There are 284 million users currently active on Twitter, so it’s likely you have an account for your business or brand. However, you may not be making the most of its potential.

As a business user, there are things you can do to increase your online influence, raise brand awareness, connect with potential consumers and direct more traffic to your page.

1. Tweets with pictures are more likely to be re-tweeted

A photo can say a lot more than 140 characters! A study by Dan Zarrella at HubSpot proved that tweets including (indicating they have an image attachment) were a huge 94% more likely to be re-tweeted – almost doubling your chances of exposure.

2. Hashtags can be effective as long as they’re not overused

Adding a new, attention-grabbing hashtag, perhaps in a witty or humorous manner, can encourage people to retweet it, however, people won’t RT a tweet consisting of too many hashtags and no real information. Include just one, along with an interesting update to keep followers engaged without being overwhelming.

3. Keep your profile up to date and accurate

Your online presence is your chance to show the world who you are as a company. Making sure your profile is filled effectively with your brand name, website and details will ensure you look professional and reliable both on and off-line.

4. Write for your target market and post content they would find interesting

Chances are, your followers followed you because they are interested in your brand or industry. Tweeting irrelevant information that you find interesting may not appeal to them and you could lose followers as a result. Keep your business account on-topic and give people the updates they signed up to see.

5. Engage with your followers

By replying to your followers and actively discussing industry news and events, your fans will see you as friendly, reliable and socially aware, making them likely to consider using your service. It’ll also keep them engaged and less likely to unfollow.

6. Use a DM campaign to reach out to the market and advertise your services

A DM (direct message) campaign will appear in users’ inboxes. There are tools, such as SocialBro’s DM marketing tool that will help you direct your messages to a targeted audience who are likely to have an interest in your business.

7. Follow accounts relating to your industry and take part in their discussions

By following users and businesses who focus on similar topics, you can join in discussions with like-minded people, enhancing your visibility on the site. Their followers will see you and may consider following, due to shared interests.

8. Be original

By tweeting original content, you’ll become known for being innovative, creative and the first to post exciting industry information, making you the first port of call for followers who want to stay in the loop. Your followers will know if your content has been posted elsewhere and may unfollow in favour of those who are more current.

9. Tweet regularly

Consistency is key, and your followers will enjoy seeing regular, informative tweets on their feed. Seeing your tweets will often remind them who you are and what your business does, making them likely to remember you if they require your services in the future.

10. Drive sales by offering Twitter-exclusive discounts

Posting discounts or offers on your Twitter page will direct followers to your site, increasing the likelihood of turning their interest into a sale.

By putting in the extra effort, Twitter can be a useful marketing tool, so don’t let it go to waste!