First, "How to Twitter like a Pro." There are some great tips here on how to get your feet wet in Twitter.
- Use a Twitter client - This is a piece of software that you download and install on your computer. When you set it up with your Twitter account, it will connect to Twitter's API, instead of you needing to go to Twitter's website to see/post tweets. Some popular apps are Tweetdeck (allows you to set up groups of friends), Twhirl and DestroyTwitter. These apps have a rich interface and make Twitter immensely more enjoyable and efficient. If you have questions about using these apps, please let me know. I'll be glad to help.
- Complete your profile - Make sure you put your name (or your org's name), a link to your website or blog and include a brief bio of you or your org. You may also want to create a custom Twitter background of your logo or a picture to help tell people more about you. Your Twitter profile is what most people use when determining if they should follow you. Give them some insight into you or your organization.
- Jump in and Tweet - Be sure you're adding to the conversation or starting new ones. Retweet items that you find interested or useful and praise your followers for their business achievements, blog posts, successful events, etc.
This brings up a good point. You can (and probably should) have Twitter accounts for yourself and your chamber. And, you should also have multiple staff using Twitter so you can connect to more/different businesses and have multiple conversations. (Many of the apps mentioned above allow you to manage multiple accounts)
The Loveland CO Chamber has a chamber account (in addition to Brian's above) and several of their staff use it, too. What if your entire staff was using Twitter? How many additional conversations could you have? How many new relationships could you build?
Now, after you've been using Twitter for a while, you will naturally find other people who you'd like to follow and you'll be followed by Twitter users you've never met. How do decide who to follow back? Do you follow everyone just to "be nice." Check out these post on creating following guidelines: The Twitter Followhollic: An Epidemic and If you were stuck on a desert island, and could only follow 150 people on Twitter, who would you follow and why?
Don't feel like you have to follow everyone that follows you. Remember, though, that you are using Twitter to have converstations with your chamber of commerce members and to find potential new members as well. Follow the people that you want to have active conversations with and stay focused on your Twitter goals.
Here are a few more Twitter resources: