Twitter is kind of a crazy, beautiful thing, isn’t it?

With just a few clicks and scrolls you can actively engage with people from all over the country – even the world – from all walks of life, interests and backgrounds. That’s what makes it such an interesting and strong avenue for marketing yourself. Many people believe if you want to put yourself out there, there really is no better or easier way to go about it.

But is it really?

Think about how you check your feed: you scroll and scroll until something catches your eye. In those precious few seconds of scrolling, how many tweets did you just straight up pass by and totally ignore? A lot right?

The numbers show about 313 million people are on Twitter, and those people send out 500 million tweets per day. The odds are stacked against you to stand out and be seen on Twitter, let alone to get someone to take the time to stop, read and learn more – unless you are a Kardashian or some other brain-dead celeb, apparently.

So, how do you make yourself stand out among a crowd of millions? How do you effectively put you or your business out there? There are ways to give yourself an edge.

You just have to be smart about it.

Know when to Tweet

Think you can just throw something on the web whenever you want and it’ll stick? Think again.

There are actually prime times throughout the day – and even the week – that you are better served to post. Studies show the best time to toss up a tweet is from noon to 1 p.m. and again around 5 to 6 p.m. Think these seem kind arbitrary and nonsensical? Not really if you think about it.

What are people doing from noon to 1 p.m. generally? They are taking a lunch break. This is the biggest time frame during the day that people have enough spare time to give their cell phones or social media attention while they eat or just take a few extra minutes before going back to work. That is when they will actually see your post and be able to consistently get more attention.

A similar thing happens around 5 or 6 p.m. I’ll give you a hint this time, it is probably your favorite thing to do at work. Go home! Around this time people are stuck in traffic, waiting on the bus or riding the subway on their way home from work. Much like their lunch break, they will have time to hop on Twitter to try and distract themselves, giving you another window to hit your audience.

Additionally, if you are interested in capturing attention from businesses, weekday posts are your friend. Generally, businesses are dealing with other businesses Monday through Friday, so if you want a client – or prospective client – or partner to see something on Twitter, they will probably be checking during the week.

You can probably draw your own conclusion as to why weekends are better for engaging customers. They are at home, they have more free time and will be more heavily active on social media at the time.

Know how to Tweet

Twitter is all about engagement and interaction. It is, after all, the only avenue – that doesn’t end in a restraining order – that you can directly tell Drake that his new album sucks.

People won’t want to engage or interact with you if they think you are trying to sell them something, so keep your tweets simple, casual and conversational. Your message or “voice” as a business doesn’t have to change, but how you present it or your “tone” should definitely be a lot more casual.

How do you do that?

You have to think about how the content is going to be treated by your consumer, i.e get liked or retweeted. To get them to do it for you, you need to present your tweet in an attractive way.

People really like three things on social media: being made to laugh, being inspired and getting the news. You should aim for your tweet to include at least one of these aspects. For example, present your information in a unique or funny way. Use a strong call to action to get people moving. Or, just make sure your news is worth knowing, be it local, timely or different. Does it inform? Does it engage?

I’m reminded of an old journalism-school adage: a dog biting a man is not news, but a man biting a dog is! Maybe that doesn’t apply to you exactly, but you get what I’m saying…

Cool it with the Hashtags!

Hashtags group and index posts with the same hashtag together so you can more easily navigate Twitter to find the news, information and posts that interest you and were one of the reasons it got so poular.

It really is a super neat concept. However, we’ve all seen what happens when hashtags go wrong….

“Just got my #Starbucks fix for the day :p #mornings #obsessed #OMG #blessthismess #brainfuel #coffeehaulic #yum”

I’m sure you have seen something like it… we all have and it’s awful! Too many hashtags won’t make your post more popular, they make it flat out annoying and unreadable. Not to mention how unprofessional it will look. So like I said: cool it with the hashtags.

There is a right way and a wrong way to use hashtags. We’ve seen the bad. The good way is to limit yourself to no more than three hastags. You shouldn’t cut them out entirely, because they can help you get noticed and gain traction. Just be sure you are using a strong, sensible and relevant hashtag and you’ll be in good shape.

Other Twitter tips and tricks

Just because you only have 140 characters doesn’t mean you should sacrifice professionalism for the sake of getting your message out. Stick to proper grammar and punctuation. In the name of all that is holy, don’t just type “u” when you mean “you”.

Shortening any URLs you put in your post is another great way to make your tweets look more attractive. Online services like TinyURL and Bitly can reformat your links to keep them from cluttering up feeds.

Pictures are great! You are more likely going to get someone to stop on your post if there is something visual to grab their attention.

You are now ready. Venture boldly into that new frontier and start using Twitter to grow yourself and your brand to new heights!

Social Media Starter Kit

Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.