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updated 4/1/2013 11:46:23 AM ET 2013-04-01T15:46:23

In his book " Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business," online marketing expert Ted Prodromou offers an easy-to-understand guide to using Twitter that will help small-business owners generate leads and connect with customers. In this edited excerpt, the author offers a number of Tweet ideas for entrepreneurs looking to develop a Twitter audience.

Tweets are like the subject lines of your emails. A good email subject line is usually less than 100 characters. Use the same thought process when sending a Tweet, and in no time, you'll get over your fear of Tweeting.

Keep your business Tweeting professional so you project a professional image. You want to make your business Tweets interesting and compelling so people will want to follow you and click on the links you add to your Tweets, but you don't want to offend people with unprofessional behavior.

If you're still stuck, here are some ideas to help you create Tweets that your followers will enjoy.

Related: 10 Things Entrepreneurs Should Be Tweeting About

Read other people's Tweets and copy what they're doing.
This is the easiest and most obvious thing to do. You can find people to follow using the # Discover tab in your Twitter account where you can find Twitter users in any category under the Browse Categories tab.

You can start by ReTweeting and adding your comments to the Tweet. When you ReTweet a business leader's Tweet, people subconsciously associate you with the person, adding to your credibility. If you continually ReTweet another expert's Tweets and add value, often that person will reach out to you and start ReTweeting your Tweets.

Tweet breaking news.
Twitter is the first place you find breaking news from around the world, whether it's related to politics, business, sports, or natural disasters. You can follow popular media outlets like @cnnbreak, @nytimes, or others, and ReTweet breaking events, or create new Tweets with links to their news items. You will be helping tell your Twitterverse about breaking news and people will know you're someone who keeps up with current events. You can also Tweet about breaking news in your industry, which will add to your credibility. Don't forget to add hashtags to your Tweets so people on Twitter who are not following you but monitoring hashtags will see your Tweets.

Be a curator.
We all read articles about our industry and profession on the internet. As you come across interesting or controversial news stories related to your business or industry, Tweet a link to that article. In the Tweet, tell your followers what you liked or disliked about the article. Adding your perspective adds value for your followers.

You don't have to Tweet only articles you agree with. When you disagree with an article, let your followers know so they see where you stand on the subject. Disagreeing in your Tweet can lead to stimulating Twitter conversations with your followers, and the conversation will often expand outside your Twitterverse, expanding your following.

Help requests. 
One of the most popular uses of Twitter is to reach out for support. Every day people Tweet to find solutions to their problems. You can monitor popular hashtags or keywords related to your products or your industry and help people when they have questions. When you reply to their Tweets to help them, people will see you're an expert in that area. You can send links to webpages that can solve their problem or make suggestions in your Tweets. 

You can also ask other Twitter users for help when you have a problem. You can Tweet something like, "Is anyone else having a problem with #Firefox crashing since the last update?" Notice how you can turn "Firefox" into a hashtag so nonfollowers will see the question and be able to reach out.

Related: 10 Tips for Using Twitter Like a Pro

Evaluations, reviews, and opinions of products or services.
When you're thinking about purchasing a product or service, you can use Twitter Search to see what others are saying about the product or service. You can join in the conversations by replying to their review of the product or ask them questions. When you purchase products or services, you can share your opinion with others on Twitter. Include a relevant hashtag so more Twitter users will see your review.

Promote your company.
You can Tweet links about your company. Some of the most popular topics people Tweet about are:

  • A new blog post
  • Client acquisitions
  • Press releases
  • Jobs available
  • Awards/recognition
  • Events you're hosting and/or attending
  • Discussions you're hosting on LinkedIn
  • Special offers, sales, or discounts

Be a connector.
Twitter can also be used for business networking. You can introduce one of your colleagues to another via an introduction on Twitter. This is very powerful because it shows your followers that you're well connected and are willing to introduce your followers to each other when it's appropriate.

A good time to make mass recommendations is on Fridays by adding either #FollowFriday or #FF to your Tweets. You Tweet a list of your followers that you would recommend to others so it goes out to the entire Twitterverse with the #FollowFriday hashtag, which is one of the most followed hashtags.

Related: Using Twitter for Sales and Marketing

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