Twitter’s first quarter earnings call might have disappointed Wall Street, but that doesn’t mean that 140-characters have lost their value. In fact, as the second-largest social network, Twitter will be pulling a significant portion of the projected 77 percent increase in digital marketing budgets for 2015.

So why, exactly, is Twitter so important?

Connecting in Real Time

Unlike Facebook, Twitter does not curate its feed – every tweet goes up as soon as the user sends it out. This is great for time-sensitive campaigns and limited-time offers, and for getting consumers to visit a physical location for a short-term promotion or event.

Communicating in real time also helps brands build relationships with users. Whether a person expresses enthusiasm for a product, poses a question or vents about a technical problem, a swift response demonstrates that a company values its customers and wants their experience to be positive.

Generating Consumer Data

Twitter users share a lot about their lives, from tweeting during their favorite TV shows to making product recommendations to asking for help from customer service. Each of these actions provides data that can be used to understand an audience and build marketing personas that go beyond simple demographics to include interests, affinities, preferences, and where they are on the buyer’s journey. This information allows brands to tailor their communications to the specific needs and values of their followers, making their messages more appealing and persuasive.

Identifying Influencers

The top Twitter users in any vertical or niche typically have a lot of credibility. By identifying and building relationships with influencers, brands can increase their reach and exposure to their target audience. This is one of the key strategies that marketers are employing in their social media plans, and one that has the potential to increase a brand’s audience and trust dramatically.

Using Twitter lists can help marketers keep an eye on influencers in their field and build interactions into their daily routine. Regular retweets, favourites and replies will help to ensure that communications are friendly and relaxed when it comes time to ask for a favour like a retweet, a guest post or an endorsement.

Building Communities

With a network of 302 million monthly active users, the social media platform gives brands access to a wide range of people and businesses. By taking advantage of Twitter’s real-time posts and rich data, brands can paint a detailed picture of their audience and connect with customers and colleagues. Brands can build communities on Twitter by hosting Twitter chats, providing valuable content, engaging in conversations and more.

Targeting the right audience and focusing on developing long-term, value-based relationships with them will establish a brand as a leader, build trust, and can ultimately contribute to the bottom line.