1. Listen more than you post – Too many people only post on Twitter without reading what their followers are doing. If you spend a few minutes a day reading what others are up to, and responding to what you think is even mildly interesting, you’ll both have a lot more posts and show that you’re someone who is worth keeping up with.
2. Don’t automate you posts – I go off on this a lot, but it really can’t be overstated. Relying on tools to send “thank you” messages to anyone who follows you, or having feeds create posts for you shows you really don’t want to engage anyone on Twitter. If you need to use these, Twitter probably isn’t for you anyway.
3. Connect every service you can to your account – This may sound like it flies in the face of the last bit of advice, but it doesn’t. Posting from an automated feed means you’re never responsible for what gets posted. But when you post from other services like YouTube, Foursquare, Yelp, blogs or news sites, you’re sharing something you yourself found interesting.
Keep in mind, with the new Twitter layout, people can view some of your content without leaving the site. So people will appreciate the YouTube videos or Flickr pictures you share with them.
4. Share things that are fun – If you only post links to your latest blog post and your company’s latest promotion, you’ll be boring and no one will want to engage with you. Don’t be afraid to have fun with Twitter. Post pictures of places you’d rather be, or links to funny stories you find, or just something you over heard. If it’s interesting to you, it will be interesting to someone else.
5. Don’t be afraid to retweet – This also gives you something to post, and shows the person you’re retweeting that you’re listening. It has the added advantage of not requiring you to come up with something to say. If you’re not big on actually writing posts, that’s a pretty neat deal.
6. Make a list of your favorite followers – After a while you’ll probably follow a lot more people than you actually interact with. That’s okay, but you should keep a list of the people who you do interact with often, and who respond to you. They may need your help reposting something some day, and could help you out doing the same thing if you need to get the word out about something.
7. Don’t just follow anyone – On Twitter, you are who you follow. If you are following a lot of company profiles that never interact with anyone, that’s going to be how you experience the site. Don’t follow someone just because they follow you. If they don’t post anything of interest to you, forget about them. Maybe they’ll unfollow you later for not returning the favor – but if all they do is promote their own products, who cares?
8. Use hashtags – Sometimes a conversation topic will turn up on your profile page as trending:
If there’s something in there that you’re into, use the hashtag yourself and join in the conversation.
9. Spend 15 minutes a day with Twitter – You don’t have to do this all at once, either. Go to Twitter for 5 minutes in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening. Then Devote yourself to reading other people’s posts, writing responses, retweeting, and adding anything you feel like to your feed.
10. Don’t worry about how many people follow you – Again, I’ve touched on this before. Don’t think about how many people are following you, but how many people engage with you. Social media is a bad place for broadcasting. It works best when you’re communicating with people one-on-one. That’s what Twitter is best for, and it’s really how you should be using it.