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Using Twitter lists to understand your audience

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2015 is well underway and it’s a great time to take a look at how your content is performing with your audience across the board, and admit some hard truths if things aren’t resonating as well as you’d hoped in the rosy plans you made at the end of 2014. If January has been slow with your audience it’s not a reason to give up. It is a reason to utilize a Twitter feature that’s been around for a while in a whole new way: Twitter lists. (Completely new to Twitter lists? Here’s a guide from Twitter themselves.)

To Do List by John Schultz via Flickr

This may seem overwhelming at first, but putting in the work now can help keep track of various customer segments- and competition- going forward. Image used with permission via Creative Commons License. Via John Schultz on Flickr.


How do I organize these lists?

This will take some time, but it’s worth it, since keeping up with your entire Twitter stream every day (never mind retaining all of that information about everyone you follow) is impossible. What should these lists look like? Start with these general categories, and then make more specific lists that uniquely fit your brand and your customers:

  • Customers: A list to frequently check in on regarding purchases, and to interact with regularly
  • Former customers: Consider breaking this down into smaller lists; why did they leave? Did they have the budget for just one campaign with you? Did they go to your competitor? Monitor that list to see if they’re unhappy with your competitor too (some people can never be pleased), or if your competitor offers something you don’t.
  • Influencers: A list to retweet great content from, and interact with regularly; important people to build respectful relationships with
  • Competitors: An easy way to keep an eye on what your competition is up to so you don’t get blindsided with new developments in your market
  • Tweet chat attendees: Do you attend a lot of Twitter chats around your industry? Consider individual lists for those you interact with regularly in specific chats
  • Employees: An easy way to find everyone’s handle if you’re celebrating their hire, anniversary, or highlighting great work that they do
  • Businesses you work with: A list makes it easy to help share their announcements, big wins, etc; they’re more likely to do the same for you in return!
  • Brand advocates: Customers you definitely want to interact with regularly, and reward in a way that makes sense for your brand

Before you start making these lists, be sure you know if you want them to be public or private. Choosing to make a list of influencers in your industry public could be a smart move, as it inspires a little healthy competition between influencers, but you might want to keep a list of your competitor’s customers private so they don’t feel like you’re intruding on them, and your own customers private so your competitors don’t have a handy list to poach from.

How do private lists work?

When you add someone to a public list on Twitter, they are notified about it. Private lists, however, are only accessible to you and anyone that you add to them will not be notified that you are following them via a list. No one else can see them either.

Anything else?

It’s okay to have overlap on these lists; everyone doesn’t have to fit neatly onto a single list. This is also a reason you’ll want to make some of your lists private. If you add one customer to the customer list, the brand advocate list, and two Twitter chat lists, that could be a little overwhelming for them. Always err on the side of being cautious when you communicate with your customers. You want to be friendly and responsive, but never make them feel like you’re stalking them. Don’t be creepy.

Written by Sarah

January 26th, 2015 at 9:34 am

Posted in Guides

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Why you should use lists on Twitter

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A Twitter Quick Tip. 

Setting up Twitter lists can seem like an imposing task, but they’re a great tool to organize a range of things: resources for your industry, thought leaders to learn from, customers to keep track of, industry verticals, comedians for when you need a break– whatever you can dream up.

If you’re just getting started, you might want to check out other users’s public lists. You can subscribe to these (and they’ll show up at the bottom of your lists so other people will know which lists you’re subscribed to) and get an idea of what works for you on a list and what doesn’t. Best of all? You don’t have to be following someone to put them in a list. A lot of thought leaders, for example, would be people who tweet at high volumes and could flood your feed. Keep them to a list and you can learn from them in a way that isn’t overwhelming, then follow the ones who provide the most value to you. (It’s also a great way to keep track of competitors; and yes, you can make a list private, which you might want to do with that one.)

Twitter's Twitter Lists


Twitter’s Twitter Lists: it’s getting a little meta in here. 

How do you use Twitter lists?

Written by Sarah

July 23rd, 2013 at 9:44 am

Posted in Guides

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