Twitter, launched in July of 2006, has emerged as one of the top social media platforms enabling users to connect with friends and companies and stay current with constant streams of information. With over 200 millions users generating 190 million tweets a day, Twitter has become a great resource for businesses to engage with consumers.

So, what can you possibly say in 140 characters or less to help your business expand and increase traffic to your website? Well, Mashable and have identified a few tactics businesses should keep in mind while Tweeting.

Here are the top 10 you should check out:

1. Hashtags: You should familarize yourself with this symbol (i.e., #) and make it your friend. Put this hashtag in front of a keyword or your company website and Twitter will convert these hashtagged words into searchable keywords. What does this mean for you? Anyone searching for something can find all tweets containing your hashtagged word in a single location, thus making it easier for them to find your tweets even if they’re not one of your followers. Search the database for hashtagged questions pertaining to your business or topics of your expertise and connect with these followers. You’ll find you not only do you have more readers, but possibly more customers as well.

2. Engage with your followers: Simply sending out tweets and not responding to your followers will get you nowhere. It’s important to respond to those that tweet at you and answer any questions they might have. Each time you interact with your followers, make sure it’s a personalized message. No one wants to feel like they’re receiving a mass tweet. If they feel your message is sincere and they like what you have to offer, the chances of them retweeting your information is even greater, thus ultimately exposing your business to more followers.

3. Combine your platforms: Make it easier on yourself by synchronizing your Twitter account with all of your other social platforms. You can do so by associating your Twitter account with the RSS feed of your company website, Facebook page or blog. By doing so, every time you make an update it appears across all of your platforms, meaning you only have to make one update at a time. Sounds efficient, right?

4. Update your profile: Although most of your followers are only reading your tweets and not your bio, it’s important to have a profile in place that’s up-to-date and professional. Think of it as an extension of your brand. Potential new followers and customers will be checking out your profile to see what you’re about before hitting the golden “Follow” button.

5. The power of a list: This Twitter feature has helped companies gain followers and spread their knowledge to a larger audience. A Twitter list is somewhat similar to a Facebook group. Basically a compilation of followers, grouped together for whatever reason you come up with. You can use these lists to your advantage by promoting and rewarding customers. How? Try creating a list comprised of all your valued customers and reward those on the list with a 20% off coupon or free gift with purchase. Lists can also help your business internally. By creating a list of all employees and those that tweet on your behalf, it’s an easy way to manage these tweeters and aggregate accounts. Once you’ve created your list make sure people know about it by adding it to a list directory such as Listorious.

6. Keep track: It’s important to track your followers and identify whose really paying attention to your tweets. You can do so by tracking retweets, clicks, messages and hashtag mentions. This will give you the opportunity to engage with your loyal followers and maintain these relationships.

7. Ask questions: Get feedback from your followers by asking the right questions. Find out what you’re doing right, what you need to work on and what they want more of. This shows not only that you’re listening, but can provide you with valuable insights about your followers and consumers.

8. Tweet about others: You don’t always need to talk about yourself and your company. It’s important to integrate other’s ideas and links into your tweets. Retweet what your followers have tweeted, share their links and let your followers know what you find interesting about a particular tweet. This lets your followers know that you’re human and are interested in what they have to say as well. Not to mention it’s a great way to build and expand your community.

9. Promoted tweets: This is a new feature of Twitter that enables businesses to speak to a larger audience, even those that don’t follow them. How does it work? First, send a tweet to your followers and then promote that tweet. The promoted tweet then appears as content in search results, so those looking for something pertaining to your tag will see it in the search engine. Twitter offers these promoted tweets on a cost-per-engagement basis, meaning you only pay when users retweet, reply or clicks on your tweet.

10. Customer Service: Best Buy is a great example of how to use Twitter to provide real-time customer service. Create an account in which users can tweet questions about products or services to you directly and tag the answers with a hashtag back to your company website. This allows you to interact with your consumers and provide them with something of value. Best Buy is leading the ranks with over 2,900 employees on board to answer questions and have responded to over 38,000 inquiring tweets. You could be next.

What are some of your favorite tips on using Twitter? Did we miss any you think we should add? If so, let us know in the comments section below. While you’re down there, how ’bout Re-Tweeting this post for us!

Posted by Rebecca Wilson, marketing analyst for the 60 Second Marketer.