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Homes.comChances are you have a Twitter account already. But how effectively are you using the resources at your disposal? Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the most out of Twitter:

1. Brand yourself—and don’t stray from it. One of the biggest complaints people lodge against Twitter is that too much of it is pointless ephemera. Make sure your tweets are focused and on-target—don’t clog up your followers’ Twitter feed by sharing photos of your lunch or complaining about traffic. Before you tweet, ask yourself what the value of the tweet is. Valueless tweets will quickly get you unfollowed, so make your tweets count.

2. Start a conversation. You can participate in discussions on Twitter by using @ replies, but why not start a conversation of your own? Open the floor to your followers by posing a timely, thought-provoking or even somewhat controversial question. Start a hashtag (#) discussion or join one already taking place. Make sure to follow up on the replies you get and you could see a great dialogue develop!

3. Talk back. The greatest aspect of Twitter is that it’s not a sounding board, it’s a continuous discussion. Don’t neglect opportunities to reach out to the community–engage your followers by @ replying them or giving them shout-outs. A newer feature of Twitter is that if you hit the reply button instead of just typing in their handle, others can see the whole discussion thread, so they can see the specific Tweet you are responding to. If you want to retweet, rather than @ reply, you can either add “RT @Twittername” at the start of the tweet or add “via @Twittername” at the end of the tweet. Twitter also has a built-in retweet function, but this often comes across as less personal, because you can’t add comments in at the end.

4. Be retweetable. Each tweet has a 140 character limit. If you want your followers to retweet you, however (and you do!) you need to further reduce the limit. To calculate what your individual limit should be, add 5 to the number of character in your Twitter handle, then subtract that total from 140. For’s Twitter, for instance, the limit would be 124 (Homesdotcom (11) + 5 = 16. 140 – 16 = 124).

5. Save searches, save time. You can save Twitter searches for your local community, brokerage, or other buzzwords in your particular market (condos, sustainable living, foreclosures) to provide you with insight into your market and to use as material for your Tweets.

6. Be useful. The most important thing you can be for your followers is useful. Provide them with helpful information and links that are relevant to your locality or the particular niche you target. This is a great way to demonstrate your value to your followers and build credibility in their eyes.

Follow on Twitter!