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12 Ideas to Tweet About

by Melinda Emerson

Twitter is a very powerful way to build a social media brand, and one of the most common questions I get is, “So what should I tweet about?”

Here are four basic tips: find news articles helpful to your target audience, tweet other people’s stuff at a 4:1 ratio of your own, tweet your own helpful content, and send personal tweets so that people can get to know you on Twitter.

140 characters is a short and sweet way to communicate with your target market, network and get instant feedback. You can develop relationships and promote your events or your business, but keep in mind it takes seven contacts in social media to build trust, so go slowly. It’s important to avoid being seen as someone who just self promotes. Keep in mind that every tweet counts; no one cares what you had for breakfast, so don’t just tweet useless stuff.

Twitter is all about Give to Get. Most of your tweets should be helpful. Be sure to inject some personality, so that people can feel like they know you.

Here are 12 ideas for what to tweet:

1. Teach something: Highlight your area of expertise by teaching how to do something.

2. Ask for advice: The Twitterverse is great for quick responses. You can also ask questions that encourage responses.

3. Become a Twitter news source: Announce news from your industry and local news from the city where you do business.

4. Share good information: Develop a list of 10 sites or blogs that your followers would be interested in and share links regularly. Be sure to comment on the articles before retweeting them to get the link back to you.

5. Offer free advice: Use Twitter Search ( to find potential customers asking for advice in your area of expertise and then offer them help. This is a great way to build followers.

6. Create a Twitter list: Highlight awesome contributors in your industry. My post on 25 Business Women To Follow On Twitter is still a major link nine months after it was originally posted.

7. Book and product reviews: Tweet any reviews for books/products relevant to your target audience.

8. Give thanks: Be sure to thank anyone for mentioning you on Twitter or RT’ing your posts.

9. Quotes: Everyone loves to read a quick inspirational quote that makes them think or say me, too.

10. Market your latest offers: Market yourself but be careful about not to be saying “Buy my stuff” too much.

11. Give Twitter luv: ReTweet other people’s stuff. It’s a great way to widen your network, and build relationships with other professionals.

12. Be Personal: Post at least one personal Tweet every day. It will allow people to see that you are not just all about business. I have a five-year-old, and he gives me great material to tweet about.

My bottom line with Twitter: Be real, useful and helpful. Make sure you have a good picture and sharp Twitter bio that explains how someone can hire you. Remember the “give to get” principal. It’s not all about you. Your followers need to understand your thought leadership as well as whose stuff you like to read. Follow everyone who follows you, unless they have no photo, no description or have locked their Twitter account. It’s ok to repeat your tweets. I typically repeat new blog posts four times the first day of a new post.

Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as @SmallBizLady, is one of America’s leading small business experts. As CEO of MFE Consulting LLC, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Forbes Magazine recently named her one of the Top 20 women for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog Melinda is also the author of the national bestseller Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works. (Adams Media 2010)