Monday, March 11, 2013

Social Media Monday—How to Use Twitter Lists Effectively

Twitter lists are truly valuable

Many people have heard the mention of Twitter lists, but don’t know how to use them effectively. They also may not realize how truly valuable they can be. Today I’m going to give you some information about how to utilize them, then show you step-by-step how to set the up.

Why have separate Twitter lists?
  • I have separate lists because I have different interests. I follow lists of writers, lists of editors, lists of publishers, lists of social media enthusiasts. And that’s just with my career.
  • I also have hobbies. I follow a list about crafting, and several about knitting, even one about jewelry. 

This means, I follow all these varied people and profiles on Twitter. Can you imagine what my twitter stream looks like when I try to make sense out of it without lists?!? Trust me, it’s not pretty.

And this is just one reason to have varied Twitter lists. Let’s go into all them, in one place.

Twitter Lists
1. Lists that represent your varied interests. I don’t have to explain that since I went into it in the previous paragraphs.

2. Lists of people who mention you on Twitter. A mention is when someone promotes you in a Tweet. Here’s one that came through yesterday from @JaneLark 
@EdieMelson Cheers for following Edie :)

I have to say this is one of the nicest I’ve ever received. Thank you, Jane!

The reason to keep a list of people who mention you on Twitter is so that you can repay the favor. You can do that with just a plain shout-out. Or you can utilize the #FF designation – Follow Friday. Many times on a Friday you’ll see people say something like:

#FF: @EdieMelson @RebaJHoffman @BethVogt @RachaelHauck @LisaJordan @Melissa_Tagg @MichellLim24 @SusanMayWarren - Great folks to follow!

3. Lists of your customers. If you sell anything, from services, to books, to a product, build a list of customers. For a romance writer the list would include bloggers who review romance books, places and people who promote romance books, magazines that are geared to either romance readers  or romance novelists, etc. You get the idea.

How to Set Up a Twitter List
In Twitter:
Go to your profile and click on LISTS. (see arrow in screenshot below)
Then click on NEW LIST. (see arrow in screenshot below)

After clicking CREATE LIST, you’ll see a pop-up window (in the screenshot below). Here you can name your list and describe it. You can also set it as public or private. Most of my lists are public and that’s good because other people can follow them. Some, like my list of those who mention me are private, because truthfully, only I need that information.

When you click SAVE LIST, you’ll go to another page where you can add people to your list. (see screenshot below)

In Hootsuite:
You create lists through the ADD STREAM window (see screenshot below).

After you click ADD STREAM you'll see a pop-up window with lots of options. You want to choose LISTS from the options across the top of the window.
Then choose your PROFILE. Since this is a Twitter list, choose your Twitter profile.
Now click CREATE NEW LIST and type the name of the list in the box provided.
Now type in the description of the new list.
Finally, decide whether it's to be a PUBLIC or PRIVATE list and 
click ADD STREAM. All of this is highlighted in the screenshot below.

Hang in there with me, we're almost through! As soon as you click ADD STREAM Hootsuite will take you to your new stream. Don't panic, it's supposed to be completely empty, now we're going to add people into it. Click on the ARROW at the top of the stream and choose PREFERENCES. The pop-up window in the screenshot below will appear. Follow the directions to choose the people you want to add to the list. (see screenshot below)

Subscribe to Lists
You don't have to always develop your own lists, you can subscribe to lists that others have developed. One of my favorite Twitter lists is curated by Alton Gansky. He has a list of publishers that I subscribe to. It's a public list, so you can subscribe too. Just visit his Twitter page, @AltonGansky FOLLOW him, then click on LISTS and click on PUBLISHERS. This will take you to his Twitter List page and here you can click on SUBSCRIBE.

I've covered a lot of info today, so if you have questions about twitter lists or a suggestion of a valuable list to develop or follow, please leave a comment in the section below.

Don't forget to join the conversation!


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Great post...will create a couple of lists, including Alton Gansky's publisher's list.

    1. Pat, I'm so glad this was helpful! Thanks for stopping by, blessings, E

  2. Thanks, Edie! I'm new to Twitter and didn't even know lists were a possibility. Thanks for providing not only some great reasons for using lists, but also the how-to of setting them up. Very helpful! Off to start creating my own lists ...

    1. Tarissa, I'm so glad you dropped by! If you don't mind, leave another comment and let me know your Twitter handle (name) so I can follow you, if I don't already. Thanks & Blessings, E

  3. Thanks, Edie! I wasn't sure how to do this! My Twitter feed will be much more organized after this invaluable lesson! Thanks a million! :)


    1. Morgan, it really does make Twitter much more manageable. Thanks so much for dropping by! Blessings, E

  4. Great info! I've wondered how to do this and now I know. Woo hoo!

    1. I'm glad I was able to help! Thanks for dropping by, Blessings, E

  5. Excellent! I have had "figure out Twitter lists" on my to-do list for quite some time now and this is the help I needed! @Heatherbelladam

    1. Heather, I'm all about crossing things off our to-do lists! Thanks for sharing your Twitter handle and for leaving a comment, Blessings, E

  6. Ok, you've done it again my friend! You're the techno queen and terrific at everything you do! I may be biased, but oh well! Love you, precious friend!

    1. Jamie, thank you, I'm glad you've found this helpful! Blessings, E

  7. Thanks so much Edie,
    I have tried to make lists in Hootsuite but got lost - the preferences will help.
    How do I add the names? Is there a place in Hootsuite that shows my followers and who I am following. I haven't found that yet. I can go to Twitter and cut and paste the name from there. Otherwise I have to scan through all my tweets to find the right name.

    1. Janis, it's much easier - I think - to make the list in Twitter and then just add the list to the stream. The instant you make a list on Twitter it's accessible on your Hootsuite account. It does take more steps to do it on Hootsuite.
      One thing I do is look at my twitter feed on hootsuite and then just type in the names of folks who fit the list profile. That's especially easy to do when you're making up a list for those who've mentioned you.
      I hope this helps a little. Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

    2. Edie,
      So ... I did make one author's list by copying and pasting from Twitter following to Hootesuite. But actually making it on Twitter - it will feed to Hootsuite? Is that correct?

    3. Janis, yes, developing the list on Twitter makes it almost instantly available on Hootsuite. I haven't been able to find any lag time between the two.

  8. I'd never open Twitter if it wasn't for the List feature. Great tutorial, Edie!

  9. Tweet tweet! Thanks Edie, I have GOT to quit procrastinating on Twitter. Maybe this list thing will help, because yes...when I look at my twitter feed it's just a big jumble. I have like 2000 people I follow and I have like 900 followers. I admittedly don't tweet too much, and maybe when I get more active it won't be a problem, but now when I try to follow someone, it says I'm following too many people. Can they just tell I'm not a devoted tweeter???Thanks!

  10. Hi Edie; this is a terrific post. Thank you for helping understand how to use Twitter lists better. And you even included HootSuite, nice touch.