As George Osborne found to his cost when he tweeted about his supposedly cheap burger, simply tweeting photos or comments without thought can get you in trouble. On the other hand, a good Twitter feed can see your connections and reputation blossom.

1) If you have a comment you think might interest people, or you’d like to join a conversation someone else is engaged in, make sure your tweets are directed at them. So, if you want to spark RN’s interest, for example, put our Twitter name “@RetailNewsagent” in the tweet. That way, Twitter knows you’re trying to get our attention.

2) Some people you follow will write tweets that are so informative, useful or interesting that you will want to share them. Twitter can help with this. Press “Retweet” under good tweets and the message will spread to all of your followers. It’s a good way to build bonds with followers as it shows you’re taking an interest in what they’re doing.

3) If you want to make a comment on a trade show, conference or any other event, find out what the “hashtag” is. This is a word or phrase placed after a “#”, such as “#nfrn” or “#proretail” and it lets you see all of the tweets on that subject. You’ll see a list of the most popular (or trending) hashtags on the Twitter site.

Action for experts

Do not overuse hashtags as this can make your tweets look like spam. Instead, pick the key word your tweet is talking about to hashtag. Use Twitter to share interesting things you find online, such as links to articles and blogs. You can use a link shortener service like bit.ly to make these weblinks short enough to tweet.

Read page 2 to see how some top retailers are using twitter to help them.