In 2015, Twitter made the news several times and received some "not so good press" for their user experience pertaining to their "fire-hose" like feed. For me personally, Twitter falls #4 on my daily social media list (#1 Instagram, #2 Snapchat, #3 Facebook) that I check, post to, and engage with. A few days ago while on holiday break, I started to ask myself "Why?". Then as I started to play with it more, I realized it certainly was cluttered, out of order, and I was missing the people I really wanted to connect.
I also realized, I wasn't using Twitter List's to my advantage which is why I'm writing this post.
With just a little bit over 1,600 users that I follow, my Twitter feed always seems like a fire hose to the face and I can barely pick through the people and organizations I actually want to connect with. I always feel like I'm missing the important stuff.
So, I went back to utilizing Twitter lists to solve this problem and hopefully make my Twitter experience worth my time early in 2016, as well as allow me the ability to engage every time I have 2 minutes to jump on Twitter.
Let me explain what Twitter Lists are, how I use them, and how you can too.
What are Twitter Lists?
A Twitter list is a curated group of Twitter users. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list.
How do I create them?
On Twitter mobile, you go to "Me" next to "Messages" on the bottom of your app. From there you will see your profile and tweets. Look for the wrench, click on it, and you "View/Create Lists" will be the second option from the top. You can then see lists you are subscribed to or member of. The plus sign in the right hand corner will allow you to create a list. If you'd like to make it public you start by naming and adding a description. If you'd like to make it private where only you can access it and most importantly those you add to the list will not be notified they were added, then click private.
On the desktop, you will follow similar instructions by finding your profile picture in the right hand corner, clicking on it, and then clicking on lists. Then once you click on "Lists" you will see the ones you are subscribed to and on the right you can create a list. Here are two screenshots:
How Will Twitter List's Help Me?
Whether you use Twitter for your personal brand or for your organization, Twitter lists will help clean your feed up and keep sub-groups all in one place. If you love organization in your life, this is the ticket. Let me explain a few ways I use them personally, for my clients, as well as some suggestions:
1. Late last year after a few of my speaking engagements I would immediately create a private Twitter List of that conference or event I spoke at. That allowed me to add attendees and those I networked with both through Twitter as well as in-person to this list. Now when I check that list, I have context of how we may have met, what industry or field they work in, and a reference as I try to find ways to engage with their recent Tweets.
2. Creating a list of influencers and entrepreneurs - Not only can I create a list of thought leaders and those I am aspiring to be but I can also search Twitter lists that are similar and already be created. Think of this as your favorite Spotify playlist but made up of your favorite Twitter users. Whether you are into crossfit, social good companies, or education, lists are a great way to get a pulse of an industry you are interested in on a daily basis, all in one spot.
3. From a business or marketing standpoint, Twitter Lists can come in handy especially if you are targeting a certain group of people or running a specific campaign. Remember, Twitter is about listening then engaging rather than pushing your own agenda 100% of the time. Here are some ideas you can implement for your organization.
First, if you are a small business, say a catering company, spend 15 minutes searching for other businesses and their employees in a 15 mile radius on Twitter. Then follow them and add them to a private list called "Surrounding Small Businesses in Denver" (insert your city name). Now 1-2 times a day (5-10 minutes tops), check this list and find ways to like a tweet, RT, or reply and jump into a conversation without spamming your potential customers.
Second, create specific lists for your target audience. With one of our clients, they were targeting graduate students in the beginning of the semester with two programs they were running that fit this demographic. We ran various hashtag searches and profiles searches to find dozens of up and coming graduate students in their field. We then added about 150 to this private list. Then on a daily basis, we would go right to this list to see what they were talking about, find ways to share resources with them, add encouragement during their semester, and identify young thought leaders.
Lastly, say you run a gym. Go and look for your members on Twitter (and if they follow you already, even better still add them). You can do two things here: one you could add them to a private list and engage with them daily. Or two you can create a public list "Gym members who reached a new PR" and add them to this list. They will be notified and feel real special.
Have you had luck using Twitter lists? Please comment and let us know.
Did you just read this but can't find a way to utilize Twitter Lists? Email me up and we'll give you a few ideas.
If you like this tip or it may help someone else you know, please share it.
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As always thanks for reading and for your attention.