How to declutter with Twitter lists

By DAVID BOYES

TWITTER has more beneficial use for business than any other social media stream – of that I am convinced. Yet why are so many corporate players dismissive of the micro-blogging platform?

The list of criticisms seems to topped by “it’s boring” or “irrelevant” or “trivial”, which are knee-jerk reactions, rather than ones based on a clear understanding of what benefits can be harvested. The other big problem is the perception that Twitter is cacophony through which nothing will cut.

None of this is true, of course. Businesses who display this level of prejudice against Twitter – and who are turning their backs on a potential audience of 200million-plus – are generally displaying the symptoms of lack-of-knowledge syndrome.

So, with that in mind, I have prepared a how-to guide to just one of the techniques that can help organisations cut through the “noise”, engage with their target audience and maybe think about compiling a list of things they actually like about Twitter, so they can spread the word to others with new-found zeal, based on new-found knowledge.

Twitter has a number of features waiting to be discovered by the curious, or by those who aren’t preoccupied by the day-to-day demands of business. One of them is called lists, and it is a useful, decluttering tool, making it well suited to organisations who need to maximise the return on the investment of time in Twitter.

When businesses start out on Twitter, following heaps of people, their home stream begins to flood with all sorts of messages, drowning out the important and helpful ones. This can be a problem. The solution: make a list.

So what, exactly, is a list? As its name suggests, it is list of Twitter users grouped together by a common thread. You can have lists of people who tweet about law, lists of people who live in London or London or lists based on Tweeters’ occupations.

You don’t have to remember the names of people you want to check, you don’t even need to follow people on a list to see what they are tweeting. You simply open your list in Twitter and read what’s being tweeted.

By using lists, you will also be joining the ranks of the social media savvy set, who us them as a time and information management tool.

So let’s get started.

On your Twitter profile page:

 

Twitter profile page, showing @wordmediaco

You will you will see lists featuring here:

 

Arrow points to lists link on Twitter profile

 

Choose the “create list” option which will show the following screen:

 

Arrow points to Twitter list button social media

 

Now you’re ready to name it and populate it:

 

Create and name a list on Twitter social media

You can call the list anything you like, as long as it is less than 25 characters and doesn’t begin with numbers. Then choose whether you want the list to be public or private.

Public means anyone can see it, can see who you have added and can follow it. You can even Tweet your list, if you think other people would benefit from it.

Private means that only you can see the list. The people on the list can’t see it. This could be good for keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing, to keep track of their tweets without having to follow them – so they’ll never even know you’re reading their tweets.

Only after creating the list can you start putting people on it. Here’s how: go to someone’s profile page or profile summary, click on the black head-and-shoulders icon beside the “following” button and select the option that says “add or remove from lists”. You will then be prompted to tick the name of the list you want the person to be added to.

You can create up to 20 lists. And you can follow lists that other people have created. You benefit by accessing all of the tweeters (and their tweets) on that list without even having to follow any of the people on it.

To follow someone else’s list, go to their Twitter profile page. On the left side, you’ll see the option called lists. Click it, and you’ll see the lists they’ve created.
Click on any of their lists and click “subscribe”.

One other thing: when you list someone publicly, it shows you care about their tweets and would like to read them all. It’s a gesture of gratitude. You might get listed in return.

You can also use a third-party list curating service but that’s possibly a subject for another blog post.

*This article contains extracts from a blog written by Nicky Kriel, who is a social media coach & trainer based in Guildford, Surrey. She inspires, educates and empowers business owners to use social media more strategically. www.nickykriel.com

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co