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Around 80% of people on Twitter browse through tweets on their mobile phones, so it’s important your tweets stand out.

More than half of Australian Twitter users want to see more from brands in the lead-up to Christmas, according to Twitter’s head of small business sales Emily Huo.  

Social media followers can be valuable customers and there are several things businesses can do in order to boost their reach.

For example, it’s important to use lots of images and keep hashtags to a minimum.

Here are five tips for getting the most out of Twitter.

 1. Keep your tweets short

Huo told SmartCompany one of the biggest misconceptions she finds with Twitter is brands thinking they have to write long, elaborate tweets.

“Whether you’re doing Twitter organically or thinking about Twitter for advertising, keep your tweets short and clean,” Huo says.

“People think they have to come up with an elaborative marketing strategy or be very creative, but the character limit is 140.”

Huo says the most popular tweets generally have between 80 and 120 characters.

2. Keep hashtags to a minimum

Huo says small businesses should also avoid using too many hashtags.

“A lot of people think because the hashtag started on Twitter, they need to put five hashtags on Twitter to make their tweets discoverable,” she says.

“But we have found businesses who limit their hashtags or at replies get far better engagement rates.”

“So keep your tweets short and clean and don’t include too many hashtags.”

3. Use images when you can

Around 80% of people on Twitter browse through tweets on their mobile phones, meaning it’s important your tweets stand out from the rest.

In particular, images help break up the slab of text. 

“Users want to see images and videos and so forth,” Huo says.

“If they have to do one more step to click on a mobile site, it’s not as engaging as seeing the image or video embedded in the native tweet. Focus on putting in some really great rich media.”

4. Don’t be afraid to spruik your products

Many businesses understandably believe their Twitter followers don’t want to be bombarded with special deals.

However, Huo points out that if someone has followed a business on Twitter, they’re interested in hearing what that business has to say.

“On Twitter, there is no special algorithm that applies to businesses [unlike Facebook],” she says.

“Regardless of whether or not someone pays for advertising, when someone follows you on Twitter they get 100% of that business’s tweets displayed in reverse chronological order. I think our audience wants to see those specials and deals.”

 5. Hand control of the account to a witty staff member

Fiona Stager, co-owner of Brisbane bookstore Avid Reader, says her business’s Twitter account has given the bookshop “a profile well beyond” its postcode.

Avid Reader’s account has more than 6000 followers and tweets book and publishing news, along with memes and jokes.

So what’s Stager’s advice for businesses wanting to get the most out of Twitter?

Give control of the account to a witty staff member who knows what works on social media.

“You can always tell when someone doing social media for a business has to go to someone higher up [to get a Tweet approved],” Stager says.

“But I trust the person who runs the Avid account holistically.

“If he had to go through every tweet with me, it would just clog stuff up. He’s got a deep sense of humour but is also deeply respectful.

“Employ the right person and let them go and do it.”

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