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Harness the Power of Twitter Lists

Hoover Dam-Harness Power of Twitter Lists

photo credit: susteph via photopin cc

Flowing water contains a tremendous amount of energy, and with a hydroelectric dam that energy can be harnessed to generate electricity. Likewise, you can harness the energy of the overwhelming amount of information and communications on Twitter for business purposes, like building key relationships and finding prospective customers, with lists.

What are Twitter Lists?

Generally speaking, Twitter lists are lists you create or subscribe to and are organized around a general theme or group of people. They help you organize accounts you really want to follow so you do not miss tweets and can be private or public. You do not have to follow the accounts to monitor them in a list. However, if you add them to a public list they will be notified. Private lists do not generate the notifications.

Types of Twitter Lists to Create

The types of lists you can create are only limited by your imagination. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Clients* – Monitoring your clients can help you anticipate their needs, inspire new products and services and answer their industry questions.
  • College and community/business group organizations – Many alum and local association members are more than happy to help make connections and referrals.
  • Competitors* – Knowing what your competitors are doing is always wise. Insights can come from inferred information. Don’t just add the official accounts but also add key executive accounts. Because you are not actually following them, they will not be notified of your observation of their feeds.
  • Event / conference attendees – ¬†Developing relationships with other attendees can lead to business opportunities. If you want to meet certain people, they often state their location so you can intercept them or specifically ask to meet. Also, following top tweeters allow you to better follow the event.
  • Helpful resources for customers – Create a list you think would interest your customers. For example, if you are an accountant to small businesses, you can create a list of small business resources.¬†
  • Industry colleagues – Following others in your industry provides an ongoing education, tips and insights into trends. Also, the relationships built can provide business referrals and collaborations.
  • Industry sector* – Instead of viewing only direct competitors, you can look at a larger industry slice.
  • Location-based list – Sometimes you want to focus your efforts on a particular geographical area. For example, I have lists for Dallas/Fort Worth and Tennessee experts and colleagues in my field.
  • Prospective clients* – Anyone you wish to approach to become a client would be in this list. Reviewing the tweets in this list will provide you with information about their needs and how best to approach them. You can add them to a private list without following so they do not know of your interest before you are ready.
  • Thought leaders / experts – Adding these people to a list provides multiple benefits: education, access and an ego boost to the added people.
  • Vendors* – Key management changes, acquisitions, supply or plant issues and the like can impact your ability to run your business. If your company is ISO certified, knowing information about your vendors becomes more vital.

The asterisked lists are the ones I would recommend you keep private. As relationships develop, people can be moved from one list to another. Remember you do not have to actually follow an account to have it in a list, and only people and companies added to a public list will be notified. 

Take Twitter Lists Further

Did you know you can subscribe to other people’s public lists? You can. Let them do the heavy lifting of curating them. Look for people and brands you respect or are interested in to see their lists. Then, subscribe to them.

Also, include your account in your public lists. That way people who subscribe to them will also see your tweets. This technique is especially useful on lists where you can act as an expert or business solution.

Last, promote your Twitter lists on other social media platforms. Each list has a unique URL. Use an eye-catching name like My Favorite [insert topic].

How to Create a Twitter List

Now that you know what kinds of lists you want to have and who to add, it is really easy to create them. Under your header photo, click on Lists and choose “Create a new list.” A pop up box will appear where you can enter the list name and an optional description and choose whether the list is public or private. You can then go to an account’s profile to add it to your list. Click on the “gear” icon for a dropdown menu to select “Add or remove from lists.” Your collection of lists will be shown for you to check which list(s) to place that account in. You can even create a new list on the fly in this pop up box. Once you have accounts in your lists, you can go to Lists and view the feed for an individual list. That’s so much better than scrolling through everyone’s tweets.

Now that you have your lists in place, you can start monitoring them for various types of information and use them to engage with people you want to get to know better or convert to customers. I hope they are as useful to you as they have been for me. Without them, I would have missed out on numerous new client and collaboration opportunities.

About Jennifer Nash

Jennifer Nash is the owner and president of Living Business, a consulting business that focuses on the intersection of strategy, marketing and operations.