Communication is a key component in every moment of a PR pro’s day. That means knowing not only a multitude of words, but also the right way to use them to make our press releases, pitches and social media outreach concise and effective. Delivering your client’s message in as few words as possible in a news release is a struggle that every public relations pro faces regularly. However, an even larger challenge is limiting our communication not just by word count, but by character count.

Twitter is a great platform used by individuals and businesses alike, but it can be challenging to come up with a way to create tweets that are relevant, interesting and carry substance. Working at one of Indianapolis’ top PR agencies, I’m often tasked with running social media campaigns for various clients. All too often, we come across Twitter accounts that are lacking or being used inefficiently.  With social media being a key ingredient in the majority of successful communication strategies, it’s our job to make sure our clients’ accounts don’t fail.

When using Twitter for your business, here are six great tips to keep in mind.

  1. Define your purpose and goals. Twitter isn’t just a way to drive people to your website; it’s about the creation of interactions between people and organizations. Before creating your client’s account, discuss how Twitter will be used to achieve those goals.
  2. Create links to your website or blog. It is okay to let people know where to find out more information about your client or to share links showcasing a recent award or media coverage, just be sure to go easy on tooting your own horn. Again, Twitter isn’t about me, me, me (at least not for companies which want effectively engage with their followers!); it’s about using social media to interact with others and form beneficial relationships.
  3. Keep up with the buzz in your industry. Don’t just post about what your company is doing, ask questions and interact with others within the industry. Twitter is great for getting opinions about new technology, products and ideas, remembering too, that it’s an open market.
  4. Network with like-minded people. By following people with similar thoughts and passions, there’s a good chance you’ll find a way to create even more connections with those who follow that person. Make sure to engage your followers and those you follow by commenting on their tweets or retweeting what others have posted. Get other tweeps to notice you. If you build contacts, you potentially have the opportunity to build revenue for your company as well.
  5. Show some personality! This is the perfect opportunity to cultivate your client’s voice. Yes you are limited to 140 characters, but that doesn’t mean that all tweets have to be matter-of-fact statements. Speak freely and let humor come through from time to time; followers and those who aren’t following yet will notice and appreciate it. If your tweets are too boring or include too much jargon or promotional-speak, you will get unfollowed by many.
  6. Use #hashtags correctly. For those who don’t know Twitter speak, the # symbol is a hashtag, and is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. You can do searches for different topics, for example a simple search for #winning will yield you hundreds of tweets and very few will be from Charlie Sheen. Not every tweet needs to have hashtags, so remember to use them only on tweets relevant to the topic. Also, don’t use hashtags that are too generic or hashtags that can be related to something completely different than your client.

For example, MapMyFITNESS, an app that allows users to live healthy and active lifestyles by tracking their fitness, could use haghtags like #fitness or #mobileapp. The hashtag #map would be too broad.

To date, Twitter has more than 200 million users and is a valid and valuable platform to engage and interact with others. With the potential to reach anyone in the world with only 140 characters, it’s important to make sure the message you’re sending to followers is clear cut and easy to understand. Most importantly, make sure each tweet is representative of your brand and your company; handling a company account is not the time to discuss your personal life or what you had for breakfast.

When used correctly Twitter can build brand awareness, increase networks and boost revenue; it’s quite the powerful little bird.