Mastering the 140-character Twitter missive to promote your business is an adjustment in the way you think about writing and advertising and how the two go together. In this two-part Twitter series, we’ll talk about setting up Twitter for business, and then how to Tweet effectively.

As is always the case with advertising in any form, understanding the platform is a necessary starting place.

Understand the demographic. Where both Twitter and Facebook have loyal users in the 18-29 bracket, Twitter appeals more to urban-dwellers and minorities than Facebook, according to Pew Research Center.

Twitter is also becoming more popular. In fact, Twitter usage has almost doubled since November 2011. This is partly because Twitter is embedded in the Apple iOS5, making smartphone users particularly likely to be Twitter users as well. This also makes Twitter a bridge between your business and mobile users.

What does Twitter do? Essentially, Twitter is a place where you follow someone, which means their short messages are broadcast to your Twitter page. When someone follows you, your message, or “Tweet” lands on their page. Your Twitter experience is defined by whom you follow, not who follows you.

Using Twitter for business–building your nest

  1. Branding. Make sure that your Twitter page is branded with the logos, colored and pictures you use on your website and other business marketing materials. Visual recognition of your business is important.
  2. When you choose your username, make sure it’s easy to type on a smartphone. If your business is Doug’s Doughnuts, but that username is taken, don’t opt for d0ugz_d0ughnutz. This doesn’t match your actual branding, and though I used zeros in place of “O”s, it’s difficult to tell, nearly ensuring your customers and business contacts won’t be able to find you on Twitter.
  3. Use your business name for the account and more personal information for your profile page. This is especially good for small businesses where personalization can create powerful connections between businesses and people.
  4. Complete your Twitter profile. Don’t leave it half done. It makes me people wonder how invested you are in your business.
  5. Don’t forget the vitals—location, contact information, website and bio.
  6. Choose whom to follow wisely. If you’re going to use Twitter for business, make sure that those you follow are connected to your business in some way. Follow only those that are related to your business—your customers, your suppliers, vendors, competitors, professional organizations, etc. This is essential in maximizing Twitter for business purposes.

Avoid “aggressive following,” which can cause Twitter to suspend your account. Twitter has rules against “aggressive following,” which is the act of following a lot of people in a very short period of time. Sometimes, people do this in hopes that those they follow will follow them in return.

Twitter For Business: Setting Up Your Twitter Profile

Now that you’ve got your Twitter nest built, it’s time to Tweet.

Stay Tuned for Part II, coming Wednesday, May 29.