Social media is an important part of your marketing strategy, but it’s also time consuming. That’s why Twitter is perfect for the business crowd: It is quick and easy. But it can be far more strategic than that. Read on to see how you can use Twitter to your business advantage.

1. Connect with high-profile users. According to Hubspot, there are more than 160 million registered accounts on Twitter, many of whom belong to influential bloggers, writers, media personnel and CEOs. You may have been rejected by phone or e-mail, but you’ll be surprised how many big names start to follow or talk to you on Twitter.

2. Connect with low-profile users. A study by Interpret LLC found consumers are far more receptive and show higher engagement with brands on Twitter compared to other social networking sites. You won’t make any quick sales this way, but you’ll build a strong community of followers and connections that will likely payoff in the long run.

3. Research your prospects. Once you’re following some potential prospects, you can get to know a bit about their needs and lives, depending on how much they share. Find out if they changed jobs or when to call them based on their tweeted locations or tasks. The more you know, the better off you’ll be.

4. Stay current on industry news. As you continue to follow others in your industry as well as top financial companies and news sources, you’ll find you have a steady stream of links to the latest news and financial gossip. It’s an easy to way to stay up to date and maintain your competitive advantage.

5. Promote yourself. Share your blog posts and other personal news if it’s relevant and interesting for others. Have an event or workshop coming up? Make sure others know. Once in a while, tweet a link to your website. Be wary of compliance issues. You may want to stay away from making specific recommendations and mentioning particular products or anything to do with client performance.

6. Monitor your brand. You want to know how effective your social networking has been, so you can continue to improve your online presence. See if others are talking about you, when you’ve been retweeted or how many hits your links receive.

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Lisa Craveiro works in the online marketing department at Advisor Websites, where she manages social media accounts and helps financial services professionals gain a better understanding of how to increase their online presence. She has previously worked in a number of roles as a marketing coordinator, crafting and executing online and outdoor media strategies. Visit http://www.advisorwebsites.com/blog for more information.