How To Use Lists To Boost Your Effectiveness On Twitter


Twitter List - Hub ContributorsAs a micro business user I’d assume you’re using Twitter in some form or another.

Perhaps you use it just to see what people are saying. Maybe it’s your method to keep up to date with articles and trends. You may use it to keep an eye on your competition. Whatever your reason, like others, you’re likely to be highly active posting numerous tweets each day.

And with well over 500 million accounts on Twitter*, it can become quite a headache trying to wade through all the Tweets and Tweeters. Personally, I’m following little over 300 accounts and it can be a task in itself to filter through the chatter, drown out the noise and drill down to the information, and accounts, you want.

In fact, with the fast moving Twitter timeline it’s very easy to miss something important.

But by using an often overlooked Twitter feature you can take control of your Twitter feed and make your social experience less hassle and more rewarding.

Get organised

I’m referring to Twitter Lists or curated groups of Twitter users.

The list functionality in Twitter is a simple yet effective way to organise your Twitter stream.

You can create lists on anything – by subject, industry, theme…

So, for a digital business like mine, I have a list for clients, a list for social media, one for marketing and one for fun… (well we all need a chuckle from time-to-time).

I keep the members of my more sensitive lists private, but other lists are publicly available.

Take the Micro Business Hub Contributors list, pictured above.

This list is regularly updated and contains everyone who has guested on the Hub. And the benefit? Instead of the blending into the noise, by following this list it’s easy to keep track of what Hub contributor’s are tweeting about.

And because you can subscribe to a public list,  if you find something relevant, you don’t even need to spend time creating your own.

What lists should I curate?

You can create lists for anything you like.

Some good lists for a micro business would be:

  • Experts: Make a list of all those influential and inspiring industry experts and keep up-to-date with your field.
  • Clients: Keep informed as to what your clients are saying and what they’re doing on social media. You don’t want to miss that Tweet where they praise your services!
  • Competition: We all like to ‘snoop’ on what the other in your business area are up to online. Keep a closer eye on how they use and interact on Twitter
  • Just for fun:  As I said earlier, we all need a chuckle from time-to-time. Add in your favourite Tweeters and funny people….and retweet them. Share the fun!

How to create your lists

Creating lists is a simple process and takes a few minutes to set up. Twitter support gives you four easy to follow steps to start your lists:

  1. Go to your ‘Lists page’. This can be done via the gear icon drop down menu in the top right navigation bar or by going to your profile page and clicking on Lists.
  2. Click Create list.
  3. Enter the name of your list, a short description of the list, and select if you want the list to be private (only accessible to you) or public (anyone can subscribe to the list).
  4. Click Save list.

The next step is to start adding Twitter accounts to your lists:

  1. Click the gear icon drop down menu on a user’s profile.
  2. Select Add or remove from lists. (You don’t need to be following a user to add them to your list.)
  3. A pop-up will appear displaying your created lists. Check the lists you would like to add the user to, or uncheck the lists you’d like to remove the user from.
  4. To check to see if the user you wanted to add was successfully included in that list, navigate to the Lists tab on your profile page. Click the desired list, then click Members. The person will appear in the list of members.

For more tips and guides to using Twitter lists, visit

And another thing…

Twitter lists will save you time but there are other tools that can increase your productivity and experience of social media – dashboards.

Dashboards allow you to log in to, and post to multiple social media accounts. They can work will if you have more than one active Twitter account. I personally use Hootsuite but have used Tweetdeck  in the past which is also recommended.

The key is don’t let Twitter and social media become too much. Take control and manage how you use it. Make social work for you.

* Although this is the number of user accounts, analysis from Semiocast suggests that only 27% of this user base are active. So, in probability, the actual number of active users would be around 170 million.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

If you’ve never used Twitter lists, set one up today. A good starting point is to create a private list for your clients. And if you’re a list pro, spend 15 minutes doing some list housekeeping.