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updated 2/18/2014 3:47:15 PM ET 2014-02-18T20:47:15

In his book Tweet Naked, online marketing expert and Social Media Firm  CEO Scott Levy provides the critical information entrepreneurs need to craft a social media strategy that will boost their brand and their business. In this edited excerpt, the author takes your Twitter skills to the next level by describing nine things you should be doing to up your Twitter game.

Do you want to be a rookie or a pro bowl veteran? The way you go about "tackling" your career is similar to being a rookie or a veteran. You can go through the day-to-day and remain average, or you can study, practice, train and try to find every possible advantage you can over your opponents.

For me, the following are simply things you must do to take part in everyday social media. To others, these might feel like advanced techniques and tactics that are at a higher knowledge level and maybe even desire level when it comes to doing social media. But if you want to elevate your game and get the most out of your investment (time and money) in social media, then take it to the next level with these nine tips and tricks.

1. Follow the leads. Twitter isn't just about your tweets; it's also a great source for information on your competition. But don't just follow your rivals--follow your rival's followers. This will give you fresh insight on how to broaden your own following and what those people are looking for. It may even show you what your competition is doing better than you. With a little tweet tweaking, you may be able to get those followers to convert to your own company.

2. Save the sales pitch. Don't get caught up in using Twitter as a selling tool. Instead, use it to increase customer loyalty and offer valuable information to your followers. Overmarketing will merely leave a sour taste in followers' mouths, and you may even end up losing them if their feed gets too clogged with too many promotions.

3. Keep it short. Posting links and content is a great thing, but Twitter users are all about brevity, so be sure to shorten your links by using a redirect service. http://bit.ly and http://is.gd are good ones to use, but there are other companies that offer additional services. Take a few minutes to do some research and find the best fit for your brand.

4. Reply with a period. Twitter filters allow users to only view replies if they are following each side of the conversation. But by starting off your reply with a period, the post won't start with @--it will instead be viewed as a separate tweet and will be seen by all of your followers. Breaking grammar rules never felt so good.

5. Lose a few characters. Yes, 140 characters is the technical limit on Twitter, but all the cool kids are now only tweeting with 125 or less. Short, punchy tweets will grab your followers' attention rather than getting lost in their feeds.

6. Twitter + & = ???. Lose the ampersand in both your profile and your tweets. Whatever the reason, Twitter doesn't display the "&" sign correctly, so save your followers the trouble of trying to figure out what it says and just spell out the word; it's worth the extra two characters.

7. Cross-post to Facebook. Kill two birds with one stone by connecting your Twitter feed to your Facebook account. Head to your Twitter profile settings, then go to the bottom of the page underneath your bio. It's an easy way to have your tweets post automatically to your Facebook feed.

8. A picture's worth a thousand tweets. I can't stress enough how important pictures are in any social media platform, and Twitter is no exception. Use Twitpic to share photos as part of your tweets. Snapping photos on the go? Download the Twitterrific app to your smartphone to post pictures when you're away from the computer.

9. Nobody likes a qwitter. Qwitter is a great tool that notifies you when someone unfollows you on Twitter and even goes so far as to suggest potential tweets that caused them to leave. There are both free and "pro" memberships available, depending on how often you want information and how detailed you'd like it.

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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