By Alvah Parker, Accredited Business Councilor, Score NE Mass

Much has been written about marketing using Twitter.  In my estimation Twitter is just one more networking tool to use in your marketing.  It can help you to widen your circle of network connections and help you to identify good contacts.  As with all networking it is then up to you to deepen the relationship.

The most important thing to remember is to have a strategy with Twitter.  It can be a huge time waster unless you know what you want to do and how much time is a good investment for you.

Used properly Twitter can help you in your marketing.  Here are 10 Ways it can help:

1. Twitter allows you to have a relationship with previously unknown people.  It doesn't replace marketing.  It is merely the first step in uncovering someone you might want to establish a face-to-face (or phone) relationship with.  Have a Twitter strategy that fits your over-all marketing plan.

2. Twitter allows you to stay connected with contacts by sending Tweets with links to articles and information that shows you are an expert in your field.

3. Twitter forces you to be brief by limiting you to 140 characters.  Can you give your value proposition that succinctly?  With Twitter less is more.

4. Start by giving value without requiring anything in return. Overt selling is frowned upon.   Business Owners can send a link to an article or blog on topic of interest to their target market.  In networking you give to get.  Twitter is just another tool.

5. Search for people who can help you in some way. Think about your target market, potential joint venture opportunities or complimentary knowledge expertise and begin to follow people who are stars in those areas.  Learn their interests, priorities and concerns.  Use the retweet (RT) feature when they say something memorable.

6. Send a direct message to a star in your field.  Use the @ symbol and their Twitter name. Find a way to attract their attention so that they respond to you.  The goal is conversation and connection. There are two kinds of direct messages. If you use @ and their Twitter name everyone who follows you sees it.  Use the direct message feature for a private direct message.

7. Use the key words you added in your profile and posts so that like-minded people will find you through a search.  Think about who you want to connect with and what words they might use to search for you.

8. Set up alerts using  You'll get an email when your name is mentioned or any of your key words.

9. TweetDeck ( is useful in organizing your Tweets.  It allows you to simultaneously see the Tweets of all those you are following, your direct messages and your searches.  You can also set it up to see the messages from your Facebook friends in a separate column.

10. Twitter is a great place to show your expertise.  Offer articles and comments to demonstrate your knowledge.