“I just don’t get it. How can Twitter grow my small business?” If this is you, you’re not alone. We’re here to help.

Twitter is an amazing phenomenon. The ability to share concise communications on ALL topics of life has been revolutionary. Messages that are immediately seen by your followers, and their followers, have a huge impact. You only need the basics. Our three proven sales strategies will get you started — (by the way, you can subscribe to the free UpCity Daily Tips newsletter for more Twitter and social media insights).

The beginning…

Twitter’s 140 character format (a.k.a. ‘tweet), was originally set so that people could share their messages via text and cell phone. The short spurt messaging has shaped the way we communicate. Twitter is the ideal social media tool for all of us with busy lives and short attention spans. Hmmm, isn’t that everyone?

June 2012 update: Twitter is now allowing ‘select’ partners to have expanded tweets as explained by Slate’s technology expert, Farhad Manjoo. It won’t be long before the limitation of 140 characters are a thing of the past.

Even if you have a personal account, sign up for a free business account to create your company page. You can mix personal and professional messaging under one account but if someone follows you for your insightful business tweets, they may not be interested in your favorite restaurant. A separate account for your business also makes it easier to plan and stick to a strategy.

Next, complete your profile which tells the world about who you are and what you do. Make it visually appealing and share a picture of yourself or the company brand. Learn more about creating your business profile directly from the Twitter support pages. Customers and colleagues are more likely to engage and follow if they see you are a real person.

Now you’re ready. Here are three solid sales strategies to get you going:

1. Generate leads.

The most obvious use of Twitter for business is to expland your network. Twitter allows you to connect with people and generate new leads from places you could have never accessed before. Start by following industry leaders, look at who they are following. Follow those that are of interest and those that might be potential clients. Be selective, don’t mass follow everyone.

Follow, participate, repeat.

With those three steps, you complete the Twitter circle and can expand your network of people ten-fold. People will follow you back because you have great tweets with interesting insight, special offers, or content in a vertical just for them. You’ll do that, right? It’s important to be creative and provide your company’s unique selling features so you don’t get lost in the masses!

Real time interaction on a webinar or at a trade show can make the Twitter experience surprisingly personal. Follow best practice and Twitter etiquette — especially the golden rule of 80% participation and 20% self-promotion.

2. Generate website traffic.

Always, always provide a link back to your website. Are you running a special offer or promotion? Want to collect web visitors info? Did you write a great article that adds value to people interested in your service? Make sure they come back to your site to view full details and see more of what you have to offer.

Don’t forget to include a Twitter ‘follow’ button on your site. It makes it easy for new visitors to follow your business if they like what they see once they get there. Twitter provides code for a variety of ‘follow’ buttons which is easy to install.

3. Improve customer service.

Incredible customer service should be the standard, an added goal should be to continually improve your customers experience with every facet of your business. Nothing can kill sales quicker than poor service and unresponsive team members. Monitoring the Twitter stream for customer reviews, questions, or comments about your product is an easy way to stay in touch and reach new people.

Now we’ve pushed out of the nest and you’re ready to fly — see, it’s really not that hard. Follow these three basic strategies and you’ll be growing your business online in no time at all.