Recently, Twitter rolled out a brand new feature called Twitter Lists. The feature allows you to group together other Twitter users into lists and keep track of them more easily. Twitter Lists have been a big hit with many users and thousands of them have been created, with the most popular gathering thousands or tens of thousands of followers. Here's how you, as a small business owner, can take advantage of Twitter Lists.
What Are Lists?
Essentially, Lists allow you to do three main things:
- Better organize those you follow
- Recommend people for others to follow
- Keep an eye on users you're not following
With Twitter Lists, you can group together users -- including users you don't actually follow -- into lists that are either public (anyone can see them) or private (only you can see them). You can also follow other people's lists. When you follow a list, you don't follow every individual user on that list -- their tweets will not be added to your real-time stream. Instead, you follow that list as a whole and a link to the list's page is added to your main Twitter screen. Clicking on that link will load up the tweets of everyone on the list, meaning that you can keep up with their tweets by checking the list page any time you want to.
Mashable's guide, "HOW TO: Use Twitter Lists" provides an excellent and concise overview of how Twitter lists actually work and how you can use them.
3 Ways to Use Lists to Your Advantage
Keep track of competitors - When you add someone to a private Twitter List, that person won't ever be alerted that they're on that list and won't have any way to find out. That means you can keep track of your competitors without following them or without them knowing that you're keeping an eye on how they're using Twitter.
Recognize your peers - One of the key uses of Twitter Lists is to recommend other users to follow by creating lists about specific topics. Creating a list of peers in your industry has two major benefits. First, it makes it easier for you to organize and read the tweets of people in your industry that share good information, and second, topical Twitter Lists can be helpful for your customers. For example, if you own a photography studio, your customers might appreciate a list of great photographers on Twitter. Or, if you own a restaurant, your clientele might be keen to find out, via a Twitter List, where else you like to eat. By helping your customers find information they seek, you'll build trust that will translate into future sales.
Make employees easier to find - Twitter Lists can also be used as a way to group together all of your employees. The New York Times, for example, has a staff list allowing readers to follow their staff all in one go. Even though you may only have a couple of employees, your customers may enjoy being able to keep track of everyone who works for you in one place. Your customers will likely feel more personally connected to your business as a result and be more apt to do business with you in the future. But be aware of the type of content your employees put on Twitter before you recommend that your customers follow them.