Our September Content Roundup continues today with a discussion of best practices for your Twitter content strategy. This post assumes you’re already familiar with Twitter and have set up your business account. If you need a refresher of the terminology we’ll be using, here’s a helpful glossary of Twitter terms.

What began as a way for people to share thoughts, vent frustrations, and otherwise express themselves in 140 character fragments, has now become a powerful tool that can play a crucial role in any good content marketing strategy. In order to help you maximize Twitter’s potential, we’ll cover how best to share content, when to share it, and what you should be sharing. We will start, however, with why you’re tweeting your content in the first place.

Why. As with all the weapons in your content marketing arsenal, engagement is your main goal. Broadly, providing great, interesting, shareable content fosters good relationships with your customers and thought leaders in your industry. More specific benefits include brand exposure and social discovery. The more exposure your brand has on the internet, the more reliable and dynamic Google and other search engines perceive you to be, the higher your search rankings will be. Social discovery comes into play when one of your followers finds something you’ve shared to be worthy of re-tweeting to their network. The phenomenon of amplification occurs when their followers, who might not have been aware of your brand on their own, then click your name and begin following you – all because you supplied an engaging piece of content.

How. The first thing to do is find companies whose content strategy you admire, and follow them. Spend some time looking at their posting habits. Next, read this fantastic article on Buffer’s blog. There’s lots of great advice there for using Twitter, but here are some key takeaways:

– Treat your tweets like headlines. Spark your followers’ curiosity!

– Utilize hashtags. People frequently use hashtags (#) to search instead of keywords.

– Use words that inspire clicks, like “via,” “@,” “RT,” “Please,” and “Check”

– Put links toward the beginning of your tweet. Link first, explain later.

– Write tweets that are 120 to 130 characters long. You want to provide enough information to pique their interest.

When. The best time and day to post on Twitter? Whenever your followers will read it. Thanks to companies like bit.ly and SocialBro, you can monitor your account activity and find the optimal time for you. Mashable reports that according to bit.ly, a good time is usually between 1pm and 3pm ET, and earlier in the week is best. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be posting on Friday, but maybe save your best stuff for the following week. You will find the right pace as you go, but start by posting at least once per day. Stay engaged, but don’t bombard your followers with tweets. 

What. So what types of content are you supposed to be tweeting anyway? Let’s start with what you should NOT be tweeting. Self-promotion is widely accepted on websites, press releases, and direct marketing pieces, but it does not belong in your twitter feed. If you have a very exciting bit of news about your company – like a new product, new location, or an award you’ve just won – feel free to share that. After all, people clicked “follow” because they want to know what’s going on with you. But keep it to a minimum. Better ways to engage your followers include sharing photos and videos, links to articles they might be interested in, daily specials you have, or re-tweeted content from other Twitter users that your followers could use. Social media strategist Mark Collier’s advice is to “promote ‘helpful’ content as much as possible. Share content that educates, that solves problems.”

Are you currently using Twitter to grow your business? Tell us what has worked for you (and what hasn’t) in the comments below.

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