7 Tips for Using Twitter Like a Pro

Twitter is one of the most powerful social media tools for entrepreneurs and businesses to utilize. It can deliver your brand's message quickly and directly to your specific audience.
10/10/2014 05:04 pm ET Updated Dec 10, 2014

Twitter is one of the most powerful social media tools for entrepreneurs and businesses to utilize. It can deliver your brand's message quickly and directly to your specific audience. However, if you're not familiar with the 140-character service, you may not be getting the most out of it.

If you're looking to wow your followers, and the Twitter community, then make sure that you give these seven tips a try.

1. Get The Most Out of Twitter Search
Perform a search in Twitter is not exactly the same as typing something into Google. As Ann Smarty explains on Search Engine Journal, Twitter "happens to be an open platform with live updates." This means there are several different ways to connect with Twitter users through keywords, hashtags and usernames.

If you want to navigate effectively through Twitter, you should understand the various search methods. Ann suggests you do the following with keyword searches, for example:
  • ["search phrase"] to define the exact match
  • ["search phrase1" OR "search phrase2"] to search for ONE of the words
  • ["search phrase1" -"search phrase2"] to exclude any word or any phrase from the search results (notice there is no space after -)
Connecting with the right people and topics is a major part of the Twitter experience. Make sure that you're not missing out by knowing how to perform properly perform Twitter searches.

2. Use The Right Photo Size
You don't want to look like an amateur, right? That's why you should make sure that your profile and header images fit the assigned dimensions. And, there's a handy infographic that can give you all the dimensions for the major social networks.

Since we're focused on Twitter, however, here are the recommended sizes:
  • Profile pictures: 81 x 81 pixels
  • Header images: 520 x 260 pixels.

3. Understand Hashtags
I briefly mentioned hashtags, and as you're probably aware, they're incredibly important. For example, the major search engines are including hashtags in their search results. More importantly, however, hashtags can be used to start conversations, share breaking news, promote an event, or be on top of the latest trends or news.

But, they have to be used with caution.

There have been brands who have tried to capitalize on hashtags without either understanding or caring what the hashtag meant - such as when Celeb Boutique used #Aurora. You also have to be aware of how the hashtag appears and if you're opening yourself up for criticism - McDonald's knows all about that.

4. Know When to Reach Your Audience
What's the point in tweeting if it's not going to reach your audience? That's why it's important for you to know when exactly the best times to tweet are. I tweet a lot for my personal brand. But what's the point if it's at the wrong time

did an outstanding job in sharing some fascinating statistics regarding Twitter activity throughout the day. Here are some of the most important findings:
  • Click-through-rates are highest on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
  • Retweets are the highest at around 5 pm
  • The best times to tweet are between Noon-1pm and 5pm-6pm.
5. Use Tools
In short, using tools can make you run your Twitter account more effectively and efficiently. And, here are some of the top tools that you should be using.
  • Tweriod - helps determine the best times for you to tweet.
  • Topsy - allows you to search for trending topics.
  • Twtrland - gives you the opportunity to enhance your Twitter visibility.
  • Followerwonk - a Twitter analytics tool.
  • tweetreach - allows you to see how how popular your tweets are.
  • HootSuite - a social media monitoring and scheduling tool.
  • Buffer - use to schedule out social media and scale
If you're looking for some awesome Twitter stats, I suggest you checking out Brent Csutoras post on
.

6. Keep it Short and Sweet
According to research by Dan Zarrella, the optimal length for a tweet is between 120-130 characters. If you really want to give your account a boost, make sure to include links and place them about one-quarter of the way through the tweet.

7. Run Contests
Just like any other social media platform, you want your followers to be active and engage with your brand. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by running a contest.

Ted Prodromou, author of the book "
," suggests that you do the following when running a Twitter contest:
  • Have a Defined Goal
  • Select Prizes Carefully
  • Track Your Campaign
If you run a contest correctly, you'll have no problems attracting visitors and keeping your current followers happy.

The Takeaway
Twitter is one of the most popular social media accounts, with more that 271 million monthly active users. Whether you are using Twitter for business or building your own personal brand, these tools and tips will help you get the most out of using Twitter.

Have you used any of these tips? Are there other tricks you use on Twitter?