With just 140 characters to work with, it’s somewhat surprising that Twitter has turned into such a marketing powerhouse. Yet, the fast-paced network has firmly solidified itself as an integral addition to any successful B2B social media marketing strategy.

Much of Twitter’s appeal lies in the direct connection it allows between your firm and your target audience. It creates real time engagement that encourages conversation and promotes accessibility. Since tweets naturally demand a “short and sweet” approach, there’s no room for frivolous language or explanation – Twitter makes its users get right to the point.

However, the unique tweeting format can occasionally pose a problem for branding consistency. As with all of your firm’s social media accounts, it’s important that your Twitter feed and activity continues to accurately reflect your brand. Everything you tweet, retweet, respond to, or follow should only serve to further your branding.

If you’re new to Twitter marketing, it can seem like a strange new world. But don’t worry, of all the most popular social media networks, Twitter is probably the most simple and straightforward. Just make sure to follow these few best practices for interacting with your loyal followers.

8 Twitter Marketing Best Practices

1. Follow the 80/20 Rule

If your Twitterfeed is overly promotional and doesn’t make an effort to connect with your target audience, you may have trouble retaining followers. Instead, follow the 80/20 rule: for every 10 tweets, at least eight of them should avoid being overtly promotional. Similarly to your blog content, your tweets should primarily seek to help, educate, and inform – not sell.

2. Share Relevant Content

Even though your firm’s Twitter account can be a great place to showcase the personality of your brand, it probably isn’t the right place to crowdsource recommendations on a new mechanic. The content you share on Twitter should be relevant to the interests of your target audience and shouldn’t detract from the overall message of your brand.

3. But Don’t Be Afraid to Have a Little Fun

That said, there is certainly room to showcase your company culture. Sharing pictures of your employees or behind the scenes tid-bits about firm events can be a great way to humanize your brand and make your followers feel like they know you better.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Benefits of Using Social Media Marketing for Business

4. Tweet Your Own Content

Twitter can be a great traffic source for your website and blog, so don’t forget to tweet links to your own content, especially when it is newly published. Some members of your target audience may only follow along with your blog through what they see on Twitter and failing to tweet out your own content could cause you to miss out on potential new readers.

5. Use Retweets and Favorites to Engage with Followers

We already mentioned how one of the biggest benefits of Twitter is the direct line of engagement it opens between your firm and your target audience. Take advantage of this easy access to show your followers that they are seen and heard. Retweet positive comments about your firm, favorite interactions and respond to direct inquiries when possible.

6. Use Hashtags

Since hashtags function as collecting links, they can be an extremely useful device for your marketing team. Use existing hashtags to follow industry trends or jump in on relevant conversations. Or, create your own hashtags to identify your content or enable your followers to participate in a Twitter discussion, webinar or event. Hashtags can also help your content more easily get found by aligning your firm with relevant industry search terms.  

7. Keep It Short and Sweet

Yes, Twitter’s 140 character limit ultimately makes this best practice a requirement, but try to keep your tweets well below the limit so others can easily retweet you without significant editing. Under 120 characters is good, but closer to 100 characters is ideal. That way, your tweets will be more likely to be shared and viewed by a broader audience. Find out more about the ideal content length in this Fast Company article.

8. Use Twitter Cards

To make sure your content stands out visually from the rest of the tweets in your followers’ twitterfeed, you can use Twitter Cards. In addition to bringing more attention to your content, Twitter Cards can also improve your conversion rates since your followers can convert on an offer without having to leave Twitter. For instance, if you tweet about your latest ebook, you can include a Twitter Card that provides a “download now” link directly under your tweet.

When done well, Twitter marketing can be an effective method for engaging your audience and promoting thought leadership, while building interest in your services and driving traffic to your website. Your followers will appreciate having a direct line of communication where they can stay on top of your latest content and offers.

Twitter is also a great place to showcase your brand and give your target audience a peek into your company’s culture – just make sure you practice consistency and build a Twitter page that accurately represents your brand.  Combine that with our list of best practices and you’ll be ready to tweet your way to better social media marketing.  

Jump right in with social media marketing by downloading our free guide, The Social Media Guide for Professional Services.