Twitter is a fantastic social media marketing tool. It is a powerful social platform to use to improve your brand awareness, increase your customer reach or to start a dialogue with industry influencers. And the best part, it’s free!

If you're new to the social network, or are unsure how to boost your engagement, the following tips can show you how to achieve results on Twitter.

Optimise your profile

Optimising your profile will make it easier for people/businesses to find you. There are simple steps you can take to optimise your Twitter profile; choose a username that is short (around 15 characters in length) and that is easy to remember, use the ‘bio’ section to explain to people what your business does and include frequently searched for keywords. And of course, include a link to your business in the website field. You always change this if you want to promote a certain product or service, and you can even include other URLs in your bio, however, be sure to keep them up to date and relevant.

Use the "pin" function

If you want to drive traffic to a specific page on your website, showcase a new product or tell people about a new blog post you have written, pinning a tweet to your page is the easiest way to do this.

Pinning a tweet means it will remain at the top of your Twitter page and won’t get lost in your feed as you post more tweets. Pinned tweets always work best when they include an image.

Build lists

Twitter lists are a very useful tool but are sadly underused by a lot of businesses. Twitter lists can help you gain more followers with little effort on your part. To start; create a list, give it a catchy name, make it public so people can see it and search for people to add to the list. For example, you can make a list of your customers, of those who inspire you, or perhaps of other local businesses.

Receiving a notification that you have been added to a list is like receiving a badge of honour. It tells that person that you value their content and views. In return, the individual/business you add to a list will be more willing to engage with you and follow you back.

Build secret lists

You can also create lists that aren't public, and these can be very effective at helping you keep an eye on your competition. There's nothing wrong with seeing what others in your field are doing and taking inspiration from them. Add your competitor’s Twitter profiles to a list and start scrolling through their feeds to see what they are tweeting about, to find out details on events they are holding or to see what new products they are launching. It's basically a way to monitor their social activity without having to follow them.

Connect with profiles that have clout

People that have a large Twitter following or are seen as industry experts are often referred to as ‘influencers’. Traditionally, influencers were celebrities who were paid to endorse a brand. There has been a shift away from this type of influencer and now ‘micro-influencers are becoming more trusted and respected.

This is great news for small businesses. If your business has a product or service that is unique, unusual or innovative, you can reach out to micro-influencers through Twitter and ask them to review it or if they'd be keen to work with you on promoting it. This is the perfect kind of content that you should share on Twitter!

Stream live video

In December 2016, Twitter introduced their new in-app live streaming service. Which allows you to stream a live video straight to your Twitter feed.

As a small business, you can use this tool to differentiate your business from other brands. For example, you can film yourself demonstrating your products or you can give people a ‘behind the scene’ glimpse of your business by interviewing your employees and letting them tell your followers what it is they do.

Using video content on your Twitter feed increases the engagement with your followers and gives your business ‘personality’ which ultimately makes you more memorable.

About the author

Emma Saldanha is a content creator here at Findmyshift. Emma has more than 10 years experience in content creation, marketing and PR. In between writing for Findmyshift, Emma writes marketing and branding advice for small to medium business on her blog, writtenbyems. Connect with Emma on Twitter and Facebook.