Twitter lists are a very helpful organizational tool which allows you to filter accounts by the categories that you’ve assigned them to. For example, if I have connected with individuals that I know value education, I can add them to a list labeled: Education. Then when I am ready to dive into the conversations that might be happening about education, I can go to that list.
Let’s talk about when, why, and how you might go about adding Twitter accounts to a list.
When should I add someone to a list?
Add people to a list immediately upon following them. This helps you manage the community and not end up having to go back later to add hundreds of people to a list. Take the extra time and add them to a list based on their description and the types of tweets that they share with their audience.
You can always add people to more than one list.
When you are in their profile you can click the … button and choose to “Add/Remove from Lists”, as shown below.
When I add them to a list, does that mean I will only see Tweets on that topic?
No. Lists can’t filter out topic-specific Tweets, but instead the Tweets of people that you feel most often Tweet about the content you wish to see.
How do I create a list?
If you are creating a new list you can use the toolbar on the left side of your Twitter feed.
When creating your list, you need to determine your goal for the list and answer a few simple questions. First, what do you want to call the list? Make sure the name of the list is something you can easily recognize and that the members will be happy to be a part of. When you add someone to a public list, they will receive a notification that you’ve added them. If you add them to a list with an unflattering name, they may be less inclined to engage in conversation.
Second, you need to decide whether your list is a public or private list. A public list is open and anyone on Twitter can see the list and the members of the list? When you mark a list as private, the information is not shared with the Twitter public or with the people you add to that list.
Here is a screenshot of what this area looks like currently:
How can lists help me build a community?
There are several opportunities for you to create lists that bring people together in conversation. I have outlined a few below but would love to hear why you might be interested in adding folks to a list.
- Events: When I speak at or attend an event, I create a list prior to the event date. This list includes any of the speakers, sponsors, and attendees. I search for the event hashtag and add folks talking about the event to the list. This helps me to connect with people, schedule times to meet during the event, and easily follow up with people after the event.
- Common interests: A great way to build community is to join in on conversations about things important to you. For example, if you are a parent you may consider connecting with other parents or parenting resources to ensure that you have support or can get questions answered within the community.
- Geographic location: Sometimes there is value in connecting with people who live or work in the same area you do. Creating lists of people in certain locations can help streamline that conversation and build community.
Do I need to follow someone in order to add them to a list?
No. This is one of the perks of using lists. If you are interested in an event or topic, you can add people to a list and not have their Tweets fill your feed by also following them. I love comedy. If I follow a bunch of comedians, my main feed will be full of the content that they are publishing on a daily (or hourly) basis, potentially creating clutter in my newsfeed. This clutter may cause me to miss potentially important business opportunities. If I add them to a list, instead of following their account, I won’t see their Tweets in my feed but instead only see them when I go to view my list.
Added bonus: If you are newer to Twitter or don’t yet have a good follow to follower ratio, you can also add people to lists without following. If it is a public list, they will receive a notification and then may choose to follow you.
What does it mean to subscribe to a list?
As social media marketing professionals, we often do not have time to reinvent the wheel. The same goes for reinventing lists for events or conferences. If someone else has already created a public list, simply subscribe to that list. As a subscriber, you do not have the ability to add or delete people from a list, but you can still filter the feed by Tweets of accounts contained in this list.
Simply go to a public list and click subscribe.
These are just a few the reasons why you might choose to use Twitter lists. I hope that find them helpful. If you have used Twitter lists differently or if you have a question I didn’t address above, I’d love to hear it.