We all know about using social media to listen for what our customers want, engage in conversation and link to valuable content.

But what if you want to give something extra?

Then it’s up to you to share what only you can give. Look at your unique place in the world, your gifts, talents and products, and ask yourself: How can I use Twitter in my own unique way?

To spark up your creative flame, here are four unusual Twitter uses. As promised, one of them involves ice cream. And, special bonus, all of them are from Minnesota. Seriously, you can put great ideas into practice just about anywhere.

1. Flavor Updates

Ice cream is a special treat. A little bit of luxury (and a sugar boost!) amidst a busy day.

We all have our favorite flavors. I’m a mint-choc-chip kinda guy. And you’d better not serve me strawberry. Ever.

Isn’t it super-frustrating to drive out to the Ice Cream parlor, only to discover they’ve sold out of your favorite flavor?

Izzy’s Ice Cream Parlor in St. Paul serves over a hundred flavors, and they can’t always be sure that every flavor is available every day.

Cue Twitter. Izzy’s uses Twitter to let customers know when out-of-stock flavors are back in the chiller.

Now that’s cool.

2. Free Parking

If you visit the Mall of America in Bloomington during the holiday rush, no longer do you have pray they’ll be a space for you in the parking lot. Instead, you can check their Twitter Feed, which includes updates on available parking.

The Mall also uses Twitter to update followers on the latest offers, events and store launches.

3. Twitterviews

Recruitment scouts Minnesota Boulevard set themselevs a mission during the 2010 National Black MBA Conference: to discover as much talent as possible, and get delegates to visit their booth in the exhibition space.

They did this by conducting Twitterviews – interviews with conference attendees on Twitter.

That’s one way to get people involved, on your side, get yourself noticed, and share the love.

4. Pizza Coupons

Mmm… Chesse. I’d eat a Margarita every day of the week if it wasn’t so bad for my waistline. Wouldn’t you?

Punch Pizza hots up the temptation for pizza lovers living in St. Paul and Minneapolis by sharing Pizza Discount Coupons on their Twitter feed.

They also use Twitter to share the latest Punch Pizza news, and respond to customer service issues.

Now, Go Find Your Twitter Quirk

What makes you special? How could you use Twitter in an unusual way to convey what makes you unique?

Thanks to David Erickson for giving us the inside view of these unusual Twitter strategies.

Did you know that only 24% of tweets contain hashtags?

Meanwhile, hashtags are a fantastic way for brands to connect with their target audience and participate in conversations about common interests.

What are you waiting for? Check out our infographic below and start adding targeted hashtags to your branding strategy!

What You Need to Know About Twitter Hashtags (Infographic)

Knowing the best times to reach your audience is one of the trickiest aspects of maintaining your brand’s social media strategy.

Compiled below are the best and worst times to post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.

These stats are not set in stone – they’re based on Internet users as a whole, not on your specific target audience – but they’re a solid starting point for anyone looking to gain more traction with their social media posts.

The best thing you can do is keep track of your analytics – specifically, when your audience seems to be most receptive to your content – and periodically revise your social media schedule.

The Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Networks

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