One of the social networks that gets little respect from financial advisors is Twitter. Many advisors do not understand this online marketing tool and often  do not have much success with it. The obvious reason to use Twitter is to learn from its amazing real-time information stream. The less obvious reason is get new business. To do that, you need a following.

Twitter, in fact, can be used to get more Web site hits, build up virtual relationships and increase new leads.

Here are 10 Twitter tips to gain more followers:

1. Follow others.
The easiest way to get awareness that you have an account and exist on Twitter is to follow others. Some tweeters automatically follow back. Even if they do not follow back, it allows you to get valuable tweets that you can share to then get more exposure yourself.

2. Use hashtags.
By simply using a pound sign in front of a word or any combination of letters and numbers, that item becomes a clickable link. It takes people to a stream of other tweets using the same hashtag. A good way to get noticed is to pick hashtags of interest. This works great at conferences and events, as the hashtag creates a back channel of communications for organizers, speakers, attendees, and even non-attendees.

3. Keep tweets short.
The shorter the tweets, the easier they are to digest and the more likely they will be retweeted.  Also, shorter tweets allow others to copy and paste your message, while still having room to add their own message.

4. Broaden topics.
The narrower the range of topics you tweet on, the less of a chance for others to find you and want to follow you. It is not a bad thing to be selective, but sometimes it is also OK to show your brand personality and go outside normal financial services content.

Consider something as simple as sharing breaking news or famous quotes.

5. Cross promote.
When you see something you like online, tweet it and promote the Twitter handle of the person or organization that created it. By doing so, you’ll show up as someone that created a mention and will likely be noticed. Usually, those that appreciate this type of acknowledgement follow back, thank and sometimes retweet something of yours.

Also, use traditional marketing to promote a Twitter handle.