What it is: A site that lets users post messages -- "tweets" -- of 140 characters or less.
Best business uses: Promoting events, news and specials; building your customer base by fostering conversations where you can show your expertise.
Who should use it: Owners with a few hours per week to read, send and search messages.
How to maximize your reach: Use the hashtag symbol (#) or the advanced search option to find questions that relate to your business and provide answers, said DiNardo. Doing so helps increase engagement with your audience and "plant[s] a seed for a relationship that can turn into a customer," he said. If readers trust your expertise, they're more likely to visit your website. And while Twitter is a great place to announce special deals and offers, phrase promotional Tweets conversationally: Your followers don't want to get slammed with ads.
How not to use it: Don't blindly retweet or set up automatic tweets. Carefully read articles before you retweet to be sure you're comfortable with the ideas your company will be conveying. Also, beware of the time sink factor: It's easy to lose hours going back and forth on Twitter.