We have written a lot about Twitter and the Twitter features you should know. But we have so far only scratched the surface about one Twitter feature that has so many valuable benefits that you should really know about it: Twitter lists.
Twitter lists are not a new feature. In fact, ever since I really got familiar with Twitter and Twitter marketing, Twitter lists have been around – and I have used them ever since in one way or another.
Today, I am going to show you how you can create your own Twitter lists – and give you some ideas on how to use the Twitter lists and why they are so important that they deserve their own article.
What are Twitter Lists
A Twitter list is a curated group of Twitter accounts. Every Twitter user can create one or several Twitter lists.
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A Twitter list has a timeline that consists only of tweets from members of the list.
If you are logged into Twitter, you can find your Twitter lists on the left side of your Twitter account (desktop version).
How can you create Twitter lists
Click on the “List” button in the Twitter sidebar on your Twitter desktop. If you have not created any lists, there are no lists here. But you can start right away to create your first list.
Let’s create our first list. For now, let’s make it simple. How about creating a list for all members of The Social Ms and their Twitter accounts. That is me (@dreckbaerfrau), Jonathan (@jogebauer), and The Social Ms (@thesocialms). I will also make this list private for now – this means that only I can view the list.
You can also upload a title image for each of your lists.
So far, our list is empty. A quick search gives me the accounts, I want on the list. Click “Add” to add the account to the list.
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We now have our list with three members.
Each Twitter list has its own feed that only consists of the tweets from members of the list in chronological order. You can watch the feed of this list on Twitter or in tools like Tweetdeck (which is free) or paid tools like Hootsuite or Sproutsocial.
What is a private Twitter list
I already mentioned the option to make a Twitter list public or private (see when we created the Twitter list). A public list can be shared with others, and other Twitter users can follow this list. A private list is just for you.
Share a list
If you want to invite some other people to follow your list, you can easily share it. Just click on the share symbol on the top right of your list.
You can choose from several options to share your Twitter list: You can copy the link, tweet the list, or send a direct message (DM).
How can you find Twitter lists
Not only you have Twitter lists. And it is not just the Twitter lists that you create that you can use.
Other tweeps already have Twitter lists, and you can follow these lists.
For instance, when you are looking for people from your niche, one of the thought leaders from your niche may already have the topic list that you are looking for and save you the time to create it.
Visit the Twitter profile of a thought leader, expert, or influencer from your niche. Click on the three dots on their profile and view the drop-down menu. There are two items for lists on the menu. For now, we are interested in the lists this account has.
You will see a list of lists that they are following. Their own lists can easily be identified via the list owner.
Why are lists from others so interesting? Because you can follow these lists.
For instance, if I want to follow social media influencers and experts, I do not have to create a list of Social media tweeps. I can simply follow the list of social media people that Jeff Bullas already created. And since Jeff Bullas is also following a list of social media people that Lee Odden created, I could follow this list too.
How can you find the Twitter lists that you are on?
But there are more exciting lists you can find here. The lists that this account is listed on – you can find lists that your account is in the same way.
To find these lists, click on the three dots on the top right and then choose “lists they are on.”
When you are new to the Twitter game, you are probably on none or very few lists. As your Twitter account and your Twitter influence grow, you will probably be listed on some topic lists from your niche. These lists may also be of interest to follow for content from your niche.
How to watch multiple Twitter lists
Now you created some Twitter lists for various reasons. You may also have followed a couple of Twitter lists that someone else already created.
How can you watch the lists or rather the feeds of these lists without the need to visit the feed for each list?
The answer is: Use a tool.
If you are using a tool for your social media management like Sprout Social or Hootsuite, you will have to check how they handle lists.
A free tool you can use to easily monitor your Twitter list feeds is the Twitter client Tweetdeck.
Tweetdeck allows you to set up multiple feeds tailored to your needs. In addition to a feed for your notifications, mentions of your account, direct messages, and your home feed, you can add a column for each list that you are following or created.
This way, you can easily monitor all tweets that anyone from your list sends. And you do not have to switch between list feeds on your Twitter app but can watch all the feeds in one place.
How can you use Twitter lists
1. Sort the people you follow into topics
Maybe you are interested in more than one topic. For instance, you are a marketer by day and a trail runner, dog lover, or cook in your spare time. You can follow all these topics on Twitter without cluttering your feed: Use lists.
Simply create a Twitter list for at least some of your topics. Follow trail runners on a trail runner list, dog owners or dog trainers and shops for dog stuff on another.
Now you can take a look at tweets around each topic whenever you are interested in exactly this topic by looking at the feed for the related Twitter list.
2. Collect Twitter accounts
This may make sense in various instances. For instance, if you are creating an expert roundup and want to ask people if they would be willing to participate, you can collect the Twitter accounts on a list and then contact them with a tweet when you are ready.
Or you can collect PR people or bloggers from your niche – or even your competitors to be able to take a quick view of what they are doing on Twitter.
3. Create an engagement Twitter list
Your engaged followers are your most valuable followers. Plus, engagement increases your reach on most social networks as the algorithm these networks use to decide which posts to show to their users largely depends on the engagement posts get.
You can put your most engaged followers on Twitter on a list and engage with them in return. This may well inspire them to respond and keep engaging.
You can also put people you want to engage on a list, and monitor what they are tweeting about. Join the conversation when you can.
4. Connect for an event
You can create a Twitter list for an (online) event. Simply put, all the participants on a Twitter list – you can now monitor the tweets from the participants while the event is taking place.
You can also use Twitter lists if you want to start a Twitter chat. Put all people taking part in the chat on one Twitter list.
In both cases, these Twitter lists could be of temporary interest, and you can delete the list when the even or chat is over.
5. Watch competitors
Monitoring your competitors and checking what they do and what they publish should be part of your online marketing routine.
There is a lot to learn from your competitors.
Following your competitors and how they behave on Twitter now becomes very easy. Simply put your competitors on a list and check the list feed from time to time. It was never easier to spy on your competitors.
6. Find content
Research for relevant content is crucial to online marketing. You want to know what others write about. You need content to fill your social media channels. You want to know which content resonates with your audience.
You can achieve all that by putting Twitter users from your niche, competitors, friends, influencers on a list. Now you can just visit your Twitter feed for this list and instantly find content and see which content gets more engagement.
7. Follow your customers
Your customers may not be all about the topics that interest you. But following them on Twitter can give you valuable insights into which topics they are interest in and other things you want to know about your clients.
8. Connect to family and friends
I admit I am using WhatsApp for this kind of conversation. But that is rather need-driven: When we need to communicate as a family, we write in a WhatsApp group.
I used to connect and stay connected to many people via Facebook. I could just see what my friends and family were up to without having to call them. It is really kind of sad that most of my family and friends are no longer using Facebook this way by giving quick updates about their life events.
You can stay connected with family on Twitter. But since Twitter is so fast living, you will need to use a family-and-friends-Twitter-list, or you will miss most of the friends’ Tweets.
9. See what you want to see – now
The Twitter top tweet feed is sometimes not very helpful. You may simply not get the content you are looking for at the moment you are looking. With Twitter lists, you can create feeds for various topics and monitor the one feed that you want to see right now.
10. Showcase your staff
When you are a larger company, you can showcase your team on a Twitter list. Simply put all their Twitter account on a staff Twitter list.
11. Provide value for your audience
You can create topic lists not only for yourself but also for your audience. I could create a list of Twitter accounts for social media tools. Or a list of the Twitter accounts that tweet around SEO.
A teacher can provide a list of resources for his students.
You get the idea.
12. The I-want-to-connect list
On Twitter, to get the attention of a (larger) account may take some effort. But some people are so important in your niche that making them notice you can be of high value.
You can use a Twitter list to concentrate your engagement and interaction on a couple of accounts you want to connect to.
These can be your dream clients or potential business partners or even bloggers you want to connect to. If you want to get noticed by specific people on Twitter, a list may just be the way to keep up the conversation and connect.
13. Sort people by location
You may run a global business that does local business. In that case, it may be useful to sort your followers into locations. This way, your local people can concentrate on the local conversations all from one global Twitter account.
There are endless more use cases for Twitter lists. The above should just give you some inspiration.
Final Words on Twitter Lists
Twitter lists are not a new feature. In fact, Twitter lists are one of the few features that have not changed very much over the years. And that has an excellent reason: Twitter lists are very useful as they are. They are easy to use, and every Twitter user will find their own unique best practice to use Twitter lists.
No knowing about Twitter lists will make you miss out on some great opportunities with your Twitter marketing.
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