In fact, in a survey of Twitter’s own employees, less than half used lists! And in the New New Twitter update, they’ve moved the List function off your home page.
Regardless, lists are one of the best and most effective functions of Twitter and all ‘power users’ know this. You may not be a power user (100K followers or more) — neither am I — but lists are still your friend.
Here are my Top 10 reasons you should be using lists:
1) The number one reason to use lists: each list allows you to add up to 500 people aka tweeps. You can have up to 20 lists (public or private though I recommend public). I suck at math but even I can figure out that’s 10,000 people!
It can take up to a year to garner a following of 10,000 people (or to even follow that many), but guess what? Lists allow you to jump over that hurdle. Lists are Twitter’s worst kept secret. Why secret? Because the List button is right there out in the open yet very few people utilize them or know what to do with them.
2) Lists are a perfect way to attract followers to your stream. People are flattered you’ve added them to a list. It means you care enough to take that extra step (which takes seconds). It’s like you invited them to an exclusive party.
3) Think of lists as labels, or folders, which allow you to break down your tweeps by your interests or categories. You curate your lists; you can be as general or as specific as you’d like.
Customize your lists ideally by keywords, interests, client base, etc.
Why is this important? As you grow, your home feed becomes a big, streaming mess, virtually impossible to keep up with unless you organize somehow. The beauty is you’ll now feel more in control by reading tweets in lists only, filtering out the noise.
4) Here’s an easy link that tells you how to create a list though to be honest, Twitter makes it uber easy and the Create List tab is self-evident.
The best part about Lists is that you can list someone as you follow them. If you purge or unfollow, you can easily unlist them.
Lists are very fluid. They grow and change as your Twitter grows and changes. You may start with lists of people you connect with and six months from now you may have grown in different directions. And that’s okay. Lists are easily editable.
5) Divide and conquer. As your account grows, it becomes harder to keep up with your followers’ content. Use lists to read only the tweets of those followers who are of most interest to you.
6) Crib from others. BIG tip: as you peruse new followers, check out their lists. You can simply follow the list, which doesn’t mean you’re following all the people on the list (Twitter requires you follow people individually), but this is useful if you find the people on the list interesting and value their content for RTs.
BIG tip #2: click to the top left on members: that way you see who is on the list as opposed to the running scroll of tweets.
I do this a lot. Crib from other people’s lists – they’ve already done the work! Why not? If you have similar interests, follow the list and pick five to ten people from the list who interest you to follow individually.
Note: I don’t recommend following every person on someone’s list, or you’re just duplicating their work – in that case, just click ‘follow the entire list.’
7) Lists are editable. If your job or interests change, you can simply edit, retitle, or even delete a list. Twenty lists sounds like a lot but as your account grows into the thousands, you’ll find yourself editing and changing your lists.
8) Lists can help increase your Klout score. Klout now encourages you to list people and give K+ for listing people. The importance of Klout is still somewhat controversial but if you’re into it, they make it easy to import your lists.
9) Be creative with your list titles. I see so many ‘People who RT me’ lists. Snore. On my @RachelintheOC account, I have lists such as Awesome Redheads (you can figure that out for yourself), Charming Men (Guys: What do I have to do to get on that list? Me: Not ask), and Fab Writers (1 & 2).
10) Karma. The more you list others, the more you are listed. Twitter is all about karma. Give and you shall receive. I find that the more I pay attention to lists, the more people follow me. And it takes only minutes every day.
A good way to be found on lists is to add yourself to Listorious, the Twitter List Directory. It’s free and easy to join.
In my upcoming webinars (Basic Twitter and Advanced) I delve much deeper into lists but this should at least get you going. Twitter’s help section also gives you a basic tutorial. Just click on help and off you go.
I challenge you to start a list when you leave here today. Comment here on my blog or leave me a message at either @BadRedheadMedia or @RachelintheOC & let me know how it went. I’ll even give you a shout out!
What is your experience with lists? What are your thoughts now that you have this information?
And just a little reminder: both my #1 bestselling books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed are FREE through Sunday midnight on Amazon (no Kindle required – simply download their free apps for computer, tablet, smartphone or cloud). Also check out my friend @BenMWallace – his Dumb White Husband books are hilarious and also free.
Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published by Shadow Teams NYC and represented by Lisa Hagan Books. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs, #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.