I have seen a lot of people following thousands of tweople and I always asked myself how they manage to handle so many users. Now with the list function, users will have a new tool that will help them to manage Twitter in a simple manner. They can create lists of tweople they really want to read tweets from, while their following can grow unlimitedly, so it can be used for marketing purposes. In other words, the lists bridge the gap that existed between the ‘purists’ that want to use Twitter only for their personal enrichment and the ‘marketing’ folks that just want as large a following as possible to have the largest reach for their promotional tweets.
To get started with lists, there are a few basic things to keep in mind. The first thing is to plan ahead for best results. First, make sure you share your lists outside of Twitter. Everyone is thinking about sharing his or her lists within Twitter, but don’t stop there. Share the links to your lists on your website or blog. Lists can be accessed via a web address like: http://twitter.com/user_name/list_name. To promote your list on your website, just add a link with this address. Don’t forget to promote your lists on FaceBook, in email signatures, and in your newsletters. Secondly, give your lists a good name. After all when you give your list a name this will become part of the URL, people will see this and should be able to remember this. Naming your lists may not be as important as choosing your Twitter user name, but it is still important. You want the name to be enticing, but it should accurately describe what kind of list it is. Finally, create lists with a target audience in mind. Think strategically, take a marketing approach and think of lists as a marketing tool. Ask yourself these questions: “What kind of information is my target user interested in?” and “How can I make it interesting enough for him to follow my list”. For example, let’s say you are a realtor. You would like to attract potential homebuyers in the Boston area. Your target audience would be (first-time) homebuyers and people thinking of selling their house. You should be able to find several bloggers and home magazines on Twitter that tweet about home buying, loan types, the home buying process, mortgages and interest rates. Surely you can find several tweople who tweet about Boston neighborhood statistics or tweet links to articles and blogs on the subject. Put all of these sources together in a list and you have created a valuable tool for people that could be your prospective customers. Now all you have to do is promote your list in every place you can think of and see the followers of your list (which are your prospects) grow.
Lists are public by default, but you can make them private, which makes sense if you are just using them to organize what tweets to read. The lists you have created are linked from your profile. Other Twitter users can decide to subscribe to your lists. This means lists can be an important new discovery mechanism for great tweets and tweople.
When you follow a list, you can see it in the “Lists” section in the right-hand side of your Twitter home page. There are different ways to find lists to follow. You can use Twitter under ‘People You Follow’ on the profile page of anyone on Twitter, and you can see all of the public lists they have created and all the lists they follow. You can also see the lists that person appears on. Checking out the lists that your close friends have created, follow, or appear on, is a good way to locate lists you might be interested in. It is expected that many third party applications will come out with list functionality. Listorious is a good example of such an app. It maintains a rapidly growing directory of Twitter lists. You can search or browse through many lists by category and check out the most popular lists in different areas.
The Lists API has now been updated as well. This will allow developers to add support for lists into their Twitter apps. Business usage of Twitter Lists is one of the challenges that new Twitter users face in finding interesting users to follow. There are several third-party tools to help you decide who to follow, by allowing you to search their Bios and their tweets. Developers will be able to grasp the API and use its functionality to add the Twitter lists feature into their apps. The management of your lists is a manual activity and may take up quite a lot of your time. So it is expected that many third party developers will come up with clever additions to their software to automate the creation and maintenance of Twitter lists.
All in all, the addition of lists to Twitter is a great idea. As long as you make your lists public, everyone can enjoy the fruits of your labor. The fact that these lists can be made searchable on the Twitter site itself means more exposure for your own Twitter account. Alternately, you can keep the list private and just use it as a way to stay connected inter-office. Make some clever lists and share them with others, ask them to follow your list and see your popularity grow. There is no better way to network than to have a lot of interested readers! In the end, lists can really help Twitter users enjoy their experience in the Twitterverse and also use it for their own business purposes. Who knows what they will come up with next!