Twitter Lists and why you should use them
Twitter Lists is a topic I’ve been trying to write a post about for some time now, although not actually in the current form (was originally titled “6 Shocking Reasons to use Twitter Lists, but you’ll never guess what happened next…”). The reason it has taken so long for me to complete is not so much a lack of understanding of the topic itself, but rather that I am stuck debating with myself as to the amount of detail to provide. I can either explain every little thing in this post or a series of posts, or make an assumption that you, the person reading this (hopefully…), has used Twitter already, and therefore feels comfortable using and navigating in it. So, this post won’t be useful to everyone, but I will hopefully be able to revisit this topic again in the future once I have more posts out there. I will keep this as broad as I can to just get the below points across, the “how” parts may be something that you have to work out for yourself in greater detail, as what I have seen work, may not work for others campaigns and projects.
Very briefly: Twitter lists are a way of categorising Twitter users through use of custom list names. These can be private or public. Other Twitter users can subscribe to your (public) lists, and when the lists are viewed, only tweets from the users in that list are shown. People can view the members of the list, also.
Get more followers!
Everyone wants more followers, right? It’s the main point of Twitter, especially those who are looking to promote something, such as an upcoming game, portfolio etc. Twitter lists can really help you with gaining followers, but also helps with finding like-minded people to follow and interact with – something which is key to retaining followers.
Using Twitter Lists will get you noticed
Whenever you add someone to a list, they are generally sent a notification to let them know that they were added to a list by you, and shown the name of the list. This can either be an email notification, or an in-feed notification if using a 3rd party tool like Tweetdeck, for example. This is another way to get someone to notice you’re alive after following them, and @ing them. People tend to like being listed, as it shows on their profile how many times they are listed in total – another highscore to keep on top of – and also gives them a good chance of gaining more followers! Chances are that if you list someone, they will check out who else is on the list, as they likely have similar interests. The extra bonus from this comes from other list makers. If you can catch the eye of another user that also keeps good lists, chances are they will list you too, putting you in front of even more similar people!
Now I am not about to lay claims that doing this will get you thousands of new followers per day, or any nonsense like that, but it will give you an increase on your monthly growth, as well as being an interesting topic to include when interacting with your followers – you do that, right? It’s the social bit of all this!
Find others of similar interests
What are your interests?
If you aren’t already listed with anyone else, go find someone you admire or that you look up to within your field; they will most likely be listed in a few places, and you can see which lists they belong to. From here there are many avenues you can take:
- Follow the list makers – Follow them, favourite some of their tweets, say hello and talk to them; get in the lists!
- Follow the list members – Find a decently populated list (which would be of interest to you, or would be interested in your account/brand) and follow the accounts listed; follow-backs will come if those people can make the connection between them and your account; make sure your bio is filled out and contains key words which are related to your field!
- Follow the list subscribers – As with the above, find a decently populated list, but this time check out those subscribing to the list – those people are interested in the people listed, and probably want to know of similar people. Follow for follow-backs!
Lamargo-tip: Although follow-back is actually a thing in the Twitterverse, it’s advisable to not actually use the word/hashtag: “followback” in posts – you will appear desperate and insincere, and would likely attract a crowd that don’t actually take an interest in what you have to share with the world/Twitter, as they tend to be just chasing the Twitter highscores, without thinking or caring about audience quality.
Is it getting a little crowded in here?
A Little Crowded
Once you’ve been on Twitter a while, you start to notice that you are following a lot of people, and your main Twitter feed scrolls like a fruit-machine! In fact, if you are actively adding new followers all the time, you will generally always see a positive gain in follow count. The hip reaction is to trim back who you are following so that it is manageable again, however this won’t help you gain followers, as people tend to not like it when you stop following them, and they will then unfollow you (if/when they notice). So how do you follow 1000’s of people and still get a chance to read tweets as they wizz past? Lists, of course! This is a post about lists after all!
As I mentioned above, when you view a list, it will show you only the tweets from accounts in that list. That will cut down the amount of tweets your scanning through. Here are some examples of how you could use this:
You are following 1000 accounts. For day-to-day, you want to make sure you keep an eye on your close friends tweets, so you create a private list called “Close Friends”, and add your closest buddies. You also have co-workers on Twitter, so you add them to a public list named “Work”. You are also interested in cats (why not?), so you’ve been following the people who post cat pictures (a lot of people…), so you create a list named “Cat stuff”. Now, whenever you want to check on your friends, workmates or cat-obsessed-internet-types, you can quickly filter them out of the mass-influx, without having to unfollow anyone!
There are various tools out there which make keeping an eye on multiple lists a lot easier than the Twitter apps or Twitter.com, such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite – two apps I use loads, although there are plenty more to be adding to your toolbag!
This is just a few of the main reasons for using Twitter Lists, but it should give you a starting point if you’re looking for some encouragement on making a start with curating your own lists. Do you already use lists? What do you use them for? Let me know in the comments.