Twitter lists are a way to segment people on Twitter, making it easier to discover great content and engage with your community. For example, if I want to start networking for an up and coming industry conference, I can create a list of speakers and the people who have tweeted their attendance and start engaging with them.

How to Create Twitter Lists

  1. Go to your profile page and click Lists.
  2. Click Create List.
  3. Enter the name of your list and, if you’d like, a description.
  4. Decide whether you want your list to be public or private. Everyone can see, and subscribe to, a public list – and the people you add to it will be notified. A private list is visible to you alone.

You may create up to 1000 lists.


How to Add People to your Twitter Lists

  1. Click the User Actions button on a user’s profile.
  2. Click Add or Remove from Lists.
  3. Select the list(s) you would like to add the user to. You can also create a new list from this screen.

That’s it! Each list can contain up to 5000 Twitter users.

Examples of How to Use Twitter Lists in your Marketing

I use Twitter lists on my personal account, as well as on the Meltwater brand account, to curate great content and engage with the Twitter community. Here are a few of my favorite lists:

Tweeps who Engage: Whether I’m on my personal or brand account, the people who engage with me are like gold. These are the people that retweet my content, reply to my questions, list me on #FollowFriday, and more – and I want to reciprocate. Creating a list for everyone who engages with me is an easy way to make sure that I share the love with those who love me. I keep this list private because it’s really just for my own use.

This is a very broad list that I use to keep a pulse on what marketing topics people are discussing on Twitter – and it’s one of my biggest lists. It’s meant to be a catch-all, to separate marketing people from PR people, news sources, and parody accounts I follow. I also have smaller sub-lists, like social media, advertising, and content, which I add these same users to if they tend to focus on a particular topic.

I’ve added competitors to a private Twitter list so that I can see a stream of their Twitter updates without following them.

Industry Journalists: I like to keep track of the journalists that cover my space for a couple of reasons. 1) It’s a great way to stay on top of industry news. 2) It’s important to network with them well ahead of when you need it, so that they come to think of you as a resource. I frequently share content from my favorite industry journalists with my community, which helps me build a relationship with them. Later, when my PR team has a relevant story to share with that journalist, they already know who we are.

Social Media Blogs and Bloggers: As I discussed above, I often use this list to brainstorm my blog topics – but I also use it to curate great content for my and Meltwater’s social media channels. I have another list for PR Blogs and Bloggers I like. These lists are also great for networking with the other bloggers in my industry, as many of us tend to share each other’s content on social media, as well as link to it within our own blog posts.

In addition to these, I have many other Twitter lists that I use to segment Twitter users for different purposes.  I come up with new ideas for lists all the time, especially for conferences I’m attending or specific campaigns I’m running. I don’t view each list with the same frequency – but I do have some that I check out daily, while others are just there waiting when I need them.

What will you use Twitter lists for?

A Few Ideas for Twitter Lists to Get you Started

Media Friendlies: Go back to your recent press mentions and add each journalist’s Twitter handle to a “media friendlies” list so you can maintain your existing relationships with journalists that have covered your business. Assuming that their normal beat is related to the article they wrote about you, they should have plenty of content with which to engage in conversation about, and to share with your audience. 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.

Learn more about Finding, Nurturing and Sustaining Influencer Relationships here!

Industry Journalists: Also do a search on your competitors’ recent press mentions and recent industry news articles and add those journalists to a separate list. Again, these journalists should have plenty of relevant content that you can engage in conversation about, and share with your followers – 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). You may also want to create a list for a specific story you’d like to pitch in the future – say an IPO – and you want to target journalists that have covered related IPOs in your industry. By starting 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.

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 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 to respond to tweets and retweet them to your followers. Especially 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. Above all else, make sure you’re adding value for the journalist or blogger – by extending the reach of their content, or providing sources for their articles – to build and maintain a meaningful online relationship that can be mutually beneficial for years to come.