4 ways hashtags can build your brand on Twitter

This little symbol can provide a large return if used correctly and creatively

For entrepreneurs looking for inexpensive and efficient ways to build brand equity and attract new business online, participating in or creating a Twitter chat is the way to go.

Respected brands like Lexus, Ritz Carlton and Klout have all benefited from the value of a tweet chat, and there’s no reason why you should miss out on all the action.

Here are four different ways you can use a Twitter chat as a marketing tool for your business:

1. Customer service

If your customers gather online, Twitter can be a great vehicle to answer questions and immediately eliminate problems. Aside from answering the day-to-day inquiries, you can dedicate one or two hours per week to hosting a more intimate chat with customers and your organization’s senior leaders. Or, you could tweet about your business’ successful customer relations strategy using the #custserv hashtag.

2. Business development

Providing relevant insight and information in chats that relate to your industry is an easy way to turn your social media contacts into contracts. Similar to networking events, tweet chats provide a great platform to demonstrate your expertise to prospective clients.

3. Thought leadership

Hosting or appearing as a guest during a popular Twitter chat is the digital equivalent of giving a keynote presentation or appearing on a panel of industry experts. You have one hour or more to share your perspective about market trends or hot topics with the potential to attract an audience that wouldn’t normally attend annual conferences or workshops.

4. Breaking news

If you’re still in start-up mode, jumping into a chat for entrepreneurs (#entrepchat) is a great way to get support from peers and discover new resources or potential partners. Using a hashtag to break news for your small business is also a great technique if you don’t have the budget to hire a PR firm. You can simply invite journalists active on Twitter to be online while you’re making your announcement, and hope that it inspires them to follow up for a future story.

How are you using hashtags or Twitter to achieve your business goals?

Sakita Holley is president of House of Success, a New York based PR and brand management agency. She blogs at SakitaHolley.com, where this article originally ran.

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