So you’ve joined Twitter because you know it can help your business. Your friends and  colleagues have told you about some people that are worth following, so you’ve gone through  the motions and added them to your list of followers. Now what?

Well, now it’s time to join the conversation. But how? I mean, you can’t just jump in and start  talking in someone else’s conversation, can you?

According to Erica Ehm, the former MuchMusic VJ know as @YummyMummyClub on  Twitter, you can, and you must.

“The weird thing about Twitter is that if you start tweeting and someone jumps into your  conversation, it’s not rude. In fact, if you’re on Twitter, and you don’t jump in to the conversation, you’re not really on Twitter.”

Being a part of the conversation is vital at every stage of the development of your social media strategy.

For beginners, it offers the chance to become a part of the conversation. By adding content that is beneficial to the ongoing conversation, you position yourself as knowledgeable in the subject being discussed, which has the very real potential of leading to new followers.

For social media users in that middle ground, established but looking to expand, it gives you the opportunity to reach out to new networks by providing a different perspective that has not yet entered the conversation. That’s a perspective that both attracts new followers, and helps maintain current ones.

For social media pros, that’s how they stay pros; by constantly providing valuable contributions to several online conversations.

Don’t forget that being part of the conversation also means listening. By talking, and listening, you give people reasons to get interested in what you have to say.

Being a part of the conversation is what Erica Ehm has done since joining Twitter in January of 2009, and there are few people that have had greater success than her using the social media platform. Be part of the conversation, provide value, and watch your followers grow.

Want to hear other great advice from Erica? Check out her video from Tweetstock 6 – Twitter is an Ongoing Conversation.