If you haven’t heard by now Twitter is a microblogging social network and a great way drive qualified leads to your website. In addition to the obvious social media benefits (a topic for another blog post), our clients consistently witness referral rates upwards of 6% per month from Twitter! Moreover, we often see that these referrals on average view more pages and spend more time per visit than those coming from other sources. Leveraging Twitter’s demo and  geographics in a site tracking tool like Google Analytics, you can  effectively qualify each referral and do more of the type of tweets generating the desired behavior (e.g. read a blog post, download whitepaper, fill out contact form, buy products).

I will do a follow up post about Twitter ROI later but for now, here are some helpful tips on Twitter marketing you can start using today.

Tweet Best Practices

  • Schedule tweets several times every business day between 6am and 1pm. Statistically, this is the time most business people check Twitter.
  • Tweets should be something useful. Most people are looking for information. Repetition is okay but it should be paraphrased so not to look automated.
  • 1 in every 10 tweets can be promotional in nature. We want to encourage following and retweets. Too many promotional tweets too often and this won’t happen.
  • Use #hashtags relevant to the tweets or business (e.g. #tech or #business). Try to use them in the body text of your tweets to conserve on your 140 characters.
  • Try to keep tweets to 120 characters so people can easily retweet without truncating the original text.
  • If tweet is a call to action, be sure to add a shortlink back to the site (or source). In a pinch, can use services like bit.ly or ow.ly to shorten URLs.

Things to Tweet About

  • News about your business or organization, including your own success stories.
  • News from reliable sources like a partner’s blog.
  • News about your employees or staff (e.g. the company’s softball team wins).
  • Retweets of anything that might interesting to your followers.
  • TwitPic and TwitVid (or YouTube or eHow or HowCast).
  • Special offers just for Twitter followers (get more followers).

To manage Twitter as well as all your other social channels from the comfort of your desktop or mobile device, I recommend either TweetDeck or  Hootsuite. Both are free, easy to learn, and easy to use. Great for organizing your tweets as well as your follows and followers.

Social media moves fast so would love to hear about your experiences with Twitter. What tweets have worked for you? Have a Twitter campaign going on right now you want to share?