Did you know that if someone follows your business on Twitter they are far more likely to make a purchase? I bet that got your attention! If you’re not currently using Twitter as a marketing tool, you’re missing out. That’s the good news. The even better news is that Twitter is free.

Twitter is a zero-cost marketing tool that businesses can easily take advantage of in just a few minutes a day. You used to be relegated to only 140 characters per tweet, which was tough, but now you have 280 characters to craft your message.

Here are some tips to get you tweeting away.

Hashtags: Use them. Hashtags are a way people search for topics or trending news and using specific hashtags can really help your tweets stand out from the crowd, like #SmallBusiness and #Mainemade. If you’re creating a hashtag for your business, check to see what has worked for your competitors, edit yours if necessary and then stick with it – it won’t turn into a sensation overnight.

Branding: One of the best uses for Twitter is to build your company’s brand.

Here is recent tweet from @JetBlue that is great branding for the airline. They are using the #HurricaneFlorence hashtag, which was a top trending hashtag for that day, meaning that people were searching for it and using it frequently. They are capitalizing on the powerful hashtag to highlight that they are a helpful and compassionate airline in a time of need for people effected by the storm.

JetBlue Tweet

And look at their customers comments:

JetBlue Tweet comments

This is powerful brand strengthening from one simple tweet. Highlighting your company’s values by tweeting is a great way to build brand loyalty.

SEO: Don’t miss out on the search engine opportunities with Twitter. Google indexes tweets and your Twitter feed might show up in searches so be sure to think about SEO when drafting your tweet.

Share news: Be sure to share company news or new products. People follow brands they like because they want to know what’s new and exciting. Use your tweet to encourage people to be the first to try your new beer or service or whatnot. People love sharing on their social media platforms that they are part of whatever is the newest thing happening.

Customer appreciation: Make sure you see who follows you and thank them – at least while you’re building up a substantial fanbase. When people tag your business in tweets, reply to the tweet with some love – people like to be appreciated and it’s great for brand building. You can create some Twitter-only customer incentives, too, like 5 percent off for a Twitter review.

Can’t make it to a conference? Join in the conversation: If your industry is hosting a major convention, trade show or festival but you can’t be there in person, Twitter is a great way to follow along by using the hashtag for the event. For example, a local brewery might want to know what is going on at the Great American Brew Festival. The hashtag #brewfestival was very popular and included information from speakers and vendors at the event. This would be great information for the local brewery to know or share by using Twitter (and it’s a lot less expensive than a flight to Denver and three or four nights in a hotel).

We hope these tips are helpful and remember to tweet at least a few times each week. Be sure to see what hashtags are trending so you don’t miss any opportunities or make any social media gaffs by not paying attention.