1. Decide why you're on twitter
I know this sounds like a no brainer, but often I hear people say they're on twitter because they feel they have to be, rather than through any particular plan to engage potential customers, build a brand, share ideas, gather news - the possibilities are endless. Having a purpose in mind, directs who you follow, what you tweet and how much time you need to devote to this addictive little tool. What's yours?
2. Make your twitter presence visible
How many people know that you're on twitter? If your twitter name doesn't appear on your business card, email signature, website, LinkedIn page, voicemail message etc. etc. etc. then you're missing some great opportunities. Helping people to know you're there also adds a little personal pressure to keep your twitter stream active .....
3. Be more interesting
This is a note to self as much as anything else, but tweeting about the same old subjects in the same old way, can take all the fun out of twitter. Broaden your horizons, look for trending topics (change country for even more variety), or search for complementary ideas that are likely to be interesting to your followers. The more you inform, engage and entertain, the more your following will grow.
4. Rerun past tweets
Twitter is more like TV than blogging. People don't tend to read a twitter stream from beginning to end, so you shouldn't be afraid to intersperse your new tweets, with old ones. Good content is always worth revisiting and if you don't recycle once in a while, your newest followers won't get the full benefit of your tweeting skills. Rerun your best tweets, but not so often that you sound like a broken record. Not sure what your best tweets are? Take a look at My Top Tweet.
5. Aim for retweets
It's not about how many followers you have, but rather how much they value your input. Getting a retweet is like an endorsement. It shows that others agree with your stance enough to share it with their followers. This is how authority is built. Think about how and what you like to retweet and fill your stream with similar nuggets. Hubspot have a great post on how to get retweets.
6. Use hashtags
Hashtags (which look like this # - see the trend boxes above for ideas), let twitter know what your tweet is about and help categorise it for others to find. If you type a word or phrase into the twitter search box and prefix it with a hashtag, you'll see who's talking about a particular topic and that can help you decide on the conversations you'd like to join. My own rule of thumb is no more than two hashtags per tweet - more makes it difficult to read.
7. Fake it 'til you make it
Part of the joy of this social media world is knowing that we're all still learning. Like any new skill, the more you practise the better you'll be and there's a wealth of information out there to help you. Here are some of my favourites.
Enjoy, oh and follow me on twitter @vlindsay.