Turns out that I'm the wrong person to ask because I've been going about it all wrong mostly. Luckily, I got clued in by some SEO experts at work:
- Think of Twitter as a cocktail party. Join in the conversation when the topic appeals to you.
- Thank, as any polite person would, any one who tweets about you or retweets your messages. That's right; just send some love out there right back at them.
- Your tweets should be a combination of outbound messages (ie shameless self promotion), retweets of interesting content you want to share with your audience, and messages to respond to other tweets.
- Grow your Twitter audience by following people. A lot of them will follow you back. After a decent interval (of 72 hours to one week), unfollow those folks who don't follow back and go after a new batch. I noticed the more targeted the audience you seek, the better the follow back rate.
- Eventually, Twitter will cap your ratio of Whom You Follow: Who Follow You Back so max it out while you can. The first cap comes at 2000. Before that, you can follow up to 850ish more than your followers.
- Tweetdeck is a great and free tool to help you keep track of relevant Tweets. It tracks your mentions. You can set it up to track Twitter lists or key words.
- Oh, and that pesky # symbol. #word is a kind of "index" to track categories or topics. You can make up your own or research existing #categories first. For example, you may care about CincodeMayo so you want to track #cincodemayo. But maybe the category you really care about is #MexicanHolidays.
I wish I could add more, but that is all I know at the moment.
Oh, one last tip. I use http://twitterkarma to unfollow those who don't follow me back. It's free and it works fine but it's a little labor intensive and the site can be down a fair amount.
Type A Parenting for the Modern World
I blog on parenting, education and children's literature