One of the most often repeated objections to the social media platform Twitter is that it’s a loud, noisy and crowded platform and it’s difficult to find, follow and gather followers who are actually interested in your brand or product offering. You can increase your chances of finding these pre-qualified followers, those most likely to want what you offer, through a strategic use of Twitter lists.
Twitter lists are an underused secret weapon in social media marketing.
Use Twitter lists to find people to follow and to group influential people together on Twitter so you can quickly and easily see what they’re tweeting every day. Twitter lists can also be used to demonstrate leadership in your area of expertise and provide something of value to your followers by offering them a convenient way to follow others. And, for those with locally based businesses, Twitter lists can be a powerful tool for alerting people to your area of influence, location and specific interest.
Here are 11 ways you can immediately implement the power of Twitter lists in your business.
1. Connect with Industry Leaders. Create your first Twitter list and call it (Your Industry Here) Superstars. Go to your Twitter account and enter the name of one of the most admired leaders in your industry in the search bar at the top of your screen. Click on the “Follow” button under the picture or avatar of @industryleader. Next click on the downward arrow just to the right of the “Follow” button and a drop down menu will say “Create a List.” Click on “Create a List” and a pop-up box will appear. Here you can name your list “@MyIndustry Superstars.” Underneath you’ll have the option to describe your list. Enter: “People and organizations in My Industry that are helpful, show leadership and really know their business.” Then click “Save List” in the lower right hand corner. Now @industryleader is on your list. Your new list will appear on their Twitter profile page, at the top right hand side of the page under “recently listed in.” People added to your list will know that you consider them to be a superstar or whatever attribute you’ve ascribed to your new list, giving you visibility with top industry leaders. Contintue to add to your new list as you find and follow other inspirational or educational leaders in your field. As you add new followers, put them into lists such as “My Industry Resources.” Keep your most important keywords in mind when creating lists and incorporate them whenever possible. Your lists will each have a unique URL and are, therefore, indexed by search engines.
2. Attract a Local Based Following. Use Twitter Lists to find and follow quality leads in your local area. Go to the search bar on your Twitter Account and type in #yourcityname. Click on one of the Twitter accounts that comes up mentioning your city. First add this person to a new list called “MyCity Resources.” Next, look to see what types of other lists mention this person. Look for lists that fit your “resources” concept. When you find one, click on the list link. You’ll be taken to that list’s page. Across the top of this list, you’ll see the words tweets, following, followers. Click on Following. A screen will pop up with the Twitter names of everyone on this list. Go down the right hand side of this list and click “Follow” for those accounts you want to add to your “resources” list. Once you click follow, you’ll also need to click the downward arrow to the right and check the box that tells Twitter to add this person to your “resources” list.
3. Use Newly Created Lists for Visibility: Go to your homepage on Twitter. You’ll see these words across the top of your screen: Timeline, @Mentions, Retweets, Searches, Lists. Click on “Lists.” Choose one of your newly created lists and click on it. Now, the only tweets showing in your stream will be tweets from people on this particular list. You can quickly scan their activity and choose someone to retweet, comment on, praise or ask a question. Simply mouse over the bottom of the tweet you’ve chosen and you’ll have the option to retweet or reply. Do this for at least one or two different people on your list every day to increase your visibility, to demonstrate a desired relationship or connection with this Twitter account, and to be seen engaging with resources and leaders in your area. Make sure your tweets to these accounts add value, and not noise, to the stream.
4. Share Your Lists: Share your growing “Resources” or “City” list several times a week on Twitter to attract people in your local area and people interested in your business. Click on your list. Copy the URL of that list from your browser window. Paste the link into the “What’s happening?” window on your Twitter page and send this message: Check out this great list of fun places to visit in MyCity! If you need to shorten the URL to fit it into the tweet, go to bit.ly, shorten the link, then copy and paste the new shortened link into the tweet.
5. Add Yourself to Your Own Twitter Lists: Increase your visibility by adding yourself to your own Twitter lists. Just as we recommend going to the pages of other Twitter users to find lists to follow, they’ll be coming to you. When they click down the list and follow people, one at a time, we want them to find and follow you. To do this, enter your own @yourtwittername into the search bar at the top of your screen. When your twitter name shows in the stream, click on it. The right hand side of the screen will now show your profile. The words “Edit your profile” will be on the left and our familiar downward arrow on the right. Click on the downward arrow and check off the boxes for any and all lists to which you’d like to add your own Twitter name. It’s that easy.
7. Connect with Others and Make Yourself Known: Request to be added to appropriate lists of other leaders in your industry or city. When you find a list that you’d love to be on, send a @DM or @reply to the person and say “I’d love to be added to your New York City Businesses” list! You can reciprocate by adding them to your lists to complete the connection.
8. Broadcast Your Lists to the Listed: Let others know when you add them to your lists. Whenever you add a particularly high profile or valuable networking contact to a list, Tweet to them and tell them. “@IndustryLeader, I just added you to my Industry Superstars list.” Then include the URL. You’ve engaged with them, added them to a list, promoted your list and increased your visibility all while building a relationship with them.
9. Follow Whole Lists at Once: At the top of every list, there will be a button that says “Follow This List.” This will copy the entire list and make it available to you on your page so that you can check it regularly. It does not, however, follow each individual user. Use this for very large lists from professional organizations you might want to check in on but don’t necessarily want to see individually in your stream every day. This will create a link from your page directly to the Twitter account that created the original list. A small icon of their avatar will appear next to the list on your page. Strategically, this is another great way to honor the original list builder and is a valuable way for you to connect with very large lists and high profile creators.
10. Increase Your Lists: Invite Twitter followers to be included on your lists. “Hey Philadelphia. Let me know if you want to be on my new “Philadelphia Resources” list.
11. Broadcast Accolades: If you’ve received awards or been praised in the press, let others know via lists. Create a list that includes everyone who received accolades and name the list appropriately for that award.
I invite you to take a look at examples of these Twitter strategies on my Twitter account, and please let me know if you’d like to be added to one of my lists. If you use Twitter lists in a unique and powerful way, please share your strategies here so we can all employ them. If you found this article helpful, please leave a comment.