Note paper with Twitter Lists written on

Twitter lists – I couldn’t live without ‘em. Why?

They stop you feeling overwhelmed.  Once you’re following more than a couple of hundred people on Twitter your stream will be a big mass of tweets unless you sort them into lists.

They help you to engage effectively, by enabling you to keep track of the people you follow.

You can focus on the people you want to influence by putting them in a list (or lists).

So how do you use Twitter lists?

Get into the habit, every time you follow someone, of putting them in a list.  You do this by clicking on their Twitter handle, then on the ‘person’ icon next to the follow button their account, and select ‘add or remove from lists’.   You can add 500 users to a list, and the lists can be either private or public.  To find out more about setting up lists see Twitter’s help on the subject – it’s really easy.

Adding a user to a Twitter list

You don’t have to follow someone to put them in a list – great for keeping up to date with your competitors!  And you can share and follow other people’s public lists as well.

To view your lists, simply click on the Me section of your account and select Lists.  You’ll see all your lists and can open each one to view the tweets within.

You can also see which public lists you are a member of – this is great for checking that you are getting across the right messages in your tweets.  If you’re an accountant and you find yourself being added to lists of ‘gardening experts’ that might be a clue that you’re not tweeting about the right things!

People love to see that they’re a member of  a list, so consider making one or more of your lists public – ‘social media experts’, or ‘Bristol followers’ for example would be really helpful for others who follow you.

Gaining influence

One of the main advantages of using lists is that it helps you to focus on the users who you want to gain influence with. Create a list of all these people (for more advice on how to work out who they are, see this great article on how to find influential people with social media) and make sure you engage with them on a regular basis.  You can also use Socialbro to identify your influential peeps – it has a great section in the dashboard which identifies the influential users who follow you.  Put them in a list!

Treat your most important lists like gold dust – they are the key tool in making your Twitter usage a  success.

Once you get into the swing of lists, you’ll probably want to use a free programme like Hootsuite.  This lets you create a stream for each list, so you don’t have to keep switching back and forth between them.

How do you use Twitter lists?  Have you found them useful?  Do let me know.