Twitter lists are a great way to organise the users you’re following on Twitter into manageable groups and keep tabs on what they’re tweeting about.
Instead of trying to keep up with the constantly updating stream of babble on your Twitter home page, you can selectively scroll through categorised lists of users you’re interested in. This makes it easier to interact with people or businesses who are tweeting about things relevant to your interests.
It’s a massive time-saver – one that could save you from scrolling through hundreds of inane tweets to find the stuff that’s pertinent to you.
So, if you’ve yet to make your own Twitter lists, what are you waiting for? Here’s how to do it, and do it well.
How to make Twitter lists
To start using Twitter lists, navigate your way to the lists section on your profile and click the ‘Create a new list’ button. Give the list a name and description, then choose whether you want it to be public or private.
Make as many lists as you need – for example, if you run a small business, you might like to make separate lists containing your regular customers, your suppliers and other entrepreneurs in your network.
Adding new members to your lists is as simple as clicking on their profile, selecting the gear icon and choosing ‘Add or remove from lists.’ Tick the boxes of the lists you want to add each user to, and you’re done.
Remember to add new list members whenever you come across relevant users – this will keep your conversations fresh and your audience growing.
Public or private?
Depending on what you’ll be using your lists for, you may wish to publish them for everyone to see, or keep them private so that only you can see them.
It’s advisable to keep at least a few of your lists public. Not only will each public list member receive a Twitter notification when you add them (thereby increasing the number of people aware of your online presence), it also allows other users to subscribe to your lists, broadening your Twitter network and drawing your attention to potentially lucrative contacts.
In fact, creating list categories that other users might be interested in (for example, ‘Food bloggers in Cardiff’ or ‘Independent businesses in Bristol’) is a totally legitimate strategy for growing your social media audience. The more relevant conversations taking place within your lists, the more opportunities you have to introduce yourself to likeminded users.
Of course, certain lists are best kept private. Examples might include competitor businesses who you want to keep an eye on, or a list of prospective clients who you’re aiming to approach in the near future. Don’t sweat it – keep these private, and they’ll be your little secret.
Managing your Twitter lists
Twitter lists become even more useful if you use a social media dashboard application such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. You can use these programs to create columns for each list you’ve made, allowing you to view multiple lists at once and keep track of the latest updates as they happen.
A word of warning, though: there’s a fine line between staying on top of what’s happening in your Twitter lists and obsessively refreshing for updates every five minutes, preventing you from doing other important things. The cool thing about lists is being able to filter out the unimportant stuff and focus on users who have genuinely interesting things to say.
To prevent your lists from becoming as cluttered and chaotic as your Twitter home page, be selective about who you add to them. If you’ve unknowingly added a spammy tweeter who’s taken over your list with tedious updates, don’t feel bad about removing them. This will help to restore order and reconnect you with the users you can rely on for relevant online chatter.
By regularly trimming your lists down to a core number of quality users, you should only need to check your lists two or three times a day. Goodbye unproductive social media scrolling; hello meaningful Twitter conversations!
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