I’ve never been the most social of people. Working at home suits me well because of that, in part. This makes dealing with social media sites such as Twitter challenging for me. It’s hard to know what to say sometimes.

This is a problem for a lot of people. But you can work with these sites if you come up with a good routine.

Remember the Social in Social Media

The first thing to remember is that these are social websites. Yes, I know that’s a big part of the problem. It’s also a part of the solution.

You see, people like it when you retweet them. They like it when you respond.

You can’t be too random about this, and I really do not suggest automating this, not that it would be easy to automate anyhow.

Set up a schedule for how many times a day you want to look for someone to reply to or retweet. You don’t want this to take up too much of your day or you won’t get other kinds of online marketing or business work done, but you should set aside some time. Just look through the tweets you have recently received from others and see what gets your attention.

You should pay attention for a little while after you reply to someone in case they reply back, of course. There can be some great networking going on with these sites, but you’ll miss out if you never reply back to people.

Plan Topics for Your Tweets

I like to keep my tweeting natural and not plan out specific tweets in advance, although some people do that. Instead I figure out what topics I should be tweeting about for each account, and if I come across something, it can be tweeted. It can be things I’m working on, things the kids are up to, questions I have, and so forth.

If you want to schedule a tweet, you can do that with sites such as HootSuite. This has its uses, but I don’t like it so well for regular tweets. It can be handy if you’re posting something and want to make sure it’s seen at the right time in different time zones.

Tweet Your Blog Posts

One thing I do like to schedule is the tweeting of my blog posts. It makes sense to me. You can do this manually as well, but sites such as TwitterFeed make it easy to schedule them.

If you’re lucky, your blog post will get some Twitter attention, maybe some retweets and visitors to your site.

One thing that is important is to remember that tweeting your blog posts is not the only thing you should be doing on Twitter. You’re not being very social if you do. On the other hand, if that’s all you want to do with that particular account, people will catch on and decide for themselves if you are worth following. Some do use Twitter to replace following RSS feeds in a reader.

Follow Others

There are a few ways to get followers, but it starts with following others.

Find people who share your interests and tweet interesting things. Not only will this make Twitter more fun for you, it makes it easier to find things to reply to or retweet. Why follow anyone who bores you? You can use Twitter directories to find people with similar interests.

You’ll get new followers pretty much no matter what you do yourself. Some say follow all of them back, I disagree. I follow back only if they’re interesting. Otherwise I’d be following far too many spam accounts to see what the real people are doing.

Some also say to unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow you back. Once again, I disagree. I’ll follow those who find me interesting, no matter if they choose to follow me or not. We all have our own criteria for what makes a good Twitter experience. Following people is a great way to get them to at least look at your Twitter account, and so it can increase the number of followers you have.

There are people who like to direct messsage people who follow them. That’s not a recommendation I would give, doubly so if it’s done automatically, triply if you DM them with an ad for your site or product. Send direct messages when you have something to say privately. Doing it wrong irritates people and can get you labeled as a spammer.

Forget the Numbers Game… to an Extent

Success in social media is in large part a numbers game, but don’t focus just on your numbers. Following just anyone isn’t going to help you. Following people who might be in your target market may help you. As many other things, quality beats quantity.

You want to build your numbers up some by following others, but your best results will come from being interesting. Even when this doesn’t come naturally to you, it must be your focus.

You don’t need to be an absolute chatterbox to use Twitter. Just tweet helpful and interesting things. This sounds easier than it is, but once you build the habits it’s not too difficult. You’re a real person and that should come across in your tweets.