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With millions of followers and more every day, social networking and microblogging sites such as Twitter are a promising and completely free way for small businesses to market themselves and get the word out about their brand. However, many small business owners sign up for an account only to feel lost as to what to Tweet about. Here are five things to Twitter about that will help your small business grow.

New products. If you have a new product that will excite people, use Twitter to get the word out. Don’t use ad copy in this ultra-casual forum; instead, write a message about how excited you are about the new product and how you look forward to using it yourself. This feels more natural and will make many people curious.

Sales and discounts. Have you ever had a sale and been disappointed to find that no one showed up? Tweeting about your sales and any special discounts may pique the interest of many. Be descriptive; instead of ‘caramel drinks half off’, think ‘get your gooey caramel fix for just two dollars’. People who know exactly what you are offering will be more likely to show up and less likely to be disappointed once they get there.

Branding. Twitter is one of few chances to market your brand without paying by the word. This is a good time to think about who your brand is as a person. What kind of music does he or she listen to? What do they do for fun? Make sure your tweets are congruent with your brand; it will help customer understand and ultimately love you.

Public awareness. Why not use Twitter to talk a little about your favorite charities and their latest work? This ties closely into branding, because you are giving customers insight as to what causes you support. Not only will this rally support from others for your personal favorite charities, it will make you seem like a more caring person, someone who customers will want to support. Note: this is more appropriate for the occasional for the occasional tweet than for a daily practice.

Contacts with the rest of the business world. It’s ironic that people just opening a business often don’t have time for various clubs and service organizations that more established business owners often use for contacts and fun. If you are having a problem, Twitter is a great place to turn for guidance and support. You are not the only small business to have encountered stumbling blocks along the path to success. Find other small business owners and use them for commiseration and even advice. You’ll probably find several mentors and you will be able to help someone else as well.

These are just five of the many things you can tweet about to build brand awareness and sales at the same time. Once you have a professional brand and a professional logo design, getting it out there is the next step to success. Twitter makes this easy and cheap, a win-win situation that no one can afford to pass up.

Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & Creative Director of Logo Design Works. Since 1998, Mash has helped thousands of businesses express their brand messages through creative and award winning logo designs.