Twitter_logo_blue-300x243 If You're in Business, it's Time to TweetThe most discussed topics on Twitter last year were #Sharknado (about a tornado of sharks), and the the #RoyalBaby.
However, the biggest story in 2013 for the social network in Canada wasn’t some pop-culture nonsense – (although that baby is very cute.) It was about how Twitter has proved to be an increasingly important business tool.
A recent report from BMO Financial Group shows 57% of small businesses in Canada now use social media, a 42% increase over the previous year.
Despite it’s non-serious reputation, social media stands as the most revolutionary business tool since the introduction of desk top computing. A study from research consultants McKinsey estimates that social media stands to unlock a collective $1.3-trillion in value for businesses through increased productivity and improved customer focus. More and more business owners are using social networks to track sentiment about their company and their competitors, to recruit top employees and to sell their products and services.
But above all is the effect it’s having on the customer.

Social customer service: The ability of customers to air their dirty laundry to the world via Twitter and Facebook — instead of waiting patiently on clogged phone lines — has shifted the balance of power in the customer service game. A recent Nielsen survey shows more than half of all customers now turn to social media for redress; meanwhile, some 81% of Twitter users expect a same-day response to questions and complaints. With such potent tools in customers’ arsenal, expect to see companies shift resources to social media support in 2014. The upside: significant cost savings compared with traditional support. 

So, Twitter had more than 232 million active monthly users. That’s a rather significant audience and taking these simple steps will make your business. Here’s 10 easy to do tips to get you on your way to Twitter super-stardom:

1. Optimize your Twitter bio. Your bio tells people who you are and includes a link to your company website or a landing page that maintains a consistent tone so people clearly understand who you are and what you do.”

2. Find out who the industry influencers and experts are in your target area(s) and interact with them on a regular basis. Use Twitter search or a tool like Topsy to find prospects, customers and influencers/media by searching keywords that relate to your industry. Then follow and interact with them on a regular (daily) basis.

3. Get colleagues involved. If you’re “new” you’ll need a helping hand on getting the word out. Task co-workers to retweet and favourite your tweets.

4. Tweet regularly. Daily postings keep your feed top of mind. Just be sure you are tweeting relevant or useful information, content your followers will read, click on, retweet and/or favourite. Remember – Twitter isn’t about promotion, it’s about information.

5. Retweet. Your influencers love to be loved. Use their expertise to enhance your thought leadership.

6. Follow and use hashtags. the humble “#” is an excellent way to you to catch up on trends and industry news, and publishing using industry related hashtags gains you visibility.

7. Offer discounts or special deals to you Twitter followers.

8. Use images and videos. Rich media receives more views, clicks and shares than plain text tweets.

9. Twitter must be integrated with your other marketing efforts. Promotions and contest need eyeballs to work, and an engaged Twitter following bumps up the visibility.

10. Use Twitter analytics. The analytics dashboard tells you what your best days to tweet are, the types of content that are more favored and the demographics of the followers that you’re attracting.

The new reality of business is to provide access to your customer base. One in three consumers prefer using social media to contact companies. If you don’t have a Twitter account, and use it effectively, you’re shutting out 1/3 of your clients. or potential clients.
And that number will only grow.