Audience quality plays a critical role now and gone are the days people look for only followers. It is quite difficult to manage too many followers if you are looking for conversations and quality engagement.
Building a personal critical mass is an organic activity with continuous presence in the community, participating in the events like Twitter chats, and sharing what you are passionate about and connecting/making lasting relationships. There are no shortcuts here.
Every brand needs to spend time in strategizing what their online presence should look like, the tone and persona. That accounts for 50% of the effort required to succeed. 25% of the effort will be human based. We should not forget that there is a human being behind a brand’s Twitter handle. The remaining 25% of the effort is dependent on what tools you use to be productive.
Business goals should be part of any strategy exercise a business would do. However, success on social media shouldn’t be measured in terms of revenue $$ as the sole reason for being on Twitter or other networks is to be part of the community, developing relationships and listening to others and participating in the appropriate conversations we can add value. One can certainly do campaigns, contests and polls to drive traffic to their web site, but that shouldn’t be the primary reason you want to be using social media.
Any type of contribution to the community whether it is a retweet or original content/thoughts is certainly adding value to the community as long as one adopts the thought he/she is sharing and have that emotional connection.
If you are just getting started, you should be online with some consistency, follow people who are talking about the topics you are interested in and participate where you can add value.