Eighty-three percent of Fortune 500 companies have Twitter accounts. Brands with the largest followers include Google, Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, Walt Disney, Verizon Communications, Coca-Cola, American Express and Nike. Do they need to work to increase their Twitter following? Of course they do. Otherwise other brands would be on top. As a small business, however, one needs to strategize and take smart steps to build your brand.

If you are wondering why you should bother having a page on Twitter, then consider the fact that these brands are on Twitter even though they are popular throughout the world. It is worth the effort of building your brand on Twitter, no matter how popular or unfamiliar your brand is.

Make sure you take a look at the checklist below before you start promoting your brand on Twitter:

Check the demographics of your audience. If your demographics are on the younger side of the population, then you need a Twitter presence. A recent study shows that Twitter is used most by people aged 18 to 24, while the second largest category of Twitter users are aged 30 to 49. The male and female Twitter user ratio is almost equal. Check your user demographics in Google Analytics under 'Audience', as shown below:

User Demographics on Google Analytics

Keep an eye on your competitors' Twitter strategy. If your competitors are good at building their social media audience, learn from their Twitter pages. Luckily you do not have to follow them to see their tweets, just look at the Twitter pages that your competitors follow and the pages that follow them. Go through these Twitter pages to see if there is anything you could do differently from them to woo your audience. Come up with ideas to set your brand apart from your competition on Twitter.

Choose an appropriate tool to schedule your Twitter updates. Tweeting a very intriguing update at a bad time means that your efforts are futile, as the majority of your audience will miss it. Here is a post that talks about how to time your tweets. If you are too busy to tweet manually, maintain your tweeting schedule with these social media management tools.

Now that you are all set to start your Twitter promotions, here are some tips to help you achieve maximum brand exposure on Twitter and earn customers.

1. Enhance your Twitter Page's Appearance:

Your brand is a reflection of your business ethics and your brand page appearance on Twitter contributes to this in many ways.

Quick Tips:

Customized Twitter Profile

2. Write a Compelling Twitter Bio:

If you want to gain followers on Twitter in order to grow your brand further, you need to convince people to follow you based on the content in your Twitter bio. The space is restricted to just 140 characters, so Twitter allows you to post a web link in your bio. You can post a link to your website, your blog page, an author bio page, or a custom Twitter landing page.

Quick Tips:

3. Know Your Followers:

Unless you know who your target audience is on Twitter, you cannot build a successful Twitter promotion strategy. So, here are a few tools that help you detect who your followers might be before you build your brand on Twitter.

Quick Tools:

4. Crafting Tweets:

You do not have to plan every tweet in advance but to kick start your Twitter promotion you will need a strategy to tweet certain messages in a certain way in order to garner follower attention.

Quick Tips:

Below is a sample screenshot of a retweet with @username.

A Sample @username Retweet

Handle Customers on Twitter

5. Use of Hashtags:

The use of hashtags (#) in tweets is equivalent to the use of keywords for SEO. The hashtagged keyword features you in search results for that particular tag. Take, for example, the hashtag #WooRank that brings in the following results:

Using Hashtags on Twitter

Hashtags have become so popular that they are being used in places other than Twitter, such as seminars, conferences, email signatures and so on.

Quick Tips:

Example of a Hashtag-Stuffed Tweet

6. Use Twitter for Sales:

You can offer incentives or prizes to your followers for retweeting or mentioning your brand on Twitter.

Quick Tips:

7. Twitter Contests:

Twitter contests happen every day. From small businesses to bigger brands, contests are held in every nook and cranny of Twitter business pages in return for retweets and brand mentions.

Quick Tips:

Example of Twitter Contest Requesting a Follow

These are some of the many ways you can promote your brand via Twitter. Having a prominent social presence and utilizing the various opportunities Twitter offers can bring valuable visibility to your brand, your services and your products. Let us know if you have any other creative ideas to promote your business on Twitter.