Once your Twitter account has been up and running for a while, you’ll start to accumulate quite a few accounts that you’re following. It quickly becomes unmanageable to simply look at your timeline to see interesting tweets. To better manage your time, you should organize important accounts you want to follow into Lists. We’ll review how to do it, as well as some great benefits and ways to use Lists for your business.
Twitter lists simply groups of Twitter accounts that you’re following. By looking at a list, you essentially filter your timeline to only those Tweets that your list members have posted.
To create a list, log into your Twitter account and look for the person icon in the upper right corner, next to the Search field. Click Lists and you’ll see any lists you’ve already created, and a button to Create List. Select Create List.
You can name your list whatever you want, and include a description if you wish. You can also choose whether or not you want other Twitter users to be able to see your list by making it Public. Click Save List when finished.
Next, any time you see a tweet from someone you want to add to your list, click on their picture or Twitter name. When the window pops out to the right, you’ll see a bar that says whether or not you’re following that individual, with a mail icon and a person icon to the right of that. Click the person icon and you’ll see a drop down list of choices that includes Add To List. Select that link and a popup window will open with your lists that you can select, as well as a button to add a new list if you wish.
Once you have one or more lists created and some Twitter users assigned to your lists, you can use the Lists drop down to see your lists and select one to view updates from only those users.
First, the obvious use of Lists is to filter your Twitter timeline into a much more reasonable set of posts. The list of users that you’re following can get into the thousands depending on your follow policy, and reading the random Tweets of all those users just isn’t practical.
Businesses can follow their clients and organize them into a Client list or even lists by industry or area. For some, this will actually result in a bit of promotion for your clients if your lists are public and you have a lot of followers.
Businesses should follow experts in their industry and file those users into relevant lists. Not only will this help make sure you see posts that you know will be helpful and informative to you, you’ll also be able to use these lists as sources of information that you can share and ReTweet to your followers.
Businesses can organize Lists that contain individuals and resources that their clients should be following, and share those lists with clients. For example, I maintain a list of Social Media experts on Twitter that I find helpful and would encourage my own clients to follow, and can share the link to see them at https://twitter.com/#!/mike_allton/social-media.
Make sure that if you create a Public list with the idea that others may follow your list, include your own Twitter account in the list so they’ll be sure to follow you too (note that you’ll need to use Tweet Deck or HootSuite to perform this action). Create a few lists for yourself and see for yourself how convenient they can be, and let us know if you other ideas on how to use your new lists!