Here are five great uses for using 140 characters or less in promoting and growing your business. The hardest part of Twitter is getting started. The technology is not a difficult to use it just has a big mental hurdle to overcome; What do I say? That is the question that haunts almost everyone who is thinking about using a microblogging site and sits a and stares at the “What’s Happening?” box.So to help you vault over that first hurdle, I want to give you five general uses for Twitter to help you post that first tweet.1. Marketing and Communication — If you are a business owner or an industry expert using Twitter to build a following should be your primary goal. Think of it as your personnel soapbox to shout about your brand, products and industry. The key is you need to provide information of value and your followers will not only build your online reputation but assist you in spreading your online brand.2. Business Networking — The concept behind social media is to stay in touch with people you know and to build new relationships. The essential thing is to remember is you must give to get. It is easy to meet new people on Twitter and bring people together, but you must participate to really build relationships. Build posts that introduce your followers to new people that you respect and give introductions to services that relate to your business. Following a variety of interesting people on Twitter can also bring you incredible visibility.Find people in your industry that have a strong following and make sure you understand what they are doing on Twitter and do not be afraid to ask them to connect. Use the search feature to find key industry people.Here is a good example: Say you own a “classic car” auto repair business, you will want to connect with suppliers, collectors, body shop owner basically anyone you do business with on a regular basis and you will also want to follow famous car collectors like Jay Leno. The most important thing is to find people on Twitter that are potential customers. Perform searches based on your business and answer their questions, it will build credibility.3. Breaking news — Use Twitter to give you followers the news before anyone else. Make announcements that make people feel like they know something before their friends. This past week, actor Neil Patrick Harris announced on Twitter that his partner and him had added twins to their family, so his followers/fans had the special news before any of the entertainment news outlets. You can do the same thing with your products and services.Remember the Twitter is an informal chat with friends, so it is natural that if you have good news or something important to tell them you would share the news with your friends. Part B: If you have a products based business think of setting a Twitter feed for the specific purpose of notifying customers when new products come in. Customers can subscribe via mobile or RSS for instant notification when that item they have been waiting for arrives.4. Direct traffic — As soon as you find something interesting that’s linkable, you can drop it on Twitter and your network knows immediately. You can use this sharing of information to your advantage and increase traffic to under-performing pages on your website. You can ask your vendors or sales group to tweet about a feature or product, the message will spread faster and further as other active users pick it up just make sure that they use the url for the page you are trying to get a bump in traffic for. You can use Twitter to get traffic to your the sites of your affiliates and vendors, remember give to get.5. Provide live coverage — If you are promoting an event (store sale, conference or group gathering) you can use Twitter to promote the event, but also to give updates to those who could not make it or were wavering on coming. Twitter’s message size limit prevents detailed coverage of events but it can allow you to provide real-time commentary which may help to spark further discussion or interest on the event as other Twitter users spread the message. Very useful for citizen journalism and has been interesting to follow world events.Learn to use hashtags. Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They’re like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag. This allows people to follow the entire event.Bonus Tip:Garner Feedback — I mentioned earlier that Twitter allows you to see what people are saying about you, but what it also give you is instant feedback an opportunity to correct poor customer interactions. Like anything else that is not controlled by the poster, this offers honest, sometimes to a fault and credible feedback to both the Twitter account owner and the public.Not only does Twitter allow you to communicate with your customers, but see what they are posting about you. Check out how Virgin American Airlines or Ford is using Twitter to build its brand.You just need to have a plan in place to be able to react to negative feedback. Check out how The Gap had to deal with negative feedback after changing their iconic logo.