It’s Twitter Tip Tuesday — every Tuesday we’ll focus on one Twitter Tip and show you how to integrate it into your social media strategy.

This week we’re showcasing five powerful Twitter tactics that may have gone under your radar but that deserve a second look. In most cases, these tips represent Twitter tactics that not everyone is using, so they’ll enable you to stand out from the pack.

Look for links to the original articles where’ll you’ll find more detailed information and instructions on how to implement these very effective Twitter tactics.

1. Follow, Then Follow Up

How many people do you follow on Twitter? How many people follow you? No matter what the numbers are, it doesn’t really matter much unless you’re actually engaging with your followers and they’re engaging with you. Sure, Twitter sends an email to every new person you follow, but if that’s the only interaction you have with those folks, chances are you may get lost in the crowd.

Instead, whenever you follow someone, send him or her a tweet. Let the person know you’re following — and why. By doing so, you’ll be taking a proactive approach (that very few others do), and you may just spark the attention (and generate a conversation) with the very person you’ve been trying to reach.

2. Make Sure Everyone Sees Your Tweets

You may think that once people are following you on Twitter that they can see all your tweets, right? Well, did you know there’s a relatively unknown exception to this rule? If you begin your tweet with the @ symbol, Twitter assumes that you’re chatting with someone directly — and that the conversation is only relevant to the people who follow you and the person you’re tweeting.

In other words, your public conversations are not available to all of your followers if you begin your tweets with the @ symbol. If you want to make sure that all of your followers are in on all of your conversations (generally a good network building strategy), then refrain from starting your tweets with an @ symbol.

3. Double the Power of Your Tweets

One of Twitter’s most distinctive features is that it limits tweets to a maximum of 140 characters. While this forces you to get your point across succinctly, sometimes you may also want to reference content from another tweet — but you just don’t have the space left to do it.

To virtually double the power (and content) of your tweet, simply click the time stamp of an additional tweet you’d like to reference. Twitter will open a browser page highlighting that particular tweet. Copy the URL of that page and paste it into your tweet. Twitter will automatically shorten the link and you’ll have the content of two tweets — all in under 140 characters!

4. Leverage Twitter Lists

Many Twitter users are aware that Twitter has lists, but relatively few people actually use this very powerful feature. Twitter lists allow you to group together Twitter users by whatever criteria you choose.

It’s a very efficient way to keep track of Twitter accounts that you want to pay special attention to — your prospects, competitors, or partners, for example. Lists are also one of the exceptions we mentioned earlier whereby you can see people’s tweets without having to follow them — which can be a very effective, covert, competitive-intelligence gathering tool.

5. Use Strategic Search Phrases

Like Twitter lists, many people are not using Twitter search to its full potential. Twitter’s search function is typically used to find people, hashtags, or keywords but did you know that you can also search for strategic phrases and uncover hidden opportunities?

For example, a search for the phrase “we are looking for a” yields a wide variety of tweets — from job offers to blogging opportunities, and everything in between. Try a slight variation: “anyone know a” and you’ll see tweets from people looking for recommendations on everything under the sun.

Perhaps you have exactly what someone’s looking for. Or maybe you know someone you can forward an opportunity or an offer to. Either way, searching on strategic phrases can initiate conversations, start relationships and uncover opportunities you just won’t find anywhere else!

Know any other great, underutilized Twitter tactics? Let us know in the comments below!

[Image credits: Vacant Fever, woodleywonderworks, Marc Smith, olarte.ollie]