We've been talking this week about how virtual assistants can help you run with your social media marketing plan. Now, we're going to begin looking at some specific tips and tricks you can share with your virtual assistant to help them make the most of your Twitter accounts.

Twitter is a microblogging service that invites you to answer the question, "What's happening?" You have 140 characters (not words) to tell your followers what is going on. You can share anything you want, so long as it's only 140 characters, including promotional messages.

We'll spend the next few days focusing on Twitter, then we'll move on to LinkedIn and Facebook. By the time we're done with this series, you will have equipped your virtual assistant as your personal social media marketing expert. So let's get on with some tweeting tips that could help you drive revenue for your company.

Expand your Twitterverse
If you want people to follow you, following them is one way to do it. You can use search.twitter.com to find your friends, companies you work with, people interested in specific topics, and so on. You can follow them and hope they follow you back.

Shrink your URLs down to size
Because links can take up way too many characters, you need to make sure your virtual assistant uses a link shortening service like bit.ly. These services let you shrink down a long URL into something that's only a few characters so it doesn't waste valuable promotional space. These links also let you lead people back to your Web site for special offers.

Don't forget to Direct Message
Your virtual assistant should definitely keep Direct Messages in the mix. You can use the Direct Message (DM) feature to send a private message to another Twitter user. Keep in mind that you have to limit your message to 140 characters.

Are you retweeting?
If you don't have anything on your mind but want to keep the conversation going, your virtual assistant can always use a technique called retweeting. You may have seen the letter RT at the beginning of tweets. This stands for Retweet. Essentially, you are resending someone else's tweet using your own twitter handle.

Stay tuned for more top Twitter tips.