and company news. Just don’t turn it into a one-note infomercial for all things you.

“Your customers want solutions to their problems, not a nonstop advertisement for your products,” says George Otte, a Miami entrepreneur and seasoned Twitter expert. “Make your Twitter handle a resource, not a distraction.”

5. Be Helpful

Your Twitter account needs to provide actionable, concrete advice for its followers. No vague mumbo jumbo that doesn’t really say anything. If you’re not presenting new information on a reliable basis, you’re not going to hold your followers’ attention.

6. Don’t Buy Followers

In the immortal words of The Big Lebowski’s Walter Sobchak, “I can get you a toe, dude.” Buying Twitter followers isn’t quite as grisly or unethical, but the end result is nearly as distasteful. Resist the urge to take shortcuts to supersized Twitter fandom, especially by gaming the system in this way.

7. Use a Scheduling Tool

Tweeting whenever you feel like it is not a good strategy. First off, you probably don’t feel like tweeting very often, and when you do, you’re liable to do it in bursts. That’s a sure path to an erratic Twitter presence. Smooth your Twitter approach out by using a scheduling tool (Hootsuite works fine) to space your tweets throughout the day, from early morning to late afternoon.

8. Delegate Wisely

You probably don’t have time to properly research and curate your own tweets, at least if you’re doing them right. (See above.) But you shouldn’t delegate to someone who’s not qualified for the role. In other words: no interns. Hire a social media manager and make your Twitter presence something to be proud of.

9. Don’t Monopolize the Conversation

You’ll reach the limit to how much you should tweet long before you reach the limit to how much you can tweet. Put another way: Even if your Twitter account is the most amazing fount of knowledge since the Renaissance, it shouldn’t be the only account your followers see in their feeds. Limit yourself to no more than five tweets per day, unless you have a compelling reason to go beyond that number (trying to stay on top of your followers’ feeds doesn’t count) or face one-time extenuating circumstances that necessitate extra tweets.

10. Don’t Overuse Hashtags

Hashtags are effective organizational tools. However, they produce diminishing returns faster than many Twitter users think. Avoid using more than three hashtags per tweet, or you’re likely to turn off savvy followers who understand what you’re trying to do.