A few days ago we looked at the new lists feature that has recently been added to Twitter. We covered most of the frequently asked questions about how to create and manage new lists, why lists have been introduced and discovered a few of the problems with this new feature.
However, we deliberately omitted one important question; How Can I Use The New Lists Feature To Improve My Twitter Experience?
At present, there are several ways to use Twitter lists and even more will evolve over time, so here are the most popular uses for Twitter lists;
Most of these ideas are from the perspective of creating your own list, however, they can also be used to gain benefit from using the lists created by other Twitter users.
1. The Group List
For more than a year, third party apps have provided the ability to create groups of Twitter users. The new lists feature now allows you to create the same effect without relying upon a third party service.
Just create a new list and start adding people, preferably based around a specific subject or topic such as friends, colleagues, location, subject etc.
All their tweet streams will be combined into a common timeline allowing you to keep up to date with everything that’s happening in the new micro-community that you’ve just created.
2. The Recommend List
Lists also allow you to recommend other Twitter users that people should follow.
For example, you could create a public list of the best entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. People who know you and trust your recommendations will then have a list of relevant people to follow.
Alternatively, instead of following the people in your list, they could follow your list and rely upon your judgment to maintain a list of the best people who are related to the topic in question.
This development has already altered the way the Follow Friday works. Many people are creating #FollowFriday lists and linking to them in their #FollowFriday tweets.
This approach carries several potential advantages;
a. It makes it easier for people to constantly manage the people that they recommend within their list
b. It is likely to make the recommendations topic specific rather than an endless string of “good people to follow”
c. It will be easier to recommend a larger number of people without creating excessive noise within the network
d. The recommendations will remain visible (within the lists) for longer than the traditional follow friday tweets which rapidly slip down the timeline into obscurity. This will provide more exposure for people who are recommended.
However, it also carries certain disadvantages;
a. Creating a list for #FollowFriday could encourage people to follow your list rather than the individuals on it
b. Tweeting a list rather than individual user names, creates an extra step for people who are interested in following the people that you recommend. One click to reach your list, then another click to visit the profile of the person that you have recommended.
c. It loses the personal touch. Many people will never know that they have been recommended, especially if they don’t check the lists that they have been added to.
Lists are also a great way to find new people to follow, especially if you trust the editorial judgment of the people who manage the lists.
Likewise, the type and calibre of lists that people appear on is also another indication of whether it will be worthwhile to follow them.
3. The List Calibration Process
Lists can also provide you with a broad overview of the way that you are perceived by others on Twitter.
For example, if you’re included on 100 lists and 75 are related to marketing, that’s a strong indication that the general twitter community sees you as someone who provides marketing related information and insight. Using this technique, you may find that other people see you differently from the way you see yourself.
4. The Not Following List
When you follow a Twitter list, it’s the list that you follow rather than all the people on it. So it allows you to see all the messages posted by these people in the list timeline without them appearing in your main timeline.
This can be useful when there are people in whom you have a passing interest, but don’t want to follow. For example, those who tweet dozens of times a day, those who tweet on a wide range of subjects (only some of which interest you) or those who post a long string of irrelevant rubbish along with an occasional diamond.
So while you may read your main timeline every day, you may only scan through your Not Following list once or twice a week.
Alternatively, you could create a probation list where you add new users who seem promising, watch the quality of their tweets for a period of time, then follow the people who add most to your Twitter experience.
5. The Location List
You could create a list of the best tweeters within a certain geographical area, such as a specific town, city or state. Many people have already create geographical Twitter groups using 3rd party services, but this gives you a chance to integrate the spirit of these groups within the main Twitter interface.
6. The Organization List
Alternatively, you could create lists of people connected by a specific organization, such as a workplace, school, college, etc. Use the lists feature to create a resource for other people within the organization.
7. The Company List
If you’re part of a company that has a number of team members who use Twitter, consider creating a company list. Include everyone within the organization who uses Twitter in a business capacity.
Once you’ve done that, share the list internally throughout the company. This will help everyone on your team keep up to date with all the messages posted by everyone else in the company.
The company list will also make it easier to monitor the official Twitter activity of the entire team and identify areas where interaction with customers and potential customers can be improved.
Next, share the list externally with other Twitter users and promote it on the company website, email sigs etc. This will help to keep the business in front of your target market. It will also improve the level of customer service by making it easier to find the right person to contact within the company.
8. The Industry List
Keep up to date with all the thought leaders within a specific industry.
Just create your list around a certain industry, add the people who will provide most value then you will be able to read all their messages in one self-contained stream.
For added exposure, share your industry list with others. Provide them with a valuable resource that will add to their Twitter experience. And as this lists feature is still relatively new, there’s a greater chance that your list could become the industry standard that all Twitter users within the industry refer to. In turn, this will provide you with added visibility within the industry. To promote your list, add it to a list directory such as Listorious.
9. The Experts List
You can use the lists feature to recognize other experts within certain areas. For example, If you run an online business, you could create a list with all the experts that are required to run your business. For example, copywriter, graphic artist, programmer, virtual assistant etc.
This allows you to provide value for others by recommending relevant members of the Twitter community. At the same time, managing popular lists will also boost your own credibility.
Alternatively, you could create a list of experts who provide the best news, commentary, tools, resources on certain subjects. For example, those who share the best photoshop tips and tutorials.
10. The Website List
If you need content for your website or blog, just create a list based around a specific topic, fill it with people who provide good posts, then add the feed to your site.
In effect, this allows you to use the list feature to aggregate the messages of certain people and display the real-time results on your site.
It’s a good alternative to displaying your own tweets on your site, especially if you don’t tweet that often.
Just make sure that you select the people on your list carefully, as their output will be published straight to your site.
11. The Campaign List
If you have a cause such as a charity, idea or political campaign that you want to promote, why not create a list that all your supporters can use to communicate with each other. It will also provide a means to gain increased recognition through promotion. Include everyone who actively supports or endorses the cause.
If raising money for a specific cause or charity, you could even create a list to recognize everyone who has contributed more than a certain amount to the fund.
12. The Reporters List
If you’re a reporter or a blogger, private lists can be a great research tool. Just collect together a list of the people that you want to research and keep track of what they’re saying on Twitter. They may even lead you to other online resources such as articles, blogs etc that are related to the subject of your research.
For example, if you’re a political/economic/celebrity/sports editor for a news company, you may want to create list of all the leading politicians/economists/celebrities/athletes etc.
In order to build credibility and avoid a conflict of interest, journalists and bloggers could also create a list to disclose people and companies with whom they are affiliated. This will help people to draw their own conclusions about the weight and level of impartiality to assign to both their tweets and their work in general.
13. The Event List
If you will be hosting a live event, make sure that you create a list and get people to add their Twitter username when they register.
This technique will help to create a sense of anticipation as it will allow everyone to track what everyone else is saying about the event before it happens. It will also make it easier to communicate any last minute changes.
An event list will also make it easier for people to meet each other during the event and exchange ideas, opinions etc (this is a great way for you to collect feedback about the event and make alterations to meet the expectations of the attendees).
Finally, it also makes it easier for those who can’t attend to keep up to date with what happens at the event.
14. The Inventive List
It’s possible to create a list of almost any combination of Twitter users. It’s the topic that links all of the people within the list that allows you to create meaningful value for others. So get inventive. How about places to eat in Boston, stores with the best ipod discounts or people that share the best videos about the NFL.
If you can find the right audience and provide them with information of value, your public list could attract significant attention.
15. The Private List
It’s possible to use private lists to help you achieve various results, including;
If you’re looking for a job, you could create a private list of recruiters and potential employers in order to monitor job listings and other career opportunities.
If you’re looking for a new computer or TV you could create a private list of all the electrical retailers who post special offers and deals on Twitter.
16. The Alumni List
Lists are a good way for universities, colleges and other organizations to keep former students and employees engaged.
So how do you use Twitter lists? If you have any new ideas that we haven’t mentioned here, let us know in the comments section below.