By Sherry Bonelli / Guest Column

Nearly one-third of the world uses social networks regularly. If your business isn’t actively involved in social media, you’re missing out. Chances are you’re on Facebook, but have you considered the importance of Twitter to your business?

Twitter now counts more than 68 million users in the United States, and is a great way to get short pieces of information about your business out to potential customers. But it’s not just about promoting your brand. Twitter is also for talking about what your customers are interested in.

What type of content should you write? Con­sider looking at what’s going on in your indus­try, share content from other sites, link to blog posts and videos, share others’ tweets and more. When promoting your own company, consider making tweets about your services, products, company news, employees, ways your compa­ny is giving back to the community, events and more. Twitter is a great way for your followers to get to know your business.

Just like any social media channel, follow the 80/20 rule – 80 percent of what you tweet should be general topics of interest to your au­dience, while no more than 20 percent should be about your company. If you only write about your company, potential customers will quick­ly lose interest in your feed and message. Writ­ing diverse tweets will also take the pressure off you to come up with 280 characters-worth of content on a regular basis.

When it comes to designing your Twitter page, make sure you select a profile picture, background image and biography that rep­resents your company professionally and accu­rately. Remember that quality counts, as your social media platforms may well be customers’ first or only exposure to your brand.

What else can Twitter do for you and your business? Here’s a sampling:

Drive traffic to your website: Use your tweets to link back to specific pages on your website or your blog. Driving traffic to your website will not only help with your SEO, but will also help people get to know about your business.

Answer questions: More and more custom­ers are using social media as a customer service line. Often, instead of contacting your compa­ny by calling or emailing, they will go to your social media channel, leave a message and ex­pect to receive an answer. So be sure to monitor Twitter for customer questions. You should also use Twitter to proactively tweet frequently asked questions (FAQs) by your customers.

Find new customers: Twitter is a great tool for finding new customers. When you strate­gically talk about your products or services, people who see your tweets may be more likely to use your business versus your competitors. Use your tweets to share customer testimonials, compare your products against a competing product, share product videos, blog posts or other pieces of content that build your brand.

Stay current: As a business, it’s crucial that you know what’s going on in your industry. Twitter is a great resource for learning about industry news and information. Not only will you learn valuable information, but you can also retweet that info to your followers, helping to establish your reputation as a thought leader.

Connect with influencers: Influencer mar­keting is a hot topic these days. Twitter allows you to easily connect with influential people in your industry. Follow these influencers, share their content and then tag them with the “@” sign in your tweets. These industry experts check for when their names are mentioned and will often retweet messages you send, earning you additional exposure and kudos.

If you don’t have a corporate Twitter ac­count, now is the time to start thinking about setting one up so you can start spreading the word and growing your business.

Sherry Bonelli, a digital marketer and presenter/speaker, is the owner of early bird digital marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency in Cedar Rapids. Reach her at http://earlybirddigitalmarketing.com.