We work with several small businesses that use Twitter as part of their overall social media marketing mix. Some see a lot more website traffic and leads from Twitter than others. The businesses that get better results from Twitter do the following on a consistent basis:

1. They tweet multiple times per day, every day. Many companies tweet once a day or once a week and think that will be enough. Keep in mind that the average Twitter user follows over 100 people, and many people follow a lot more than that. Tweets can be going by a lightning speed. So, you have to keep getting the word out there to catch as many people as possible. Some stats indicate that 22 tweets per day is optimal.

Since most people don’t have the time to check in with Twitter multiple times per day and compose a witty or informative tweet every hour, there are several tools available that will help you keep your sanity. Bufferapp.com allows you to schedule out tweets during the day. So does hootsuite.com or a number of other sites.

2. They write tweets that are likely to be retweeted, are relevant to their target market and get people to their websites. They think to themselves, “Would I want to read this?” “Would I find this helpful, engaging, funny or interesting?” Every tweet should not be a selling tweet.

3. They check their interactions at least once per day. If you’re logged into Twitter, it’s that “@Connect” link up at the top that shows you who has mentioned you in a tweet or has followed you. A good rule of thumb is to check it in the morning and then again in the late afternoon or evening. That way, you can reply to people who have mentioned you within a few hours. You can also thank those who have taken the time to follow you.

4. They scan their Twitter feed at least once per day. Spend a few minutes scanning the tweets of those you follow and retweet ones you find interesting, ask and answer questions, watch for trends and news, and just “listen”.

5. They schedule in time to follow people and companies that might be interested in their products and services. This can be very time-consuming (we can help with this, by the way), but it is critical. Unless you are really well-known, you’ll usually only get followed by the people you follow. And, generally speaking, the only people who will see your tweets are those who follow you.

6. They track the number of clicks they get on the links they tweet. Probably the most popular link shortener and stats service is bitly. Copy and paste a long link into bitly and voila! they will shorten it and keep track of how many people actually clicked on it. Over time, you can see the types of articles and web pages that get the most engagement and adjust accordingly.

7. They use hashtags in their tweets. Help your audience quickly scan for topics that they want to read. Put hashtags in your tweets to attract attention, categorize your tweet and make it more searchable. Check out hashtags.org to find popular hashtags and even see what time of day hashtags are used most often. For instance, if you provide accounting and payroll services, you could include #payroll, #accounting, #taxes, etc., in your tweets if you are talking about one of those topics or if you are promoting your services.

8. They promote others. Chances are you’ve been in a networking group at one time or another. Did the members make a commitment, however informally, to promote the services of the other members in the group? Companies that get the most out of Twitter don’t make it all about them. They actually interact with others and zero in on a few “power partners” that they can retweet, mention and connect with on other networks (maybe even on the phone or in person!).

This is not an exhaustive list of Twitter tips for small business, but you should start to see better results by doing what other successful businesses do.

If you have had success with Twitter, do you have other ideas to share?