Twitter is a great tool for getting free publicity for your small business. That’s because people who read your tweets can re-tweet or forward tweets to their followers. But many business owners are missing opportunities to maximize their exposure because their tweets aren’t up to snuff.

Here are 10 ways to improve the re-tweetability of your tweets and reach more prospects.

1.       You don’t have anything to say. People don’t care what you ate for breakfast, where you went for lunch or what cute thing your kid did.

2.       They don’t know you are alive. Start networking, following tweeting and sharing your info. They can’t share what they don’t know about. People love to retweet interesting material. They can do that only if they know about you.

3.       Your tweets are un-retweetable. You all know that Twitter has a limit of 160 characters. But if you use each of those characters, then there’s no room for additional comments or hash tags – the tools that give your tweet a new life.

4.       You promote yourself too much. I don’t care if you’ve just finished an awesome coaching session or delivered and awesome webinar. Yes, you can subtly self- promote, but add value. For example, “Coached a client on how to manage Outlook calendar.” Then link to an article you wrote about that topic. Granted, you can’t say much in 160 characters, but try to focus on the reader, not you.

5.       Signal to noise ratio is way out of line. If marketing messages are noise, then what’s-in-it-for-me info is signal. The unofficial rule of thumb is four signals to one noise. Your audience might have a higher or lower threshold for advertising, so monitor this “rule” closely.

6.       You use long URLs, which eat up too much space in a Tweet. Shorten URLs with tools available on HootSuite and other programs.

7.       You write about religion or politics. Twitter is about business. Business people don’t let their colleagues know what political party they belong to or what church they go to. It’s bad for business. Of course, if you want to alienate 49 percent of your audience and focus on the rest, that’s fine. They will probably retweet your material – and you won’t risk offending anyone.

8.       You don’t use hashtags (#). Those wonderful tic-tac-toe signs can expose your tweets to a targeted audience that can retweet your message to other groups. The hash tag is the most wonderful free publicity tool marketers have.

9.       You are boring. If you can’t think of something good to tweet, then retweet someone who is interesting. They’ll get publicity and you’ll get publicity. As Shakespeare wrote, “The hand that bears the rose retains the scent.” It’s a lazy way to get retweeted but it works!

10.    You aren’t posting regularly. If you have too many things to do (and don’t we all), then use a program like TweetAdder ( to automate your message distribution and retweet messages from people you trust.

If you follow these free publicity tactics, you’ll have a better chance of getting free publicity for your small business.