Twitter is one of the most widely recognized and versatile social marketing tools appropriate for your personal branding efforts — as long as you know how to maximize its benefits.

Twitter isn’t just about tweeting popular information or conversing with associates. It is about networking with as many individuals as you can.

But, therein lies the question: how do you expand the visibility of your brand? Excessive tweeting and even posting valuable information or helpful links isn’t necessarily going to improve awareness. There are certain tools and techniques that need to be applied to make the most of your online Twitter existence.

Improve your following

One of the most powerful tools on Twitter is the hashtag (#). Ensure you use hashtags to grab the attention of others on special days like #FF (Follow Friday). This is a tool that allows you to recommend other Twitter accounts and mentionable brands.

It’s a great opportunity to improve your number of followers, and is likely to get you some recommendations as well. Remember, Twitter is a network that works well if you work with others. Competing will only hinder your efforts. Just be sure to leave room when making a recommendation so those you recommended can thank you or re-tweet it later (perhaps including it in their favorites).

Spark a conversation

When commenting on valuable content that has been tweeted, posted, or otherwise written, be sure your comment is thorough and self-explanatory. What made it valuable to your specific area of expertise? Don’t just recommend it; explain why it is your recommendation. You are working toward word-of-mouth marketing by recommending those that will return the favor — this will improve your visibility and expertise.

When re-tweeting, expand your material by adding in valuable commentary that can be linked back to you. Re-tweets are often limited to simply saying “what they said,” but it doesn’t benefit you as much as it could. Additionally, keep in mind that short URL’s should be used for the sake of space, plus it allows you to comment on it or clarify its purpose (be sure that you do so).

Mention to generate attention

Twitter feeds can be littered with a largely unorganized mess of conversations, which is why the @mention should be used to help clarify a conversation. It can be used in another way as well. Have you recently added new followers? Investigate them — what is it that they do? Brand? Professional experience? Application? Find something to initiate a conversation with them by @mentioning them as a recommendation, showing appreciation for the follow, or otherwise begin developing a stronger network with them.

As a helpful hint, when acknowledging an article, mention the author as well (using their twitter account). This is far more likely to get the author’s attention than simply mentioning or linking to their article.

Twitter has an array of tools, all of which must be used to maximize your networking experience. Be sure you make the most of your opportunity by mentioning, recommending and sharing others so they will share you too.

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