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Fair to say Twitter has a pretty good audience with its 271 million active monthly users who collectively send out a billion tweets every two days.

As you might suspect, research shows that tapping into Twitter really helps to drive your business.

According to Twitter statistics
• 73 percent of users feel better about an SMB after following its account and reading its Tweets
• 60 percent of users who follow SMBs have purchased something because of Twitter

But not all tweets are created equal. 

To get the most out of Twitter, you’ve got to learn to tweet smart, said two Twitter managers, Anne Mercogliano, content marketing manager for SMB, and Russ Laraway, head of the SMB group, who spoke at Inbound 2014 this week.

Their presentation, Tweet Smarter: Unlock More Value from Twitter with Data-Driven Best Practices, offered some insights based on Twitter’s internal review of 190,000 promoted small-business tweets.

Based on that data they shared what works -- and what really doesn’t -- when it comes to Twitter advertising. Below are some of their top tips to get your tweets to sing.

Users Like Tiny Tweets

We know, you already have a brain cramp from trying to jam a meaningful message into 140 characters, but drop your tweet to less than 120 and engagement typically goes up 8 percent. Trim your tweet down to less than 100 characters, and the average engagement goes up 18 percent, said Mercogliano.

With this in mind, make it a goal to regularly intersperse short, power-packed tweets into your Twitter calendar, said Mercogliano.

Users Don't Like to Leave Twitter

Use off-Twitter links sparingly. “The average Twitter user is not stoked about leaving Twitter to follow a link,” said Laraway. If you do need to redirect, make sure it’s very clear to the reader where that link is taking them so they can decide if they actually want to go. If you set expectations appropriately, you’ll end up with a higher quality user when they do click through, he said.

Use Pretty Pictures

Twitter users not only like short, succinct posts, but they also like images.

A picture really is worth 1,000 words, which is especially good news if you’ve only got a handful to play with.

Also consider using Vine, which creates six second videos. It’s an effective way to convey a lot of information quickly -- and can also be pretty entertaining. Tweets using Vines see a 256 percent engagement boost compared to picture only tweets.

Don't Make Users Sweat

Twitter users don’t want to feel like they’re going through customs to claim a free offer. They don’t want to get dragged off to linked information that they’re not interested in.

They do want to see what they’re getting, and have an quick and easy way to get it.

Website and lead generation cards are smart ways to get customer leads. Lead generation cards, for example, grab the users e-mail and name right from their Twitter account, which means less work for them and better accuracy for you.

And promoted tweets that use website cards see a 43 percent boost in engagement compared to those that use URLs.

Users Like to Chat

Tweets shouldn’t just be outbound. Try and start a back-and-forth conversation with users, by reacting to posts you’re mentioned in and chatting with customers.

“Promoted tweets from accounts that @Reply at least 1x a week have +18 percent engagement,” according to Twitter.

Ultimately what you get out of Twitter will reflect how well you use this tool. Take the time to tune up your tweets and they can help you establish better communication with your target audience.

Title Image: Butterfly Hunter/Shutterstock