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Twitter's Not Just for Teens and Millennials

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Get in on the conversation

As you scan through your Twitter feed, you're likely to bump into a number of surprising tweets in your quest for worthwhile content to share with your audience. It is one of the most popular social media outlets, after all, and this app has collected people from all walks of life. Even though you might have intended your Twitter feed to be another source of news, adding only The New York Times and Time magazine to your feed, the temptation to add a celebrity to your queue can sometimes feel overwhelming. What's Pink up to when she isn't dangling from silks at the Grammys? Does Martha Stewart bake all the time?

Fortunately, there's no harm in this. In fact, if your brand is using Twitter, you're demonstrating that you, too, are human, capable of making mistakes and participating in a vast community of individuals who run the gamut of fame. If you're unsure about how using Twitter can grow your small business, take a look at the ideas below for a little tweet-rrific advice:

Show that your human

As was noted above, there's no harm in showing off a little humanity with Twitter. Because of its community setting, a tweeted response to a consumer's question is perfectly normal. In fact, people have to come expect that if they're lucky (or persistent enough), they'll receive the attention of their peers in the form of a retweet, a favorited star or a real response, not something automated and lifeless. As a small business owner, you're in a good position to speak directly to your customers and to allow your brand to take on a realistic voice. Did you have a successful company party recently? Go ahead and post an appropriate picture or two. Your followers will eat it up.

Set a few boundaries and stick to them

Perhaps as a caveat to the above note, it's important to know when you might be stretching the limitations of your followers' attention spans. Or worse, if your brand isn't necessarily set up to be as free-form as Twitter might allow, you could risk alienating loyal followers. In this instance, all it really takes is a little common sense. Would you get in trouble with your biggest fans if you tweeted about an event from last weekend? Will you risk boring people if you post a picture of your breakfast bagel and coffee? The more you interact with your audience, the better you will get to know them and what they're interested in.

Take mistakes in stride

Remember that accidents happen. Typos, errors in grammar and formatting are all commonplace in the world of Twitter, and these warning points shouldn't stop you from engaging with your audience. The more you think of Twitter as a relationship, and not just a means of promoting your products or services, the more success you'll have in captivating and growing your audience. Think of how many times you had to speak to an automated answering or customer service system recently and how much you disliked it. While efficiency might have been the purpose, it just doesn't have the same impact. A real-life person making common human errors, however, is more memorable and always more comfortable to respond to than a robot.

If you start tweeting, don't stop

If you set a Twitter precedent of sending one or two tweets out per day, try not to lapse from this schedule. There's nothing more bothersome than relying on something only to have it suddenly change. Give your followers something they can count on. If you're feeling stretched for content or just can't decide how to phrase something in just 140 characters, give it a moment and then go with your gut. Making a simple, harmless mistake is much less dangerous than becoming an unreliable brand.

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