Social media for small business brings a number of significant benefits and profitable opportunities. It quickly gained a lot of attention from a growing community, and it continues to attract even more users every day. Surprisingly, many small businesses don’t put their networking talents to use.

They may disregard it as a fad despite contradicting statistics, or they may not believe it’s a business-worthy activity. These aren’t the right assumptions, of course, and should you adopt them, you’ll miss a tremendous opportunity to brand your company on a worldwide basis at no cost. Here are some ways to make Twitter as valuable for your business as it is for everyone else’s.

Don’t Focus on Numbers

When people first start using Twitter, they easily become consumed with numbers: the number of followers, the number of tweets, the number of retweets, etc. The obsession over numbers has become so prevalent, in fact, some businesses participate in schemes designed to do little else than increase them. They may buy followers, for example, or purchase retweets.

While numbers and marketing strategies are important, at the start, it’s best to ignore them in favor of relationship building. Twitter is, after all, a networking medium, and it should be treated as an opportunity to meet people and make some important introductions rather than an opportunity to rack up values. This is what makes the network a rewarding experience for so many.

Learn What Twitter’s Trending Topics Are

The next thing that you’re going to want to do is figure out what all those Trending Topics are. Twitter uses an algorithm to identify trending topics: the most popular discussions taking place on the network. So when you see something like “#FathersDay” or “#WorldCup” displaying on the left side of Twitter’s interface, you can bet there are hundreds of thousands of people tweeting about them.

For the casual user, trending topics are fun and interesting. When advertising on social media for small business and Twitter, trending topics are little nuggets of marketing gold because at no cost, you learn what potential consumers are currently concerned with. Should your business offer something that’s related to a trending topic, you’ve got the perfect opportunity and reason to advertise at the site.

Learn How to Use Twitter’s Search Function

Before we go any further, we need to talk about one more area to study. That’s Twitter’s search function. If you’re familiar with using the Internet at all, then you already know how to search for stuff. Twitter’s search function works the same way every other website’s search function works. That means it’s a useful marketing research tool.

Visiting Twitter’s own search page, for example, reveals things like “#FathersDay” or “#WorldCup” as well. It displays any type of topic that’s spiking in volume and suggests the same opportunities and reasons to advertise at the site as above.

Always Use Hashtags in Your Own Tweets

Now it’s time to talk about hashtags. Without hashtags, Twitter’s trending topics would be hard to find. A hashtag is a simple word that summarizes a tweet. The summary word follows the pound sign (#), and when put together, both form the “hashtag.”

The value in placing hashtags in your own tweets is twofold. First, it lets readers quickly identify summarized topics. Second, if they’re inclined to do so, they may use your hashtag in their own tweet as a way to contribute to an ensuring conversation. Should any of their own followers want to participate, they’ll include the same hashtag in their own tweets, ultimately creating a fit of hashtag fury and promotion for your company’s message at the same time.

Most of the individuals who are engaged in social networking see and know its power to quickly disseminate information. One of the tools used to disseminate information is the hashtag we’ve been talking about. It’s a tool that’s absolutely necessary for reaching an interested audience among millions of readers, especially considering that more than a few websites import tweets from Twitter onto their own websites. That exposes the hashtag to even more, non-Twitter readers.

We expect that marketers will continue to exploit Twitter’s hashtags for years to come. So now is the time to start using some of your own and increasing the size of your audience.

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About the Author: Jennifer Mathews