Twitter is instant news for the 21st century. Whilst the perception may be that it’s the go-to for celebrities to send out their character restricted self-promotion, the reality is that we are all enjoying the fact that we can distil our thoughts into a short message, and that we can connect quickly with anyone we want to share those thoughts with.

More recently it has become an increasingly important part of businesses overall strategy when it comes to social media.

Broadly Twitter is split into two threads which run side by side – to provide customer help and support, and to be a platform for promotion.

As customers go directly to businesses in search of help, they are bypassing the expensive, and often long winded phone conversations and simply sending their 140 characters with the expectation of a reply within minutes.

Because of the public nature of this way of approaching customer care, it could be argued that this gives consumers the upper hand, even if that just means that their requests are answered quickly.

But while companies might be under more pressure to keep their relationships with their customers in great shape, the companies themselves can now send out promotions in real time to those same customers.

Discount codes, limited time offers, customer limited offers and of course the free-entry-for-retweeting contests are just some of the ways that businesses can use Twitter to their advantage. How are you using Twitter in your marketing?