A recent infographic from an outfit called Brickfish detailed just how massive Twitter has become: 230 million active users worldwide, with 100 million of them logging onto the microblogging platform at least once a day.

That’s a whole lot of people cramming information into 140-character messages.

Here at SpareFoot, we take full advantage of Twitter. Our social media honcho, Matt Stites, corrals all sorts of tidbits and shares them with our more than 4,000 Twitter followers.

This is how Stites explains our approach to Twitter:

We’ve grown a lot in the past few years, but we’re still a scrappy startup at heart, and that translates into the way we engage our audience. Our voice on Twitter is simply an extension of our company culture—meaning fun, friendly, and as edgy as we can get away with.

It’s also important to position ourselves as an authority in our industry and community, which means we only share content with real value to our fans and followers.

For my part, I’ve been a tweeter since February 2009. I remember getting really excited when I attracted just one new follower and when I broke the 100-follower mark. Today, I’m proud to say that more than 3,500 people and organizations follow me on Twitter.

It’s not unusual for me to be asked how I’ve accumulated more than 3,500 followers on Twitter. The short answer: I’ve worked at it. You can’t just let your Twitter account languish and expect to be inundated with followers.

For a startup like SpareFoot or for anyone seeking success in social media, Twitter is a critical tool. Twitter can help build corporate or individual authority and credibility. By the same token, you can look pretty foolish if you don’t use Twitter properly. Here are seven tips to steer you in the right social media direction (with the assumption that you already know what a tweet and a hashtag are).

1. Don’t Obsess Over the Numbers.
As happy as it makes you to reach 100 followers or 1,000 followers or 10,000 followers, don’t pat yourself on the back too much.

“Instead, focus on building relationships with fans who will enjoy and share your content, and your brand will grow naturally from there,” Stites said.

On Twitter, it’s more about quality, not quantity. Who’s following you on Twitter? Are they engaging with you? Are you engaging with them? It’s great to reel in tons of followers, but they’re not doing you much good if you’re not paying attention to them (or vice versa).

2. Don’t Make It All About Your Company or Yourself.
It’s perfectly fine to tweet information from your own website or blog, of course, but make sure you also share information from other sources—even competitors. Blatant selfishness doesn’t go over very well in the Twittersphere.

3. Don’t Follow Everyone Who Follows You.
You’ve got to be selective about who you follow on Twitter. Just because someone “likes” you by following you doesn’t mean you have to follow back. Plus, some of those followers may very well be spammers.

4. Pare Down the Accounts You’re Following.
Last year, you may have followed a Twitter account that you thought was really cool, but today that account is practically dead. Comb through the list of accounts you’re following to determine who’s in and who’s out based on their activity level on Twitter and other factors.

Several online services are available to automate the Twitter cleanup task. These include Tweepi and ManageFlitter.

5. Get Organized.
Honestly, keeping track of all of your Twitter activity can be real pain in the butt. That’s why you need to use a tool like TweetDeck (which is owned by Twitter) or HootSuite to set up a Twitter dashboard.

In my case, I’ve created columns in TweetDeck to track incoming tweets, interactions with Twitter users, direct messages, mentions of SpareFoot and mentions of the phrase “self-storage.” In addition, a sixth column displays tweets I’ve scheduled ahead of time.

6. Be Careful With Your Tweets.
Check your facts, Stites said, and use good grammar. Also, think twice about wading into hot-button topics like politics.

7. Don’t Be a Robot.
Never send auto-response direct messages to new followers. It’s annoying, and it looks very spammy. In fact, Twitter discourages this practice.

To follow SpareFoot on Twitter, visit

To follow me on Twitter, visit