I recently began using Twitter as a core strategy for my website, and to be honest it has blown me away. I was not expecting it to be so much fun, useful, and effective. So much so that I’ve decided to blog about it on my fourth post.

It’s potential for SEO, especially in driving targeted traffic and inbound links is huge. However, it can also be a time waster and productivity killer if you are not careful.

How do you ensure that every hour you spend on Twitter is the best use of your time for optimization efforts? Here are 5 important tips every marketer should be aware of:

1) Define Goals and Objectives

Ask yourself: Why am I using Twitter? Your goals should be measurable, specific, and have a time frame. They can include both quantitative and qualitative objectives. Here are some examples:

Obtain 200 followers who practice internet marketing within 1 week Personally meet and network with 30 SEO practitioners in Toronto this summer Drive 3000 new website visits from Twitter this month, convert 3% of them into subscribers of my e-newsletter

Goals will help you focus your time and efforts on what you want to achieve out of Twitter.

2) Create A Targeted Twitter Profile

The more specific and unique your Twitter identity is, the better. Focus on a targeted niche, and communicate your value to potential followers. Some good questions to ask yourself and include in your profile are:

What is different about me than everyone else in my field, why am I unique? Why am I interesting, why should people care about me? Why is my specialty, what do I do better than anyone else?

Communicate very clearly and concisely what you have to offer, and your value proposition. Creating multiple Twitter profiles, each focusing on a certain aspect or topic is a useful strategy. This avoids making your identity too general, and is especially useful if you would like to use Twitter both for family/friends, and business.

Bottom line: Be specific, communicate value!

3) Quality over Quantity

Not every follower is valuable to me. Repeat. Not every follower is valuable to me.

Do not to get carried away simply trying to get as many followers as you can. Instead focus on getting as many quality followers as you can. The quality of followers depends on how relevant they are to your Twitter identity. You can find this out by reading their profile, their tweets, who they follow, and who follows them.

I would rather have 100 followers who practice internet marketing (my field), than 10,000 followers with general interests not related to my field (cooking, yoga, weight loss, etc…).

Similarly, try to only follow people that are have a lot in common with your twitter identity. If you are an SEO, do not follow someone who is focused on spirituality for example, this dilutes your brand.

Bottom line: Focus your efforts on attracting relevant followers! 4) Setup A Work Schedule

Once you have established your goals and identity, setup a schedule to accomplish specific tasks that help you meet your goals. For example, set 30 minutes throughout the day to tweet message. Or set 1 hour per day aside to add targeted visitors.

Breaking goals down into specific tasks and times will help you stay focused, and maximize your productivity on Twitter.

5) Measure Your Success, Optimize Your Efforts. You’ve setup your SEO goals for Twitter, and are working hard to achieve them. The question to always ask yourself is: how am I doing?

Without measuring your performance, you will never know if you are successful or not. Some metrics like the number of followers and who you are following appear right in Twitter.

But what about how many people Twitter refers to your website or campaign? How do visitors referred by Twitter behave on your website, how long do they stay, do they convert?

To learn about the behavior of your Twitter visitors, you need to use Website Analytics. Website analytics lets you segment your website visitor traffic, and isolate the reports to only show visitors from Twitter. Analyze whether Twitter visitors are meeting your goals, and optimize the site based on your performance. If you don’t already use Website Analytics, I recommend Google Analytics to get you started, it’s free and easy to learn. It’s also what I use!