What is Twitter? Here is the Wikipedia definition:

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. While the service itself costs nothing to use, accessing it through SMS may incur phone service provider fees.

As a marketer, my advice is to be visible and active in social media and use it to leverage your visibility, leverage your offline marketing efforts, to connect with your audience or target market wherever they are (and they are indeed on one social media platform or another). So get involved, get interactive and get more business.

Here are some basic steps to get started:

1) Go to Twitter.com and click on sign up Go ahead and sign up and be sure to use your real name, a Twitter username that is either close to your real name, represents your brand/product/service in a simple and clear way. So ‘TheActionMaven’ or ‘John Doe’ is good, but ‘Act1234’ is not descriptive enough. This is important because once you start building your Twitter followers, you want to be recognizable and consistent across all your social media platforms.

2) Once you sign up, the next thing to do is to adjust your settings First, go to notifications and uncheck, ‘send an email when someone starts to follow me’ and ‘send an email when I get a Direct message’. Twitter is a fast-growing social media platform. It’s easier to find random people, celebrities or people doing business in your niche than it is to do the same thing on Facebook. And there are people on this platform that directly monetize Twitter with Affiliate marketing programs and the like. These people make it a part of their day to mass follow Twitter users. There are programs and software that are structured to do help them do just that. So once you are on Twitter, you will find people following you that you don’t know. These emails can be annoying because you can receive 20 and more unsolicited followers per day. That is alot of email to go through.

3) Profile Next is to customize your profile. As you know, Twitter is a micro-blogging platform. So Twitter updates and even your profile has to be kept under 140 characters. Write something descriptive about your business or your brand, maybe a mission statement. Try to make it sound results-oriented or solution-oriented so that as soon as someone in your niche sees it, they will say, ‘That’s just what I need!’ For instance, ‘Successful Jamaica Real Estate Sales Consultant committed to finding the best deals for my clients. I focus on a win/win solution for all.’

4) Website Include your website URL in your profile in the space allotted for Website or URL. This is important for branding and promotional purposes along with your profile. It is also helpful for your website page ranking, the factor that helps your website to get found on the search engines. To optimize your profile and help users to see your website easier, enter your website in the format, http://yourwebsite.com instead of http://www.yourwebsite.com Test the former to make sure it actually goes to your website when clicked.

5) Follow people in your niche There are many Twitter Directories out there. Do a Google search for Twitter Directories and then use one or two of them to find followers using your most popular keywords for your niche. You can also do a twitter search for #hashtags related to your niche and follow the people that are using them.

6) Set up automatic sharing on Twitter If you do article marketing, video marketing and if you have a blog, you can customize your settings to update your twitter status every time you update those networks.

7) Start getting interactive ReTweet, comment or share links with the people in your niche. Motivational quotes are very common and tend to get ReTweeted quite a bit. ReTweets and @ mentions are great for exposure to other people’s networks which helps to increase your followers.

8) Promote your Twitter Profile Include a link or note on your website, blog or other social networks inviting people to follow you on Twitter.

Twitter is a powerful micro-blogging social media tool that provides an avenue to build your brand and increase your virtual visibility. It’s fun, interactive, but can be time-consuming. Decide on a schedule for you or your company’s participation and then be consistent with it for optimum benefit.

Author's Bio: 

Stephanie Treasure is an Entrepreneur and Marketing Consultant with a passion for Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Personal Development and helping people. She is also a featured contributor in the Ebook 77 Success Traits (2009, Determine Your First Major Milestone) by Mark Foo.

You may pick up her FREE report called 5 Simple Online Business Ideas you can implement right now to supplement or replace your income at http://www.internetmarketing101.info.