Tweeting is one of those social media channels that works really well for some people, and for others just feels like a fire hose of information, often irrelevant. But used correctly, it's a great news source on whatever topics you choose to follow, and it's also a great way to build your online reputation as a subject matter expert on whatever topic(s) you choose.
So here are my ten Twitter tips:
1) Be relevant and post regularly. If you're going to tweet about high tech and backpacking, then stay focused on high tech and backpacking blogs, photos, opinions, articles, websites. Most of us aren't Justin Bieber or President Obama, so relevance is important to us non-celebrities. And if you only tweet once or twice a week, you're not going to be noticed.
2) Thank those who retweet your tweets and mention you. It takes just a couple of minutes and it's the polite and neighborly thing to do, and it helps build relationships.
3) Be judicious about who you follow as you're building your following. It looks very fishy (spam alert) when you're following 592 Twitter accounts, but you're only being followed by 2.
4) Check links before retweeting them. Make sure they're legitimate and referring back to tip #1 above, that they're relevant to your topics of interest and expertise. Use a link shortener such as bit.ly or tinyURL or you'll quickly run out of characters just on the link.
5) Do hashtag searches on the topics that you're tweeting about. You'll find some content gems. And use #hashtags when you can. It makes your tweets easier to find for someone who's searching on that particular topic.
6) If you find relevant tweets, RT (retweet) or HT (heard through) them, giving the originators credit. It's the neighborly thing to do. Don't be surprised if you see the same tweets originated by multiple tweeters. Some days are very slow news days.
7) Remember that you only have 140 characters. If you continuously max out your characters, those who want to RT you are going to have to edit. Target 120 character tweets, so that retweeters can easily add RT @yourname without going over 140 characters.
8) Post your Twitter ID everywhere you can -- email signature, business cards, blog, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.
9) Add your Twitter feed to your blog if you have one and your LinkedIn profile (of course you have one, right?). It shows your expertise and relevance.
10) Don't automatically add your Twitter feed to your Facebook profile. The hashtags irritate non-Twitter users, and why be limited by 140 characters when you can use 420 on Facebook.