As of earlier this year, Twitter has over 140 million active users and 340 million tweets are sent each day. But most small-business owners start using Twitter without any clear strategy of how to grow their company’s fan base on the platform. Even though Twitter is free, it can be a major time suck if it’s not used properly. And because the moves you make early in your business are critical to future growth, entrepreneurs can’t afford to waste any time.

The best way to build your Twitter following is through word-of-mouth marketing, which is triggered by retweets. Two major studies done over the years that have analyzed which tweets get shared and which fail to make the grade.

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Dan Schawbel is the founder of the Personal Branding Blog. Subscribe to his updates at