Twitter lists do much more for your brand than just drive value on Twitter.
They are an integral part of any competitive analysis marketing strategy, giving you a real time feed reflecting: news, announcements (PR activity, earnings reports, staff moves) and what direct competitor execs are doing and where.
Curated lists give you an instant snapshot of activity about your market; i.e. what’s trending, hashtag activity, news, thought leader content shares and real time competitive intelligence.
You can endlessly segment lists based on your marketing strategy and topics and trends you want to track.
But know lists are labor intensive, even using automated tools, and require work to maintain. But, your investing in a digital asset that delivers high value over time.
For your own brand, getting listed drives perceived value via your profile and of course broader exposure driven by the popularity of a list that includes your profile.
There is no magic formula for getting listed other than sharing great content, being authentic and thanking those that list you. #payitforward
Basic 1.0 Twitter List Management Tactics
Click in to your Twitter profile and look at screen right under “Lists” and “Create Lists” to build a list.
Name a List, add a description, and note you can save Lists as “Public” and “Private” and you will want to use both.
How to Measure your Brand’s List Love or Lack Thereof
Click in to your Lists Page and them go to Member Of in the middle of the page and drop down list will appear. The more the better of course.
Why and How You Want to Use Twitter Lists for Savvy Brand Marketing
Think of lists as a handy way to stay on top of what’s happening in your vertical market, tracking competitors, thought leaders, hashtags and much more.
Using Private Lists in a Spy vs. Spy World
Unlike public lists, when adding an individual or brand to a Private List there is no user notification. Private Lists are great for monitoring specific groups of competitors and you may want to break these down into management teams, products, their brand mentions via hashtags, etc. For bigger brands, you may want to segment some of your Private Lists: just execs, marketing or PR managers, finance team, by locale, etc.
Tech Tools, Platforms for Building High Value Lists
We live in a world full of endless expansion of technology and services. All of these apps below will help you save time and leverage marketing costs.
- Followerwonk, Twellow, Social Bro and Tweepi are the most popular tools on the market for building lists. Paid services on Tweepi as an example are well worth the $15-20. per month you will save trying to build lists manually.
- Creepy is a geolocation enabling app that lets you track individuals. If they have enabled geolocation on their Twitter profile Creepy can aggregate this information and pull from other social accounts. But, be forewarned, this is a standalone app.
- Twitter’s own Advanced Search (accessible via your home page after you do one search) is powerful and gives you very sophisticated criteria for searches. Downside is the time required to dig up useful information and then exporting into Twitter lists.
- Use Facebook’s Graph Search to cross check individuals or brands.
- Reverse engineer thought leaders or other brands or individuals you are competing with: who are they Following, review their lists and Followers of individuals on these lists. You’re leveraging circles within circles.
- Got a picture but no name - use Google’s image search by dragging an individual’s photo into it and note if they are using the same image on LinkedIn Google will show their name. Then, check the name via Twitter to come up with profile.
- Export your lists to Flipboard to get a powerful visual representation of a Twitter stream and use this for sourcing content.
- Zapier and IFTTT are cloud based vendors that enable you to automate list building. Both offer paid and free services, IFTTT has robust functionality that’s free and Zapier’s TOS cost a bit more ($15-30. per month depending on usage rates).
- Social Rank is another great way to build lists. Use it to identify high value people that are sharing your content on a regular basis and build a Private list comprising all.
- TwitListManager is a cool little tool that will save you significant time building and managing lists; it’s free and the developer just asks for donations.
- TweetBe.At gives you a snapshot of all followers and powerful list management (great batch mode), with a more feature rich pro version.
Seven Creative Ways to use Twitter Lists for Brand Buzz Building and More
- If your list is public, always include your own brand on the list to drive ROI.
- Curate a specific list for an event by adding all attendees to a list and actively promote the list. Integrate event hashtag with the process.
- Build Twitter lists for your entire company to get an instant snapshot of what’s being conveyed.
- Shared interests lists are another way to build a community around your brand. You can be endlessly creative with these. Use lists to give your customers access to vendors that will save them time and money as an example.
- Stay on top of what your customers are doing by creating a private list.
- Use lists to give your customers a digital shout: every time you add them they get a notice. But, know some savvy competitors may use this against you: see Spy vs. Spy.
- If you are a local focused business, Twitter Lists are a great way to aggregate information that is specific for your area: places of interest, where to eat, etc.
Deeper Dive for Jedi Class List Building
Accessing Other Lists is Easy
- Click in to the Home Page of the User (pull them up on Google if need be)
- Then Access Lists at top right of Page
- Select and Click into any List
Once You Access the List Screen you Have Six Primary Actions
- See Members of Lists
- See Subscribers of Actual List (“poach” these for your own Lists)
- See Tweets of All List Members
- See All Lists for that Account
- View Recently Added Members
- Click Subscribe Radio Button to Join the List (no arrow)
Ten Plus Critical Ways to Leverage Twitter’s Always On Eco System
Twitter is always going through an organic growth or leveling off phases. The hectic go go land rush phase is gone - underscoring your need as a business or individual to highly leverage your marketing on the platform, with baked in tech and stellar tactical execution.
Baseline Twitter marketing issues have not changed: completed profile, changed 1-2 per quarter or more, integrating a great image on the profile page, hashtag integration, Tweeting out 15-20 times per day with no more than 10% of your own content, engaging with others, using and rotating different hashtags.
Success on Twitter require technical competency and platform(s) integration. That’s not to say tech replaces curating and sharing great content. It does not - technology just helps you grow faster and better. I use and recommend ManageFlitter, it’s UI is a bit geeky and there is a learning curve associated with it. But, you can spend $50. a month for a Pro Account (approx) and save yourself significant time automating your Follows, Unfollows, Deleting Spammy/funky accounts, Following your competitors and much more.
Ignore interacting with others in your industry; you’re preaching to the choir in most cases and their support and interaction is not going to be significant.
Discount 80% of the babble about “how I grew my account to 2M followers in 20 minutes on Twitter.” For most of you it’s not meaningful. Yes, if you have bright, shiny tech that’s hyper cool it may happen. Twitter success is about a sustained outbound marketing activities: curating content, sharing your own, interacting with others, leveraging lists, etc.
Tweetdeck on a desktop and native Twitter on a smartphone are the best platforms out there hands down. And, Tweetdeck has done a wonderful job enabling Twitter Lists integration going back to the days prior to the acquisition. Are there other platforms that rock? Yes, but know every one of them has an associated learning curve, as does Tweetdeck. But, nothing comes close to Tweetdeck in terms of ease of use, power and flexibility.
Don’t Tweet without images and/or short form video. Regardless of your market focus, these people are on phones (they sleep with them for God’s sake) and images cut through the clutter Use Twitter Cards to attach rich visual images to your Tweets.
Content not repeated on Twitter with a frequency ratio is content (which is expensive) wasted. I don’t think there is any specific geeky formula that works well. Just listen to your audience (ReTweet and Favorites are a good gauge) and creatively change the Tweet Headline for y0ur content - don’t use the same headline over and over.
Know the intersecting “lines” of your brand, implicit personality, culture, practical content, causes you support are best defined by the 10-20% rule. Mix and match “creative” topics with practical content, you don’t want to be boring.
Know when to engage on Twitter and when it’s a waste of time. Trolls are every where and some of us (self included) say and do stupid things. Check the timeline of the inbound Tweeter; if it looks “trollish” then use the mute or block; it it’s real you may want to engage to build brand engagment on the platform.
Twitter analytics is somewhat helpful for understanding 30K foot issues; but, it’s not a deep dive powerful tool like Google Analytics and you have to manually sign up to get access.
Showing gratitude on Twitter builds brand relevance, cachet and garners the attention of the community.
Know that relationships on Twitter mirror real life. Much of the “engagment” can have the shelf life of a good bottle of wine, others will be long term (months or years). Honor both with reciprocal content shares, shout outs and bon mots. Don’t be a brand broadcaster on Twitter, the community will notice.
Listening to Twitter’s “always on broadcast” is critical to driving brand success. Lists are again a great way to selectively listen to what’s being said (individuals and brands), what’s valuable and what isn’t. Patterns will emerge, but it takes active listening for recognizing patterns and tools like Twitonomy will help,
Test time zones and days to understand what’s driving brand engagement. These may surprise you - you may see higher conversions and more engagment in off hours, nights and week-ends.
If you track thought leader Marsha Collier you’ll see she shares different content on week-ends from week-days, which is consistent with how consumers engage with content.
Twitter Success is About Cutting Through the Content Smog
The social web (Twitter and all major platforms) is characterized by an over abundance of content. Content curation and is an essential skill for all brands big or small. Twitter lists are a great way to scale up your content curation.
But recognize Twitter Lists are just shortcuts to curating content, aggregating competitive intelligence and require technical competency using third party apps and services.
There are no silver bullets for building a meaningful presence on Twitter. It takes time, stellar community management and just like life, an awareness that change underpins everything.
It’s a vibrant community and people want to hear what you have to say - be meaningful and share great content. And, be patient, it takes time to get meaningful traction on Twitter.