So, you’re ready for your very own Twitter account but still don’t grasp how it’s used? Maybe you’re one of the many ‘tweeples’ that already has a Twitter account, but can’t fathom what to write (tweet) about. Maybe your buddy/co-worker is giving you flak for having a Twitter account and you need some ammo to fight off his/her negative comments. Well, whatever the case, you’ve come to the right place.

Twitter is another social media outlet that let’s you communicate with others without all the extra applications to download, pictures to browse and tag, favorite music, books or tv shows to add, pages to keep up with and organize, or even ads to stare at… all for free! Twitter only allows you 140 characters to answer the question ‘What are you doing?’ Only 140 characters you ask? Below are 12 ways to use 140 characters to your advantage:

01. Networking: I used Twitter to find people attending an event I was about to take part in. I met lots of great people who I’d previously befriended on Twitter. I’ve also heard of people meeting (via Twitter) before an event to discuss sharing costs for hotel rooms, cabs, etc. Which brings me to my next point…

02. Get Conference/Event Updates: So you couldn’t make it to the latest conference for financial reasons, too much work, or whatever excuse? Hop on twitter and search for terms relating to the conference. If it’s the least bit techy of a conference, you will find tweets! #AEA #WordCampNOLA. My buddy even won a ticket worth $895 just for ‘re-tweeting’ a sentence!! Congrats @geoffthibeau

03. Communicating: Want to join in a conversation about a related industry? Twitter is just like talking on the phone… but with a stranger. Who says you can’t communicate with people you don’t already know?

04. Just Listening: You want real peoples views on a particular subject? Open up Twitter and search away. You can get as serious as religion and politics, or as casual as food and art – probably even simultaneously.

05. Just Jotting: Sure, it’s okay to talk about where you just ate (maybe even a review), that you’re going to the beach this weekend, or that your lawn needs to be cut – I’ve done it. Maybe you’re using Twitter as a mini-blog and that’s fine – just don’t be too mundane.

06. News: Whether it’s local or national, you can get news updates via Twitter in small enough chunks to entice a read (or not).

07. Being Resourceful: I use Twitter on many occasions before going to see a new movie. I’ll check the buzz of people who actually saw the movie (versus critics) and decide what I’m seeing that night. You could do this for restaurants too.

08. Buying/Selling Products/Services: Well it hasn’t sold yet (as of this writing), but we’re getting rid of a printer and I tweeted it on Twitter. Still hoping for a bite… Do you need a laser printer? I’ve seen mobile food units using Twitter to Tweet their location and menu specials as well.

09. Promotion (websites, blogs, folio updates): Twitter is a great way to promote your own blog, website or client updates. Don’t plug yourself too much though – you don’t want to look like a self-centered-tweeter.

10. Be a Resource: Maybe you can offer great info on a particular subject you’re passionate about? This is a great way to be a resource, help others in the process, and network even more.

11. Get Feedback: Surveys, Polls, Questions – if you have enough followers, you can get great feedback in a short amount of time.

12. Hire People: Have people spread the work via Twitter that you’re hiring a position. It’s easier than you think to find (via Someone can search for terms like ‘hire’, ‘job’, ‘graphic design’ within 50 miles of New Orleans and see who’s hiring!

So, how about you – how do you use Twitter? How would you like to use Twitter? What do you wish Twitter could do?

Ready to get started? Go sign up (for free) and get to Tweeting!

Further Reading:

Essential Guide to Using Twitter for Inspiration

Super Basics (setting up a Twitter account)

Some Don’ts of Twitter

Twitter for Marketing & PR (via Hubspot)