Like a handful of other social networking sites, Twitter has become one of the most useful sites for creating a following for your business. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and there is no limit to how far your marketing message can go. With the help of these tools, you can attract thousands of followers to your business, who then sign up to “follow” your messages and read what you have to say about your product or service. It’s the perfect complement for marketing your business right from your home or serviced office.

Tweetdeck: One of the most popular Twitter apps, this one combines a number of different social networking sites into one useful application. This allows you to spend less time networking, without losing out on any opportunities for marketing your business. The app allows for the organization of topics, groups and other aspects of your social marketing campaign.

Hootsuite: Sending out Tweets, 140-character messages, is how you make your virtual mark on Twitter. Tweeting consistently is important for grabbing and reaching an audience. However, it isn’t always convenient for business owners to Tweet as often as they’d like. With Hootsuite, you can pre-schedule your marketing messages so that they come out whenever you choose. The app is useful for times when you will be away from your business, and for keeping up regular Tweets even when you have other, more-pressing business concerns. However, it should not be relied on for all of your Tweets. Followers will expect you to engage them through Twitter, and Hootsuite doesn’t allow for back-and-forth engagement as well as some of the others.

Tweetbeep: Just like Google Alerts that you may already be using to track your brand online, Tweetbeep is used to track your brand on Twitter. The app tracks any Twitter messages that mention your business, your name, or any other parameters that you set up through the app. When the keywords are mentions, you receive an email about them. This allows you to stay on top of any rumors, customer complaints, or other issues about your business on Twitter. Being able to address issues that are discussed online is one of the best uses of Twitter for small business owners. With the proper handling of complaints and rumors, you can demonstrate your concern for customers and your easy availability to customers.

TwitScoop: Searching through Google may get you results from any time in the history of the Internet, but many businesses need to know what’s trending right now. Twitscoop makes it possible to find out just that, and to stay on top of the very latest trends in Twitter message topics. The results are displayed in real time.

Twithawk: Being about to Tweet at any time and to schedule Tweets is a useful way to keep your social presence felt, but it’s just the first step. With Twithawk, you can actually automate answers to questions that are being asked on Twitter. With this app, you can specify an answer to provide to those who Tweet certain questions. And with real-time answers coming to them, you can expect to see a heightened interest in your business from those asking the questions.

Courtney Ramirez

Research Analyst, Pacific Business Centers (rebranded as Pacific Workplaces)

Courtney’s research for Pacific Workplaces focuses on tracking emerging office space trends and best practices – with an emphasis on how they affect business operations, technology, and the future of work trends.