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Beginner tips for getting more out of Twitter

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Not all Twitter accounts are for personal updates. Corporations are taking to the micro-blogging platform with tweets that range from weather updates to exclusive coupons and deals. Below we've gathered a few tips to help you get more from your Twitter account.

Foodies Welcome
Finding food deals on Twitter is easy if you're a foodie. Simply search for your favorite restaurants to see if they're tweeting. Naples Tomato in Florida (@NaplesTomato), for instance, deals out specials every day via its tweets. Likewise, Tea shop Tea Embassy (@TeaEmbassy) in Austin, Texas, tweets about the brew of the day, taking tea leaves on the road, and events at the Texas tea house.

Hot Deals
Savvy retailers use Twitter to keep shoppers abreast of the latest sales and promotions. Sephora (@sephorablog) offers beauty tips, product sneak peeks, and even news on career opportunities via its tweets. eForCity.com (@eforcity) announces upcoming tech deals via its Twitter feed, many of which feature limited-use coupon codes.

Upscale department store Nordstom (@nordstrom) tweets about fashion, sales, and events at the retailer's online and offline locations. Meanwhile, ideeli (@ideeli), a members-only sample sale site, has offered invite codes via its tweets. The site's Twitter feed also alerts readers to shopping parties and other events.

Directing Traffic
Wouldn't it be nice to know what route to take home from work, or whether you'll need that spare umbrella in your office? Sure, you could get that information online, or you can get the quick and dirty updates delivered to you via Twitter.

Weather enthusiasts can sign up for tweets from The Weather Channel (@TWCi), which offers weather updates and tidbits for all parts of the world. If you're a storm chaser, you'll be interested in @TornadoAlert and @hurricanes. The former tracks tornadoes around the country while the latter focuses on storms in the tropics.

Twitter can also help you steer clear of traffic. Local sites include Baltimore's @traffic_bmore, Chattanooga's @ChattaTraffic, the Bay Area's @BayAreaCaliNews (which also covers news, weather, and sports), and Brian Shrader's @wraltraffic with updates for Raleigh, North Carolina. Even New York City has individual tweets for its fleet of subways (@Follow511NY).

The Customer is Always Right
A few years ago Dell sat quietly while a very public conversation erupted in the blogosphere about a high-profile blogger with a failing Dell computer. The company waited too long to respond. Several companies have learned from the computer manufacturer's mistake and now have direct conversations with their customers via Twitter.

For instance, Ford Motor Company (@FordCustService) has a Twitter feed dedicated to responding to customer issues. Another vehicle seller, eBay Motors, offers Ask eBay Motors (@askebaymotors), where buyers and sellers alike can ask questions on listing items.

Cable and satellite companies have also jumped on the bandwagon. Operator Dish Network (@dishnetwork) and cable provider Comcast (@comcastcares) both offer customer support via Twitter.

A good place to find Twitter feeds, particularly some of the larger ones, is WeFollow, a site that collects and tags Twitter feeds by category. In addition, you can follow dealnews (@dealnews.com) and our own Twitter feeds at @dandealnews, @sommerjam, and @louisramirez.

— Enid Burns

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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