I have been on Twitter for over a year now. You can follow me here. I am a huge fan of the service but I am very particular and steadfast with my own personal “terms of usage”. Why? Like many, as much as I’d like to hang around and chat, I don’t quite have the time for it. But, I like to network and the benefits it brings. Clearly, Twitter is a perfect tool for that, provided you show some discipline.

1st… I define success on Twitter in the following manner:

  1. I need to learn from using it
  2. I need to meet people (virtually & physically) that will add value to my world
  3. I need to be able to add value to people’s worlds
  4. I can’t waste a lot of time trying to succeed in 1-3

That’s it. Success is not # of followers or tweets or whatever.

So this is how I personally achieve that:

  1. I thoroughly review every person I follow by:
    1. Scanning several pages of their Tweets
    2. Checking out their website (minus points for no site – a bit unfair for those w/o)
    3. Reading their Bio (minus for none…c’mon, give us a Bio!)
    4. Quickly & lo0sely interpret their stats
      1. Follower/follow ratio – does it appear a bot is involved?
      2. # updates – are they adding value?
      3. @ frequency – are they engaging or preaching?
    5. Are they relevant to my world & business. If not are they so interesting I should follow them regardless?
  2. Having accomplished #1, I can make a follow decision. The key is that I want my “stream” to be as high quality as possible
  3. Tweet practices
    1. I feel I must combine sincere engagement with value adding to the stream. That means starting conversations as well as simply providing information
    2. I also feel it important to add small doses of a more personal side of me to give myself a human face and some character, otherwise I become a bot as well.
    3. Never personally attack, frequently disagree…with respect. It pays huge dividends.
    4. I generate at least half my follow list from @ replies to people whom I respect greatly. There’s a huge correlation to quality that way.
  4. Important: Every few days I cull the herd. It’s a combination of unfollowing those whose Tweets you have just come to find of no value (regardless of topic) and going through my following list and removing those I have no recollection of ever seeing an update from. Sounds a bit harsh but it sure does produce one quality stream.

So… How are my results? Well, I was able to find…or, rather stumble upon, evaluate and hire our PR firm ( @missusp’s shop). Home run. I have been able to find development work and creative as well ( @mikegermano’s shop). I have found several business deals and been approached by several others. I have been contacted for old and new media stories in various areas. This isn’t a backslapping session. It’s just the result of sage advice I read on the wise blogs of some wise people I follow religiously (@dherman76, @queenofspain, @aaronstrout, to name a few)

The bottom line is that being genuine, sincere, thorough and yourself pays huge dividends on Twitter.

What are your methods of success as you define them?