Free Pro Tip (tm) from me:
If you are trying to advertise Mastodon to someone who is frustrated with Twitter, start with talking about Mastodon's strengths instead of Twitter's weaknesses.
In a similar vein, if you are introducing Mastodon to someone who doesn't really do micro-blogging but has heard of Twitter, emphasise Mastodon's strengths instead of Twitter's weaknesses.
This I find is a better way to convince people.
I use a similar approach on the rare occasions I champion any free software. At some point it needs to stand in its own merits beyond being a $PROPRIETARYTHING alternative.
@staticsafe for example: "You could try to use this blog to share the emerging underground Kawaii culture from the federated social networks (or P2P or blockchain)"
and focus on nice people. If you don't know yet ask or tell them that mastodon in anti-cap, has cw so that it's a great party for many people, that everyone dislikes nazis here, that it's build to limit harrasm.....still listening?
For nice people (if they are into social networks and such) that might be already enough of an argument to join.
You can use your instance's federated timeline to find users to follow.
You can search hashtags like #inktober in the search bar.
You can also put URLs of users in the search bar and your instance will pull the user to your 3rd/4th column and you can interact with them directly from there.
Make sure to check out the Preferences page for anything you might want to change.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask, I or others can answer them.
@duvjones good question.
As you mentioned, I agree that the instances themselves are a very compelling strength.
Another thing that I think is a strength is that it is software that respects the user, it doesn't badger you with notifications to "engage", it doesn't care about those "metrics".
It is software that when it asks you, "What's on your mind?" does not have an ulterior motive beyond just that question, like a good friend.