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Twitter Lists: What are they and how can I set one up?

Whether you’re following 50 people or 50,000 people, it doesn’t take long for your Twitter News Feed to become overwhelming. If you’re like me, you’re following family, friends, news sources (local, general, and industry related), colleagues, competitors, personal interests, business interests, and others. If you’re a B2C company, you’re likely following brands, suppliers and distributors too. What about the people you recently met at the Chamber of Commerce meet-up group? I’m overwhelmed just thinking of the various people I follow!

How do you manage Twitter?

Regardless of whether you’re using third-party tools such as Sprout Social, Hootsuite, the mobile app Tweetbot, or Twitter itself, you must become familiar with Twitter Lists.

Twitter Lists help you:

  • Stay organized
  • Make Twitter easier to use
  • Saves you time
  • Find conversations or information more easily
  • Build your personal brand
  • Learn with privacy
  • Keep your following/follower ratio in check to avoid being thought of as a fake account

Rest assured you’re not alone if you aren’t familiar with Twitter Lists. It can be daunting to learn the basics of Twitter, let alone some of the “less visible” elements, tips and tricks.

What are Twitter Lists?

Ultimately, Twitter lists are filters, or groups of Twitter users you may or may not follow. When a list is viewed, your news stream shows only the tweets of the users included in that list.

How to create a Twitter List?

*These steps can also be found on Twitter

1.    Go to your Lists page via the gear icon drop down menu in the top right navigation bar or by going to your profile page and clicking on Lists. 

Twitter List

2.    Click Create list.

Create Twitter 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).

Create a list in Twitter

4.    Click Save list.

5.    To add or remove people from your lists click the head icon on a user’s profile.

Add to Twitter List

After adding the 10 major coffee brands I (don’t really) sell to the list, I can go back to my lists page, click my “Coffee Brands” list, and see only the tweets of those specific users. Now, I can easily see what those brands are up to, what products they’re promoting, and easily share relevant articles to my followers.

*Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to add lots of people to a list at once through Twitter. However, there is a fantastic, free app called Twitlistmanager to help.

Twitter List Limitations

Twitter has placed some limits on the Lists feature:

  • 20 lists per user
  • 500 users per list
  • List names cannot exceed 25 characters
  • List names cannot begin with a numerical character

Twitter Lists Ideas

Twitter lists are largely personal. However, here are some basic suggestions:

  • Colleagues and Partners
  • Industry experts
  • News sources by topic, industry or location
  • Communities such as your favorite sports teams or artists
  • New followers
  • Suppliers, Brands, Distributors
  • Loyal Customers, or people who follow you on multiple platforms

You don’t have to always develop your own lists. You can subscribe to other people’s lists. To do this:

1.    Go to a person’s Twitter profile. Click the option called Lists and you’ll see the lists they’ve created (are subscribed to themselves, or are a member of).

Twitter List See Lists

2.    Click on any of their lists and click the ‘Subscribe’ button

Twitter List Subscribe
(Note, Brittney’s list of people to save when Zombies attack! Clearly her V.I.P.s)

Twitter List Tips

Create a private list that only you can see. You can add your competition to this list, for example, to keep track of their tweets without having to follow them.

On that note, I don’t follow local newspapers or newscasts as they clog up my feed, but I have a local news list so I can access local information quickly.

The All Important “Why”

Twitter lists make it easier to listen to your followers, spark conversation, cultivate relationships, and build your brand.