I've been on Twitter for four months now. To give you some statistics, in those four months I've got 694 followers, am following 790 people and have 1487 tweets. Twitter is by far the most valuable network I've ever joined. I have learned a lot in those four months and got links to many great posts and articles. And that is actually the biggest time thief, all those great articles that is linked to and I just have to read. My browser gets filled up with new tabs with articles waiting to be read until it crashes, usually at about 33 tabs :)
If you're new to Twitter and a "no name" like me that doesn't automatically get 1.000 or 10.000 followers when you sign up, you might wonder how you build up your twittership. I got some great tips from Shel Israel the day I started and those have got me far. I try to have the difference between how many I follow and how many follow me as little as possible. If I see someone following 2000 with less than 10 tweets and less than 100 followers, that's in no doubt a spammer. If you want someone to follow you, you have to have the following in place:
1. Your name. Yes, the name your mama and your papa gave you at birth. Names like happyspammer or millioninaminute or any other gimmick names will only brand you as a spammer.
2. Your picture. I wrote a post on avatars and how to choose the right one a few days ago that you can check out, but to sum it up, it should be a facial shot of you, preferably with something memorable to it for easy identification.
3. A link to your blog. If you don't have a blog, link to your LinkedIn profile. If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, it's about time you get one.
4. Bio. Why on earth would you be interesting? Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you're coming from and what you burn for.
5. Sane ratio. Follow about as many as follow you.
6. Tweets. If you have nothing to say, there's no reason to follow. So say something about what you're doing, what you're reading, what you're experiencing. It's important to have a few tweets that are not "my new blog post" repeated over and over again. I have to see that you're giving something to you're fellow twitters.
So what should you tweet? While I have different blogs for my profession, my travels and a lot of blogs in Icelandic about different subjects like cars, environmentalism, design etc., I decided to have all of me on my Twitter account. @hjortur is the professional me, the personal me, the dad, the marketer, the hiker, the traveller, the philosopher. It helps to tweet something interesting, so it helps to have an interesting life. I have gained most followers when shouted out by the big names on Twitter, and when tweeting something that seems to interest people, like live-tweeting a 6.1 earthquake and the birth of my son (and no, these were not made up stories to get more twitter followers, those were actual events).
In the last days, I've come across some really great articles about Twitter and how you can make the most of it, specially for those companies that are trying to figure out how Twitter can be useful. So check these out:
@sugarrae wrote An Actual "Non Big Brand" Twitter Case Study
@Jowyang wrote Why Brands Are Unsuccessful in Twitter
@shelisrael wrote 7 Tips For New Twitter Users
@chrisbrogan wrote 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business
and if that's not enough, I've written a few posts on Twitter too:
Avatars - How to Choose the Right Avatar
Are You a Twittoholic? Take the test!
My First Month on Twitter - What I've Learned
I'm a Twitter Virgin
Tweet you later :)
ps. There's more coming up, so feel free to subscribe to my feed or share via StumbleUpon, digg, Sphinn, del.icio.us or elsewhere.