What is a Twitter list? And do you need one? Let’s take a brief look at what they are and then how to create them for your social media agency.

Are you using Twitter lists? If not, you are missing a great opportunity to connect with your ideal audience, build relationships with influencers, curate content, establish you as an authority, and more.

Sound good? Then let’s get started!

Basics of Twitter Lists

Twitter lists are a way to categorize accounts, so you can find them more easily later.

When you only use your general feed on Twitter, you are subject to the whims of the Twitter algorithm to show you what it wants. Twitter lists put you in the driver seat.

As your account grows and gets bigger, the value of lists becomes even higher. You will get the best results if you start early in building your lists and make keeping them up to date a regular part of your social media maintenance.

How to Make Your First List on Twitter

To get started, you need to be logged into your Twitter account. Remember that if you manage multiple accounts, you will need to make lists on each account that you manage. You can also follow a list in one account from another account, but we will get into that more later.

Step 1. Click on the icon to “Create new list”

how to create a twitter list step by step

If you already have Twitter lists created, instead click on the individual list to edit the items as needed. You can follow the same process for editing the list as for starting one.find out why teams love managing their social with agorapulse

Step 2. Customize with an image if you can

This is not required but will add personality to your list. It is more important on a public list.

For example, I created a list, so members of a Facebook group I am a part of could also follow each other on Twitter easily. I used the image from the Facebook group, so it would be recognizable by the members. The dimensions will be similar to those for a Twitter header image for your account.

custom graphic for Twitter list

Step 3. Create a name and description for your list

Your name is limited to only 25 characters, and your description to 100 characters. You will need to keep it short while maintaining clarity.

If it is a private list, you can use this name and description to help you keep track of your goal for the list.

If it is a public list, then it is important that anyone looking at the list can easily understand what it is about.

Don’t hesitate to use hashtags if it is appropriate to communicate intent in short-form.

how to use name and description in your Twitter list

Twitter Lists: Private vs. Public

As was mentioned, one of the options to decide when you are creating your Twitter list is whether to make it public or private.

If the list is private, only you (and anyone on your team who has full access to the account) will be able to see any of the details of the list. This includes the list name, picture, and who is on the list.

private vs public twitter lists

You should make a Twitter list private if it involves:

Internal sales and marketing processes
Competitive analysis
A list in progress that you want to release when it is completed
Information that is for any other internal company use only

You should make a  Twitter list public if:

Goals for the list include building your credibility as an authority
You want to use Twitter lists to highlight influencers or partners publicly
The list is created to provide a resource to external parties

Download this free social media calendar packed with ideas and examples!
How to Set Up Your Initial Twitter Lists

Building your lists does not have to be overwhelming. Approach it systematically and you can create your core lists in no time. (Well, OK, not in NO time … but how about 1-3 hours?)

Step 1. Brainstorm the lists you need (15 minutes)

Come up with all the different ways you can use Twitter lists in your business.

When you are in the brainstorming phase, generate more ideas than you really need to help you find the best ones. (You’ll have more to choose from!)

I recommend you come up with at least 20 different potential lists. Is your team working together? Set a timer for 5 minutes. Have each person write down as many ideas as they can. Then take 5 minutes to share your lists and another 5 minutes to add new ideas that the shared brainstorm generates.

what is a twitter list? let's brainstorm how to make a list on twitter!

Step 2. Create your initial lists on Twitter (10-20 minutes) 

Narrow your master list down to 5-7 lists that will have the biggest impact on your overall social media goals. Create the lists (whether Twitter public lists or Twitter private lists) using the above steps. Make sure to mark your private lists private!

Step 3. Gather the details for each list (30-45 minutes)

Ideally, you will be able to use lists of people that you have created in other marketing systems. You can put them on a spreadsheet, or print out a list. Whatever is easiest for you will work for this step.

Personally, I find it helpful to have a physical piece of paper in front of me that I can write on.

Some examples of existing databases to use:

Your current clients (from your CRM, billing software, or another system)
Potential clients that you are doing outreach to
Influencers you are actively targeting

If you use Agorapulse, you can also use the fans and followers function to find your most engaged connections on social media. These are also good potentials for various lists.

Twitter lists and social media management

In Agorapulse, you can view all your most engaged users.

Interact with these people to build stronger relationships. You can write notes on each user and see their company information. You can also click the Twitter logo to go directly to their account to easily add them to a list.

Step 3. Find them on Twitter and add them to Your Lists (1-2 hours)

Don’t get distracted! It is easy to get sucked into trending hashtags on Twitter or replying to your inbox while you are there. Remember that you have a job to do.

Some strategies that can help keep you on track are:

Divide and conquer. Is there another member of your team that can help you with this process?
Have a friendly competition. See who can finish their lists first.
Set a timer. Put a limit on how long you have to get this done.

You might want to follow or unfollow these accounts at the same time you are adding them to the lists.

How to Maintain Your Twitter Lists

After putting in the effort to create your Twitter lists, make a plan for managing Twitter lists.

Like the rest of your social media, they will only continue to work for you if you work with them.

You will want to think about how Twitter lists interact with both your long-term and short-term strategy.

Add reviewing your lists to your daily and/or weekly social media to-do list.
Review your Twitter lists as a part of your regular audit process.
Categorize new people when you follow them or when they follow you.

You can also use lists in combination with user labels in Agorapulse to make this a streamlined part of your daily management.

Twitter lists daily management

Finally, don’t be afraid to delete a list when it is no longer meeting your purposes.

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