Using Twitter Lists: A Small Business Guide

Twitter is a universe of its own. It has its own jargon, its own toolset, its own population. It is geeky cool and beloved by Gen X, journalists, and politicians.

Here at The Blueprint, we have a few writers in the areas of digital marketing and e-commerce. Wouldn’t it be good to put them on a list on Twitter?

Overview: What is a Twitter List?

A Twitter List is like a Twitter account that can be followed and can follow other accounts, only it doesn’t have a handle, and it is a subcomponent of a Twitter account. It has a name, perhaps a description, and it can be either private or public.

When it is private, only the user who is logged into the Twitter account can see it. When it is public, everyone can see it, follow it, and search for it.

How to create a Twitter List

Creating lists on Twitter is done in a few clicks. The exact procedure depends on the device and operating system you’re using.

Three screenshots show how to create a Twitter List on Apple, Android, or Desktop platforms.

To create a Twitter List, select Lists in the application, provide a name and a description, add people to the list, and you’re done. Source: Twitter.

6 ways to use Twitter Lists to benefit your business

Some consider Twitter Lists the hidden gem of Twitter. By using Twitter Lists, you can do things that may surprise you. And there are practically no limits. You can use all of the approaches below if you like since the maximum number of lists a Twitter account can have is 1,000.

1. Set up a Twitter List of The Blueprint writers

If you’re interested in Twitter Lists, you may also be interested in other digital marketing and e-commerce topics. The Blueprint writers who publish articles at a frequent rate also write other content you may find appealing, and there’s a good chance they tweet about it. Let’s set up a list with them on it.

A screenshot of the logo, name, and description screen on Twitter.

Creating a list using a logo or image and giving it an attractive name and description makes people want to follow it. Source: Twitter.

A screenshot showing members of the Twitter List of The Blueprint’s social media and e-commerce writers.

The created Twitter List of The Blueprint’s writers who cover social media and e-commerce. Source: Twitter.

You are welcome to follow the list here:

2. Community building

One of the most powerful strategies on Twitter is creating a community. It’s about following, but it’s also about interactions and engagement.

By sourcing lists of accounts you consider following, you can use Twitter Lists as a workflow tool and go through them at a later stage to decide whether to follow or not and see if they follow you back.

To create high levels of social media engagement, you need great content and great community management skills. Twitter Lists can help. By creating private lists of “tweeps” — or Twitter followers — who often engage with your content, you can keep an eye on them and be sure to also interact when they post.

Lists can also be used for sharing and showing. Create a list of thought leaders’ Twitter accounts in your space and share it with your audience to follow. This will give them a place to look for market trends and inspiration.

Another great use of lists is when you tie events into your social media strategy. When users register online and share their Twitter handle, you can automate their addition to a specific Twitter List you prepared for the purpose using a tool such as Zapier.

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3. Business intelligence

Twitter is great for research. You can easily find Twitter Lists on specific topics, events, persons, or places. Some social media tools — Hootsuite, for example — allow you to monitor Twitter Lists inside their interface.

Monitoring the right Twitter Lists or creating lists for monitoring purposes can allow you to detect social media trends in your area of interest.

You can also set up a list with all your competitors and monitor their activity in one place. This will allow you to identify product launches and client events and analyze their commercial strategies.

4. Brand monitoring

Conversations about your brand will take place on social media, whether you are active there or not. To understand where conversations about your brand are taking place, you can use social listening tools.

They allow you to identify brand mentions when they happen in any Twitter post and make it easy to respond.

5. Follower segmentation

As part of a social media strategy, there is often a segmentation on the basis of personas or geography. Using Twitter Lists, you can apply this segmentation to your own followers.

This may multiply the volume of data you handle, but various Twitter Lists manager tools exist, allowing you to keep track of them if you’re starting to lose control. A tool such as Hootsuite also allows you to manage Twitter Lists with its Streams feature.

Another useful segmentation of your followers could be based on their level of engagement. You can put people who retweet or comment on your posts on a specific list. You can also keep track of live tweeters, influencers, or participants in a specific Twitter chat in other lists.

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If the lists are for sharing with your audience, make them public. If they are for your own management and information, keep them private.

6. Social selling

Social selling is using social networks to identify prospects and engaging with them over social media. It’s a common part of networking and has been around since the early days of social networks. What has changed is the level of automation social sellers use.

If you’ve been contacted in spammy or erroneous ways, it’s probably due to overuse of automation or an insufficient level of digital maturity on the part of the social seller. Or it could be both.

There are many approaches to social selling. In some cases, an advertising campaign is the source of establishing first contacts and, during the campaign, new followers will be followed up individually during the campaign.

Automation can be very helpful in this process. With Zapier, you can automatically add new followers to a list. The tool also allows you to build lists from Twitter search results.

With regard to the digital maturity of the social seller, it’s important to observe best practices on Twitter and be respectful and qualitative in your approach. Anyone can do social selling, with or without specific tools, but Twitter Lists can come in really handy in the process.

You may not be using Twitter Lists enough

We have looked at six useful and practical ways of using Twitter Lists in various areas of your business. If you’re actively using Twitter in your social media strategy, chances are you’re probably not using Twitter Lists enough.

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