Just my opinion on the best ways and worst ways I have seen Twitter being used for promoting a business... and how I use it too! I'm @KitschenSink, nice to meet you.
#1 Follow the followers of who you follow
When I first signed up to Twitter, I knew a few Bloggers who were there so I followed them. From there, I looked at who they followed, and followed the ones that looked particularly interesting to me. Phew! For this purpose it's really important you...
#2 Write a little bio for your profile
When you are looking at a person's followers or who is following you, their names appear in a list. Want to know who they are? Hovver your mous eover their name, and their bio pops up. This is great, I don't have to mess around clicking through to their page. Unless they haven't written one, in which case I am annoyed.
#3 Search Twitter
There's now an integrated seach tool in Twitter, but you can also find it at search.twitter.com Use it to search for keywords or brands that are of a similar nature to what you sell. No, I'm not telling you to poach customers from your rivals (but you could?). I search for things like 'Teen Vogue', as I think the readers of Teen Vogue might be the type of people who would like my jewellery.
#4 Tweet often
Think about how many people your followers follow. I follow 500+, so if you tweet once a day, likelihood is, I won't see it.
#5 Don't over sell. Less is more
I had done a Twitter search some time ago for 'jewellery' (which wasn't really specific enough, I'm learning too) and found a guy who sells, well, jewellery (not handmade). I followed, but each and every tweet was, like 'Why are you spending more than you need to, shop here [link]'. It's annoying and no one likes it. You wouldn't buy a mobile phone and subscribe to cold-calls, so don't expect your followers to either.
I also keep getting a particular tweeter replying to some of my tweets with a vague link between what I said to some T Shirts he sells. It's not clever, it's annoying.
#6 Don't get too personal
For a few days last week I used Twitter to vent my personal anguish, and that wasn't cool. Although I do think the Twitter is all about showing the person behind the brand
#7 Retweet (and hopefully they'll repay the favour)
You scratch their back and they will scratch yours. If you spot a Tweeter promoting, re tweet. Maybe one day that karma will return when your sale is on.
A little case study
One big brand that I can see using Twitter exceptionally well is ASOS. I have shopped with ASOS since their early days when all their items were titled 'Dress as seen on [insert celebrity name here]. They have dramatically expanded since then.
They have one main @ASOS account which follows only ASOS employees, whose names are all @ASOS_name . There is potential for just anyone to create an @ASOS_name but the main ASOS account won't be following them.
What I love about this is the way they are building customer relationships. A major thing that a shopper misses out on when they buy from a website rather than a shop is chatting with the staff, getting their opinion on what they are selling and the social aspect of shopping. What the online seller misses out on is building a customer relationship and in turn getting repeat sales. And we're lead to believe they are all happy in the workplace - they tweet at each other, about work and play, and the boss-man @ASOS-James disclosed to me that they have been bought Blackberries for this idea. How cool is that?
I hope I haven't missed anything and I hope you find my tips of use!