Creating a successful and influential ‘Me 2.0′ persona presupposes a strategic use of the social media. Since our objectives and goals are multifarious, it is up to each and every one of us to make a number of well-thought-out decisions in the social networks to ensure that how we want to be perceived, how we want to communicate and the kind of community we want to build and interact with become a reality we can embrace and feel proud of. At the end of the day, our social media persona is a direct extension of ourselves visible to the whole world through the World Wide Web; and with all the risks, challenges and wonderful opportunities this entails.

One of the most readily available and real-time buzz-generating social networks you can’t do without for personal branding purposes is Twitter. And yet the manifold advantages that can be derived from Twitter will only be within your reach if you are able to carefully steer the course of your profile building, your follow-back policy and your day-to-day tweets among other key ingredients. The use you make of the ever-popular microblog should reflect your personality, your values and your communication style in a way that reinforces your brand and puts across a clear and consistent message underscoring what you are all about and how you can contribute to your current or future organization and your community. Luckily for us there is ample room for all to develop their own Twitter style without sacrificing their idiosyncrasy or uniqueness.

Perhaps one the most salient differences across the Tweetosphere is the chasm between those who (as a norm) follow back and those who don’t. Without wanting to sound dismissive of those who choose differently, I want to argue here that for most of us following back is usually the best standard policy. Let me hasten to add that we all evidently retain the right of admission, and will be perfectly justified to not follow individual Twitter accounts that appear to be offensive, malicious or downright uninteresting.

Let me share with you the ten reasons why, enjoying to the full my freedom of action in Twitterland, I have chosen to follow back on Twitter and believe you should follow back too:

  1. I seek to interact and not just churn out messages
  2. I want to transmit that I am interested in other people’s tweets
  3. Most of my referents follow back (e.g. Dan Schawbel)
  4. I don’t want to come across as a guru
  5. I use Twitter both for personal and professional purposes
  6. I enjoy reading my followers’ tweets as much as writing my own
  7. Online networking and socializing are an integral part of my strategy
  8. I come across revelant information I would not find otherwise
  9. It is easy to unfollow if someone does not turn out to be what you expected
  10. I need to honor my Klout ‘conversationalist‘ profile

No other social network has been more instrumental in the building of my online brand than Twitter. And following back has been the cornerstone of my Twitter success. I encourage you to share the reasons why you agree, are ambivalent on the issue or disagree with me and do or do not follow back in the ‘comments’ section. I also encourage you to get a grip on Twitter and use it to the full in a determined and brave attempt to reach out to others and make your personal and professional dreams come true.

Author: Oscar Del Santo is a lecturer, key speaker, blogger and populariser of online reputation and inbound marketing in Spain. He has been extensively featured in the Spanish and Latin American media and is a regular contributor to several TV and radio programs. He was recently awarded the #TwitawardSV for his participation in El Salvador’s Social Media Day, has been included in the ‘Top 70 Spanish Tweeters’ list and is the author of ‘Reputacion Online para Tod@s’.