How Can Small Businesses Stand Out On Twitter? Survey Says

Worried that people aren't reading your tweets? In a study led by Carnegie Mellon University, Twitter users rated only 36 percent of the tweets they received as worth reading, while they considered 25 percent not worthwhile, and they were ambivalent about the other 39 percent.

What type of tweets do readers like most? Tweets that pose questions, tweets that share information, and even self-promotional tweets (such as links to the tweeter's own content) were most popular. Least popular were tweets about someone’s current mood or activity, negativity or complaints, and overuse of Twitter symbols such as hashtags and @. "Special hatred was reserved for Foursquare location check-ins," the report states.

Why it matters to your business: Twitter can be a great tool for small-business owners, but outside of watching how many retweets you get or followers you attract, it's often hard to determine how effective your tweets are at engaging the audience. This study provides at least some insight into what does and doesn't work to attract and keep your audience -- and more importantly, how not to alienate them.