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Why You Need Twitter Lists and How To Organize Them

Why You Need Twitter Lists and How To Organize Them

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If you only follow a few hundred people on Twitter, it’s relatively easy to see what they post and keep up-to-date with their content.

Likewise, if you only have around two hundred followers, you can quite easily see their comments on your content and who has taken the time to react and share it.

The problem comes when you start following several thousand or more people on Twitter and have around the same number of followers yourself. How on earth are you expected to keep up with all those people, gauge what impact you’re having, and know who is really engaging with you and your brand?

Well, the clue is in the title of this post! You need to start building Twitter lists. Obviously, you’ll still look at your Twitter stats occasionally and explore what’s trending, but building Twitter lists will make your time on social media shorter and more efficient.

Twitter lists are essentially filtered timelines, which means that – bonus! – you can use them to grow your own following.

Here are six Twitter list suggestions that you’ll definitely find useful, and will help boost your engagement and efficiency over time.

1. Influencers

Whatever your niche, there are sure to be certain influencers who lead the way, providing excellent content and advice to help those coming up in the industry. These influencers will also showcase their knowledge to build their reputation and drive traffic to their blogs and sales funnels.

They are incredibly useful people to follow and study. You can learn from their content, but you can also learn from what they do and who they interact with. Why not check out their own Twitter lists, and see what you can find?

You’ll be able to keep up-to-date with the latest news in your industry, discover emerging trends, and gain insights that could boost your business in the process simply through creating this Twitter list.

Not only that, but if you’re trying to get guest blogs on influencers’ websites or set up a joint venture with them, replying to, retweeting and liking their posts is a surefire way to grab their attention.

The above list of influencers by Ari Herzog is particularly good. You’ll see that the people he has added to the list are all incredibly influential in the field of digital marketing/branding.

2. Competitors

Following your competitors and keeping an eye on them is an essential part of building and growing your business, and Twitter lists provide a perfect way to organize them so you can easily see your competitors’ posts and news without losing them in the enormous stream of tweets.

Taking the opportunity to look at their news and their product and service announcements means you’ll know if they’re about to bring out a product that directly competes with yours. Better yet, you’ll potentially get ideas for your own business from seeing their posts. While I’m obviously not suggesting that you copy their ideas, there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from your research.

Your competitors’ stream also offers a valuable resource when you’re struggling over blog post ideas or what to post on social media. Look at their content, and see what performs well and gets the most engagement. That topic will likely work for you, too! Just make sure you give it a twist or write from the opposite slant, rather than just regurgitating their article.

Look at who’s following them, too. They might be potential customers that would also be interested in following you. Note that you don’t need to actually follow your competitors. You can just add their Twitter handle to your ‘Competitors’ list and you’ll get access to all of their tweets.

3. Sidekicks

These are the people who are regularly engaging with your content and your brand. Adding them to a Twitter list is a great way to make sure you can easily keep up with their content, retweet them, have conversations and share their content in return. It’s also a fantastic way to build relationships and a real sense of community around your business.

Having a dedicated ‘Sidekicks’ list ensures you won’t miss any mentions and retweets from your engaged and loyal followers. You may even find  suggestions for new products or services, or even just get ideas for products, services or blog posts when you swap comments and content with them.

Think of it as a way of making sure you’re paying their endorsement forward, and rewarding them for their continued interaction.

Up above, Aaron Lee has created a list of ‘Super-Sidekicks’ which contains Twitter users who have shared his content in the past. This gives him a single, dedicated place to refer to if he needs to invite people to share his content or if he just wants to reach out to people who have interacted with his brand previously.

4. RSVPs

These are the people who attend events or live Twitter chats that are relevant to your industry. There are two things to note here.

Firstly, Twitter chats are, by their very nature, full of engagement and conversation. What better place could there be to find people who are likely to continue the conversation and become some of your most active followers? Build lists of the people who you regularly see in the chats you are interested in, or those who join in with the chats that you run.

Again, you could get ideas from their insights and thoughts, and you could attract more like-minded and engaged followers in turn.

Secondly, building a Twitter list with an events focus can give you several advantages. If you’re attending events, whether online or in person, you can get an idea of who is attending before you go, research their interests and their company, and build your relationship prior by connecting with them on Twitter. You can also find out about any companies that are exhibiting and make effective use of your time by planning in advance who you want to make time to meet.

During events, you can follow the live Twitter stream to keep up with the latest happenings, too.

If you’re someone who organizes events, you’ll also find that building a Twitter list for attendees, speakers and exhibitors is a great way to build excitement, increase attendance and keep the conversation going after your event.

The team at Social Media Examiner created this list of speakers for their Social Media Marketing World event. This list is effective for two reasons: firstly, speakers can find out who else they’ll be sharing a stage with; secondly, attendees of the event can subscribe to the list to find out who they’ll be able to see at SMMW.

5. Bloggers

Along with ‘Influencers’, having a Twitter list that’s dedicated to ‘Bloggers’ is a brilliant way to build relationships with people who you might want to do business with or swap guest posts with.

Not only that, but it makes it easier to find content that you can share, and that you know your followers will love. It will help you come up with ideas for your own content and show you who’s truly at the top of their game.

At TweetPilot, we have The Best SMM Blogs for this exact reason. We’re constantly on the look-out for the best and latest social media marketing content, but trying to find it in and amongst our over-populated feed can be time-consuming and fruitless.

By creating this list, we made a one-stop platform to source the latest content from the leading social media marketers so that we can quickly give it a read and decide if it’s worth adding to our Buffer schedule.

6. Clients/Customers/Employees

Keeping up-to-date with your customers, clients and employees helps you stay across their news, investments, profits, products and services. Perfect if you’re a marketer, social media strategist or writer, as you can find requests for pitches or job opportunities where you might offer your services!

You can also share your clients’ news and posts by commenting on them and helping them publicly celebrate their successes. This will build your relationship with them and create trust. If you have a huge social media following, sharing posts can become a lucrative service in its own right or, at the least, boost the rate you can charge for your primary service.

In my view, employees should be in here too as, like your customers, they have a close personal tie to your brand. I’m in no way advocating creating a Twitter list to spy on your employees – rather, this list should be used so that your brand can interact in a positive way with your employees, and encourage them to share the same content you share.

Buffer have a great-looking list of their employees on Twitter which is completely public (part of Buffer’s ethos is to be totally transparent). Have a look through it and you’ll see how positively all their employees engage with the Buffer brand.

Basic Twitter list etiquette

Before you go, let’s chat about the unwritten (until now!) rules for creating Twitter lists.

When creating lists, you can set the privacy setting to public or private. This is an incredibly powerful tool, so use it wisely! Keep your list of ‘Competitors’ and ‘Clients’ private, but keep your list of ‘Sidekicks’ and ‘Influencers’ public.

Just as you don’t want your competitors to know you’re following them or to hand them a list of your clients, you do want to build handy resources for your own followers and become an influencer yourself.

Think carefully about what you want to call the lists you create. ‘Blogs I Follow’ may be accurate, but ‘Super Helpful Expert Blogs’ is better because it is accurate while providing a nice ego boost for anyone on the list. That can do wonders for building your relationship with them as well as your unique brand.

Lists can also be as creative as you are. If you have a niche interest or special expertise in an area, consider creating a list as a public resource in a neat spin on adding value for your customers or following. For instance, if you are in the skincare business, would your customers appreciate a list of international stockists?

However you use your Twitter lists, hopefully by now you can see the many advantages of having them, and how much easier it can make life on Twitter!

Guest Author: Lewis Crutch is the co-founder of TweetPilot a suite of Twitter tools to help you follow, unfollow, engage and discover on Twitter. Follow him at @TweetPilotHQ.

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