Updated 7/22/19.

Twitter lists are the most efficient way to use Twitter for the busy marketing professional or small business owner. Heck, it’s the only way I run my business.

Time and time again, I am asked how to be more efficient in one’s use of Twitter. The answer is simple. Use lists.

This allows you to spend more time engaging your targeted audiences, curate content for all platforms, and, more importantly, listen. For more on why Twitter is the best for business to business marketing, read this post.

This post has been updated in July of 2019 and includes quite a few embedded videos. With that said, some of my videos are now out of date, so here is a link from Twitter that probably won’t change on everything you need to know about lists.

You know you don’t have to read every tweet, right?

Often those new to Twitter complain that there is so much to read. They unfollow “prolific” (often used as a derogatory term) tweeters because they “clog up” their Twitter stream.

You can scroll. And you can filter.

Twitter Lists are the most under-utilized tool available to Twitter users second to the reply button. Click To Tweet

How do you create a list on Twitter?

The one good update from Twitter is the prominence of lists on the sidebar. Go to your username (slash) lists like https://twitter.com/YouTooCanBeGuru/lists and click on the +List icon at the top. Or you can click on the Lists link on the sidebar.

Be intentional about your list names. You should lists clients, categories, industry, etc. More on that is below.

Create your own lists.

How do you list users on Twitter?

You can create and edit lists on Twitter’s web app for desktop.

When you go to a user’s profile, click the three dots, choose “add or remove from lists,” and then choose the list. You can add users to more than one list. Twitter just changed how this looks now (July 2019).

Click on the three dots on a user profile to see the list options.

You can add people to existing lists from Twitter desktop, mobile, or Hootsuite. I primarily use HootsuitePro because the columns you setup are the same on desktop or mobile .

For In-Depth Tutorials See:

What do you need to know about listing on Twitter?

You do not have to follow someone to be able to list them.  This can be helpful for celebrities and news people (that you make lists for).

So give your lists some thought. Think keywords.  It is so much work to go backward and fix these.

Lists can be public or private. When you add people to a list, they will be notified that they are listed and the name of the list. Twitter users can subscribe to your public lists.  I don’t use private lists.

More: Twitter Help Center:  Using Twitter Lists

Listing by Relationship:

In my talk, “You Are What You Tweet,” I emphasized the importance of listing and relationships. It is important to think about what relationships you may want to list.

Pencil out some of the choices you might have. Think about your business and or interests. Humor, automobiles, travel, politics, and sports are just a few of the endless possibilities.

Think of your three target demographics you need to stay in touch with. Write those down. Be aware that they will be notified of the name of the list.

When I worked for Riggins Construction, I put our clients and brokers on and another for our subcontractors. Those were people whose tweets I always want to see, reply to, and share.

When I worked for GiveWP, I wanted to see our team, nonprofits, and WordPress users.

Listing can be done for any industry.

Listing by Topic

Sometimes it’s hard to remember a follower when you need to. Usernames are often hard to remember (exactly) and avatars frequently change.

When I wanted to remember the two painters I followed in Orange County, I was so frustrated.  I had a “construction” list for the @RigginsConst account, but it was too diverse.

I finally ended up making several lists and put the floor and tile people together the HVAC and roofing people together, the General Contractors on their own list, etc.

For GiveWP, I started an #NPChat list. This helped me engage with those who are participating in our weekly chat during the week.

Listing by Geography

There are many benefits to listing by geography.

For business and networking purposes, it’s good to put people who live in your vicinity, say county, on a list. This is especially important for brick-and-mortar businesses who depend upon local clientele.

For example, I have an Orange County list, I can go to that column on Hootsuite, and read only those tweets.  The list filters out my whole twitter stream (currently following 11,600) to show only the 376 on that list. Obviously, making the information more relevant and manageable for me. This gives me the ability to scroll through tweets and find gems even from four hours ago that I missed while otherwise occupied. I simply reply to start a conversation or share (retweet) their post.

Another reason to list by geography is if you’re researching an area to travel and/or move.

My backup plan, should I ever have to leave California, is to move to Arizona.  I started putting people on a list with other Arizonans.  I can read their tweets, interact, get to know the area, learn new things, and make friends before I even move.

Organization is the Key to Being Effective

Listing is the only way I think I could be truly effective at building relationships on Twitter. Prioritizing who you engage with is not bad, it’s common sense.

There are a lot of non-sense tweets, check-ins, and such, but those are also the tweets that show an individual’s humanity and personality. Discovering shared interests is the start of any friendship.


Go read: “Twitter Lists for the Power User” by Carol Stephen for more ideas.

Happy Listing.

Feel free to check out my lists here.

There are 14 comments What do you think? I'd love to read your thoughts.

What do you think? I'd love to read your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please enter an e-mail address

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.