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Why YOU Should Be Using Twitter Lists

How to be awesome at Twitter Lists

Lists. For some people this word strikes fear into them, while for others they provide order, routine and calm and are an essential tool for running their life and business. However, no matter what your opinion on lists, if you’re a Twitter user then you should be using Twitter lists, especially if you’re a small business and your time is precious.

Why? Basically, because they are a great way to help you get the best out of Twitter. I have found that as my Twitter base has grown it has become harder to keep track of what is going on. A Twitter feed moves fast and depending on how many people you follow you can’t possibly keep track of everything. Twitter Lists make it possible to stay connected and more importantly help you manage and maintain your key relationships (this is what Twitter is all about after all) . By combining this with Hootsuite, your Twitter lists also become a powerful listening tool.


  • A Twitter List is a list of key people, organisations, competitors, industry experts and Influencers that you may want to reach out to or track

  • Lists can be public or private. Public lists mean just that - anyone on Twitter can view your list and subscribe to it.

  • To add someone to a Twitter list you don’t have to follow them and this applies whether the list is public or private.

  • When you add someone to a list they will get a notification so make sure your List name is appropriate. In fact, make it more than appropriate, make it awesome.

  • People can unsubscribe themselves from your List

  • Don’t forget to add yourself to your own Twitter lists (if relevant). That way your tweets will be visible within your own list

  • When viewing someone’s profile, remember to check out their lists and subscribe if you find one that’s interesting

How to CREATE a Twitter List:

When you first create a List you will have to access Lists via your profile picture (see image) and then click on lists (once you have created a list you will then be able to access it from your profile page).

When you have clicked on the list button you will see a box on the right-hand side displaying Create Twitter list – click it and this pop up will appear. This is where you create your list.

The list name will be viewed by all viewing the list so make it appropriate. You can add a description, which is useful for people who might want to subscribe, particularly if you have given the list a bit of a cryptic name.

Private or Public? It is important to note that a list that is public can be seen, and followed, by anyone. A private list is only accessible and seen by you (not anyone following you). For example, Private Lists are a great way to monitor competitor activity without them knowing.

To add members to your list simply go into their profile (see pic) and click the "add or remove from list" button. You will then be asked to select which list to add (or remove)

Remember you don’t have to follow the person to add them to a list, and they can of course remove themselves from your List, in the same way you can remove yourself from other Lists.. To find out which lists people have subscribed you to, click on your list tab which should now appear in your main profile:

The “Subscribed to” tab is your created lists and the “Member of” tab are lists where people have subscribed you to their lists. Have a look as there maybe some useful connections. If you click one of your own lists you will find all the latest tweets of the list members. To the left of the tweets is a box that will show you if you have any list subscribers, as per my Devon Business Folk list here, I have four.

There are loads of different ways to use Twitter lists. The first step is to think about the type of Twitter list you want to create?

Event – if you are organising an event this is a great way to group together all the exhibitors. Remember to also create a hashtag for the event in advance so that you can start sharing it before. You could also create a Twitter list of all the attendees who are on Twitter (you would need to ensure people are happy for this to happen)

Industry leaders – Not only can you keep on top of what is going on in your sector but you can also start to build relationships with industry leaders and influencers. Eventually these relationships are key for helping you to promote a new blog, an offer, key news etc. A great way to find other industry leaders is to view the Twitter Lists that other leaders belong to.

Competitors – This is a great way to keep track of what people are doing in your sector and sector. This is a list that should probably be private (see below: Customers)

Local Biz List – This is a list that again works well in Hootsuite. I like to know what’s going on in my area as it’s a great way to interact with local businesses. A Twitter list containing local businesses, bloggers etc is really useful. It’s also a list that would be useful to other Tweeters in your location.

Blog – If you’re a blogger, Twitter lists are key to helping you distribute your material without having to trawl through your followers list when wanting to tweet your new content to individuals

Customers – Maintaining customer relationships is key in keeping business and getting referrals. Start a Twitter list that contains your clients (and make it private). This makes it easier to retweet their offers, promotions and blogs and keeping in touch articles

Twitter Hours – I have lists for Twitter hours relevant to both me and my clients

Company Twitter List – if you are a large organisation with many employees on Twitter, why not create a list which encompasses them all (another one to make Private)?

Hootsuite and Lists

You can also view and manage your Twitter lists in Hootsuite. I have a tab that has four streams which are all Twitter lists. To add a list, simply add a “stream”, then select lists and pick which list you wish to add. You can even create a list in Hootsuite and this will transfer back to your Twitter account.

To add people to your list in Hootsuite, click on the contacts page via the left-hand navigation panel. Here you will see all the people you follow and those who are following you.

To add a connection to a list, find the connection then click on the arrow and select add to list, or you can drag and drop.

So there you go why not start creating those lists and remember every time you connect with someone just take a second to think about whether or not they are list worthy.

Now what’s next on my list…cup of tea! And a biscuit.

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