In the last few years, the exponential growth in Twitter users has been nothing short of amazing. It’s a popular social activity that is here to stay as the number of Twitter users continues to grow. Twitter has hit the mainstream, with your average Joe tweeting regularly, and many Mom and Dad businesses are hopping onto the Twitter bandwagon in search of more sales. In an age of short attention spans, the pull to stay connected with friends and acquaintances through the use of social networking tools, whether it be for business or pleasure, is here to stay.

So what’s Twitter got to do with anything if you are a business owner with a website?

It has become standard practice for businesses to create a Twitter profile – it is often one part of a multi pronged strategy in establishing a strong online presence. Twitter provides a communication platform for keeping in touch with people relevant to your business – in this case your prospects, your customers and your suppliers.

Twitter provides flexibility to spread the word as you go about your daily business. You can tell the whole world about new products that your business has launched, or just have a chat about whatever topic takes your fancy at the time. It’s a great way for getting the word out about your business, and opens up the ability to market your business to a whole new segment of prospective customers. It’s also a great way to learn about your prospects and customers, and do a spot of market research.

Here’s a quick run down on steps for setting up your Twitter account:

Select a Twitter Name

Create a Twitter profile that is appropriate for your business. When you sign up to Twitter, try to get a user name similar to your business name. If your preferred user name has already been taken, opt for a name along similar lines.

Twitter Profile

You will then want to add a link to your website and a short bio on your Twitter profile. You could also add a Twitter button to your website – this allows visitors who land on your website to have the option of following you on Twitter.

Search Facility

Use the search facility within Twitter to get a feel for the kinds of things that people might be searching for that are related to your business. For example, you might run a business that sells children’s toys. Hop onto Twitter and do a search on children’s toys, and see opportunities Twitter uncovers for you.

Find Some Followers

You will want to keep your Twitter profile on topic for your business. Get a feel for the landscape of Twitter for your market. You will soon find out whether any of your competitors are currently on Twitter – take a look at the kinds of followers that they have on their Twitter list. It is likely that you will attract a similar group of followers for your own business.

Learn the Lingo

As a Twitter user, try to keep your tone casual and learn the lingo of Twitter. As with any forms of socializing, you will need to understand the etiquette and rules that comes with tweeting. You don’t want to make silly mistakes with your business account that could affect your business reputation, so set up a personal account on Twitter first, and spend a little time learning about how to become a good Twitter citizen. Good luck with your tweeting!