Twitter's Mark Luckie reported that small businesses can drive visibility by following the lead of prominent publishers.

At SMX Social Media in Scottsdale, Arizona, Kurt Krejny, director of online marketing for Fathom, said that social media marketing success starts with identifying a target audience and shaping all social and content marketing material to their behavior. This is a rule that can be applied to a wide variety of forms of social outreach, but Twitter, in particular, is a space that is inundated with frequent updates. Businesses that want to stand out need to set their Tweets apart.

In his presentation, Krejny said that audience understanding is one of the most common problems for businesses developing social media campaigns. These organizations likely have an idea which consumers or companies they hope to sell to. However, understanding the behavior of these people on Twitter is very different from selling to them in store.

In general, online content marketing enables businesses to give consumers round-the-clock, easy access to content (instead of putting it in TV ads that might be missed or fliers that might be lost). But with Twitter, content is has a short life-span on a users’ feeds, so identifying the times of day and media most likely to draw microblog users to convert is critical to developing a successful Twitter marketing campaign.

Planning Twitter campaigns can require massive paradigm shifts for small businesses, but the benefits achieved when done correctly can drastically improve your bottom line. In fact, ContentLEAD reported that more than half of consumers are likely to become frequent customers of business they follow on social media platforms.

Here are three critical considerations businesses must make to ensure their Twitter marketing campaign is a success.

1. Set Twitter marketing goals you can later measure

On the surface, the goal of every marketing campaign is to drive sales and conversions. However, drawing traffic and a consistent prospect base on the web requires marketing strategies that often have motivations other than strict sales.

The sales are the end game. They will come if your marketing campaigns are effective. But before that, there are a few other goals your businesses must achieve on the web. These will be different for every company, but Twitter has proven a valuable component for each.

Some small businesses focus on developing their position as a thought leader. Twitter marketing supports this goal when businesses use social media content that links back to informative website content. As more content is posted to your Twitter account, monitoring the reaction to and sharing of the articles and other media will give a business some idea of how their content is received by their target audience.

Ultimately, though, the amount of followers a business gains as a result of sharing its news content marketing is a good demonstration of its position as a thought leader. Make it a point to document your company’s Twitter followers and measure changes each month.

Monitoring the true quality of your followers is equally important. Twitter can be a strong tool for connecting your business with quality prospects, and ensuring that those you engage with are also thought leaders or quality prospects will help you reach those goals.

Some companies point to web traffic increases as their ultimate hope. As traffic increases, businesses can use their analytics tools to track the origination of each visit. Even if traffic increases after the implementation of a social campaign, monitoring where traffic stems from is equally important. Any traffic increase is a good thing, but the analytics data will help inform adjustments to web marketing strategies – in Google Analytics, is Twitter a referral source for your site traffic? If so monitor how much traffic it drives over time to see whether you are achieving this goal.

Certain pieces of content will be more beneficial in helping businesses realize goals, and there are tools customized specifically to Twitter that can help inform your decisions on the social platform. Krejny mentioned Twitalyzer as a tool used by businesses of all sizes to assess the effectiveness of their social media marketing campaign. Measuring the engagement rate and overall influence of a specific campaign can help influence your future social strategy.

2. Decide which content can achieve business goals and engage audiences

Krejny has found that maintaining detailed profiles of a few key followers or fans has helped companies using social media marketing target content effectively.

The tools available on social media platforms, such as Facebook Insights and Google’s newly launched social media insights platform, will provide information related to the age, race and other characteristics of your followers. As a small business’ reach on social grows, this data becomes as valuable as conversions to an extent. It will clearly tell you when people are viewing your content, how they got on the page, where they are, etc.

Once you have this information, adjust Tweet content to the specific demographics most likely to visit your accounts. Think about what will be most relevant to unique audiences; ContentLEAD reported on Friday that a majority of consumers and business decision makers engaging with social media marketing content are most likely to convert when a business demonstrates its value in their content. You can share blog post headlines with Twitter followers looking to learn, and maybe share product pages to engage those who are doing clear-cut purchase research. Moreover, engagement directly with a follower can be a massive plus for a company.

Followers are going to ask questions, make comments or even lodge complaints. Each of these actions can be used as an opportunity to gain new business. Moreover, a study conducted by Extole found that a Facebook marketing campaign’s fans resulted in an average of three additional fans for the business. With this in mind, remember that when you see engagement from a Twitter contact, it’s likely that other people of a similar background or industry have the same concerns and behave in the same manner on social media platforms – you stand to reach all of them with your response.

Plus, finding the content that engages key Twitter personas can inform your broader content marketing strategy. Treating these instances as though they exist in a vacuum is a wasted opportunity. As Krejny said, data gathered on social media should be used “to determine effective content.” across campaigns.

The development of social analytics tools offered by major platforms has made it easier to collect data. Failing to use this and act accordingly can’t be explained away with a lack of time anymore. Facebook, Google and Twitter are doing all the work for you now.

The data is there, and your content should reflect it.

3. Determine the best Tweet times to reach your audience

For every company, whether in the B2B or B2C sector, there is a group of consumers or businesses most likely to purchase your products. This is the audience you should focus on when scheduling your Tweet times.

Content marketing‘s appeal to businesses is apparent and their reliance on the channel is growing. However, sharing this content at the correct times and in a manner that will compel conversion is as important as the message conveyed in the content itself.

In October, ContentLEAD reported that the best times to share actively are during the work day. Twenty-six percent of Baby Boomers say they are most active on social between the hours 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. However, 23 percent said they engage socially between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and 32 percent visit these websites and accounts later in the evenings.

With that said, it’s clear that versatile, fluid social media marketing strategies can reach prospects best. Consider the motivation for their visits. It’s likely that business owners and B2B decision makers visiting these websites during the work day are doing so from the office, while their visits in the evening are for their personal (B2C) use.

Millenials and “Generation X” report visiting social websites throughout the day, so the chances to reach these prospects are far greater. The same report said that 44 percent Millenials are active on social platforms between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and continue to access social accounts later in the evening.

As campaigns evolve, businesses must maintain and use data to inform decisions, Krejny said at SMX. Initial roll outs will be based on original research and educated guesses. It’s inevitable that some of these instincts will not result in the type of ROI a small business needs to maintain investment. However, abandoning plans for social altogether is unlikely to lead to a better plan.

Looks at your results after a month or two. See what is and isn’t working. What’s more, identify why certain Twitter efforts aren’t working. If you find people don’t click your Tweets, try sharing something new. If you’re seeing traffic but low conversions, maybe it’s time to look at the calls to action on your website. That’s not a failure of social, so much as an opportunity to adjust campaigns by capitalizing on your successes and moving away from your failures.

The web is evolving constantly. What’s true today may not be the case in a few weeks. Keep an eye on your Twitter campaign, and the way your prospects are interacting with it. Making a few key changes at the right time can mean the difference between success and struggle. The effort in perfecting your Twitter marketing campaign will be worth it in the end: More than one-third of businesses find leads on the microblogging site.