Using Twitter Lists for Better PR

Twitter customer service
Twitter customer service

Twitter can be overwhelming at times. Each time you log in, you’re confronted with an endless stream of tweets that make their way to the top of your timeline faster than you can read them. As a PR pro, you know you should be using Twitter to engage with fellow tweeps – but the prospect of finding a relevant profile or conversation among all the noise can be daunting. So, today, I’m going to share how you can use Twitter lists to organize your incoming tweets and engage with the profiles who can directly impact your PR program.

But first…

What Are Twitter Lists?

Twitter lists are curated groups of Twitter profiles that you can create to group similar users together. Twitter lists allow you to see tweets from only that group of people. For example, I created a Twitter list of Some Blogs where I’ve grouped all my favorite writers and the publications they write for together. Now I can easily access these people’s tweets and profiles when I’m looking for great content to share on my own Twitter account.

You can choose to make your Twitter lists either public or private, depending upon whether you want anyone else to see your list. Public Twitter lists are great if you want to recognize the individual profiles on your list for being superstars – they can see that you’ve added them to the list, and others can subscribe to the list to receive content from those you’ve included. Private Twitter lists are better if you don't want your competitors to have access to the information; for example, if it contained customers or media friendlies.

A Few Ideas for Twitter Lists to Get you Started

  1. Media Friendlies: Go back to your recent press mentions and follow. add each journalist’s Twitter profile to a “media friendlies” list so you can maintain your existing relationships with those that have covered your business. Assuming that their normal beat is related to the article they wrote about you, they should have plenty of mutual ground that you can chat about, as well as interesting content you can share with your followers. Maintaining your relationship with media friendlies in this way can keep you top of mind when they need a subject matter expert to weigh in on an article they’re writing, or when you have a story you’d like to share with them.
  2. Industry Journalists: Also do a search on your competitors’ recent press mentions and recent industry news articles and follow/ add those journalists to a separate list. Again, these journalists should have plenty of relevant content that you can engage with which can help you build a relationship with a journalist you haven’t met. You may also want to break this group down into several lists, perhaps by geography, beat, or past interaction (ie media friendlies). Some PR pros prefer to create a list for a specific story they'd like to pitch in the future – say an IPO – thus they target journalists that have covered related IPOs in their industry. By creating a relationship with them on Twitter, your pitch may be more well-received – just make sure that you’ve used Twitter to add value for that journalist and that you start building these relationships well ahead of time.
  3. Industry Bloggers: These days, anyone can be a publisher and you can benefit from treating bloggers like journalists to get targeted coverage for your stories. As with industry journalists, you may want to break this group of Twitter profiles down into more specific lists – such as the specific topic they write about, bloggers that speak at events, where they’re located geographically, etc. This will help you keep your content stream very focused, which will make it easier for you to interact with your listed tweeps.

Now That You Have Twitter Lists, What Do You Do With Them?

The name of the game is engagement. View your Twitter lists on a regular basis and respond to tweets shared by those on your list. It's also wise to retweet their content so your followers can see too. Stay on the lookout for journalists and bloggers asking for subject matter expertise within their network – this will help you position yourself as the go-to person when that writer needs more information for a story. A simple way you can do this is by looking out for hashtags such as #mediarequest and #prrequest. Above all else, make sure you’re creating value for the journalist or blogger with the tweets and content you share. Moreover, by extending the reach of their content, or providing sources for their articles, you're better placed to build and maintain a meaningful online relationship that can be mutually beneficial for years to come.

If you're tired of seeing a string of irrelevant tweets, Twitter lists tidy up your feed so you can cut through the noise and read the tweets that will bring you the most value. Hopefully by now you have a better understanding of the importance of Twitter lists and how you can create them to nurture relevant profiles and build relationships on social media.