We have talked in the past of how business owners can use the Twitter List functionality to help themselves. In your Twitter account, you can create lists and add Twitter profiles to those lists, allowing you to view a list and see only updates from those Twitter users. These lists can be public or private. Other social networks like Facebook and Foursquare have similar capabilities, and some businesses are using these tools to provide extraordinary value to their clients.
We will review how to set up lists in Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Foursquare, and then cover four great ways you can use lists to impress and inform your customers.
Log into your Twitter account and click on the Me tab to see your profile. In the upper left corner you’ll see menu items for Tweets, Following, Followers, Favorites and Lists. If you click on Lists, you’ll see any lists you’ve already created in the main window, as well as a button to Create List. When you select Create List, you can type in a name, description, and choose Public or Private.
To add someone to a list, you must be using your computer (we can’t yet add peeps to lists from the mobile apps). Click on the profile of the Twitter user you want to list. Next to the Follow or Following button, to the left, there’s another button with a profile icon. Clicking on that button will display options to tweet that individual, Add to or remove from lists, block or report them. Simply click on Add or remove from lists and you can select one or more lists (and even create new lists on the fly). You don’t have to follow someone to include them in a list.
In Facebook, lists are within the Friends section of the left sidebar. Facebook should have created a number of lists for you automatically based on your profile, and you may have already added more of your own. To add a new one, hover your mouse over “Friends” and then click on the MORE link that appears to the right. This will call up your entire list of Facebook Lists in the main window and a button to “+ Create List.”
When you create the new list, you will be prompted to type in a name, and then you can start adding connections to the list right away. It’s certainly easier than Twitter since all you have to do is start typing in the name of your connection and select them when they come up.
Once you have a list created, you can select it at any time to see updates from the list members. In the right sidebar, there will be a small block that displays tiny profile images for all your list members, and a field where you can add in more members at any time. You must be friends with someone to add them to your Facebook List.
In Google+, lists are called Circles. Log in and click on Circles in the left sidebar. This will display the people that you’re currently following and below that, the circles you’ve already created. There is a blank circle listed first that you can use to create new circle (where it says “Drop here to create a circle”). Simply drag someone to the blank circle and that will start a new circle that you can name whatever you wish. You can continue to drag people to the circle, or click on the Create Circle link to bring up the circle dialogue box. Here, you can name your circle, add a description, and continue to add individuals.
Alternatively, if you’re on another person’s profile page, you can click on the button to circle them and either add them to an existing circle or create a new circle on the fly.
In Foursquare, once you log in, you’ll find a Lists menu item in the upper right. When clicked, you’ll see a page that displays your lists, along with lists that are recommended for you. This is where Foursquare can be particularly powerful for local businesses since customers can end up finding your profile through someone’s list. If you create a great list of local resources and include yourself, all of the businesses can help promote each other.
To get started, click on Create List. You can type in a name and a description, and then begin adding locations to your list. Simply start typing in the name of the business and select it when it comes up. You can upload an image to represent your list if you want, save your changes, and then click on Finished Editing when you’re done.
If you’d like other businesses in the list to help grow and maintain the list, you can open it up to let friends edit it as well. Otherwise, just leave that setting alone and you will be the only person responsible for the list.
IMPRESS AND INFORM YOUR CUSTOMERS
Many businesses can compile lists of resources for their customers to follow. A local real estate agent, for instance, might create a Twitter list for their area that includes the Twitter accounts for all the local schools, utilities, government offices and news agencies. The list would be public and they could easily share it with prospective clients so those interested buyers can check out their new “neighborhood” online.
If your clients are on Facebook or Twitter, organize them into a list so that you can regularly check out what they’re up to and respond. Do them a favor and ReTweet something they’ve posted to share their information and expertise with your own followers. This is an example of a list that should remain private.
Again, if your clients are on Twitter or Facebook, add them to a list with a very positive and complimentary name, like, “Best St. Louis Real Estate Agents.” They’ll receive a notification that they’ve been added to your list and appreciate the thought.
On Google+ and Facebook, you can post content and share it with a specific List or Circle. This gives you great power and flexibility in your communication, and some businesses are using this to their advantage. You might segment clients into specific groups and post content that applies to those groups. Or, you might share premium posts and information with only your clients to thank them for their business.
Take a few minutes to set up a list on one or more of the social networks we outlined above, and give one of these techniques a try. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and if you have any other ideas on how to use Social Media Lists, please share!