7 Twitter Lists you Should be Using in your Social Strategy - Sprout Media

Twitter Lists: Cutting through the noise

Are Twitter Lists your most Underused Twitter Marketing tool?


Twitter lists are one of the oldest and most under-utilised features of the micro-blogging platform.

Once you’ve been using Twitter consistently for 6-12 months you’ll start to realise that the home feed just becomes a dumping ground for tweet after tweet, making it nigh on impossible to keep up with those accounts that matter most to you. It’s like a hosepipe of information and pictures cats. Yes, I know I’m guilty via my own Instagram feed dropping the occasional link. Here’s one of our latest stray-come-housecat just to get that out of the way:

A very comfy cat

A photo posted by Jay (@itsjayperkins) on

So, how do you maintain that level of engagement and relationship with the all important Twitter accounts? An ‘oldie but a goodie’ – Twitter lists.

To start you off, we recommend you start with these lists to get you on your way:

1. Your Customers

Don’t panic! It doesn’t have to be a public list, so you can add all your customer accounts to this list safe in the knowledge that your competitors won’t be honing in on your best source of income.

Making sure you stay in touch with your customers is paramount in today’s social age, but it’s also one of the most easily forgotten in social media. I mean, we’re all out there trying to grow our business, amirite? So, sometimes we can be forgiven for not focussing on the relationships and customers we already have.

Twitter Lists

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So make a list of your customers and their Twitter handles, even better if you can include their personal or individual accounts and add them to the list.


2. Your Competitors

You might think this is an odd choice, but keeping tabs on a) what your competitors are doing on social media, b) who they are talking to, c) who is talking back to them, and d) what level of activity their account is getting compared to you are all valuable insights.

It also allows you to add a sprinkle of realism to your own social media goals. Is everyone else in your industry floating around 500 – 1,000 followers with an engagement rate of less than 1%? Is their amplification rate also sub 1%? Then your goal of gaining 20,000 followers in 12 months time is admirable, but if you’re working on a restricted budget, probably unlikely.

But then, if you’re content is THAT good and you invest appropriately in supporting your social strategy (hint: it takes more than giving the new marketing assistant 2 hours a week to schedule tweets about your latest Macmillan Coffee Morning –  by the way, the Victoria sponge was to die for!), then you might just have a chance.


3. Your Suppliers

Work with non-competing companies that support your overall mission and goals? Again, networking with these online can open up more doors if you do so in a genuine, non-sales focused manner.

Having exceptional relationships online with partner firms can expose your Twitter account to new audiences, plus, if they’re well respected in the industry, it raises your profile a little when they are seen to be engaging and even supporting what you do.

Reality check: a tweet from a highly influential account will not fill up your sales pipeline for the next quarter.

Twitter Lists Sprout Media

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4. Industry Journalists

Who are the people who cover stories in your field who you want to notice that you’re beloved company exists? Are they local? National? Global writers for huge media publishers?

Make a list (and separate them into those geographical areas if there are too many) and start engaging with their content.

By sharing the stories they craft, engaging now and then (no stalking!), and generally being a nice interesting person online, you’ll start to have more of a conversation with them. Offer a coffee or attend an event they’re going to and take the relationship to the next level.

That’s networking on social, just remember to connect it to real-life and strengthen the relationship.


5. Bloggers and Individual Influencers

Separate to the journalists are the individual bloggers and major influencers. In my industry, that could be Jay Baer, Mark Schaefer or Jon Loomer.

Essentially, it’s a person (sometimes a small business with major influence, like Copyblogger for us marketers) who produces a lot of high quality, thought leading online content, while still making their money with a product, consulting or speaking gig as their main focus.

Beauty bloggers, vloggers etc. you get the idea. The people that shape ideas and spark conversation in your field. Spread their message, talk to them, attend events they’re going to and network beyond Twitter. Use it like a catalyst to get on the movers and shakers’ (😂) radar.


6. Industry Leaders

Similar to why you should keep tabs on the influencers and competitors in your field, the industry leaders, or behemoths of your world should also be on your social radar on a regular basis.

From the more simple insights such as, who follows these accounts and who talks to them, to more advanced tactics like building relationships with the senior employees of these businesses to sound out any potential partnerships or other opportunities.

In some cases, they might actually be quite experimental on social media as they’ve invested in teams of people to manage their presence on a full-time basis. They could be the inspiration for your next social or content marketing idea.


7. Potential Leads

How you define a potential lead is something that can vary wildly from business to business. Some people will class a relevant Twitter account a lead (or soft lead), an account listed as being in a certain area, an email address or telephone number, someone who has shared an article of yours etc.

But however you do it, make sure you have a regular process to add them when possible, to a Twitter list. Some accounts are findable with an email address, some can be figured out by using tools such as Rapportive or HubSpot Sales right from your Gmail inbox.

Or you can just search Twitter for people with the job title you’re looking for and in the location you sell to, then add them to the list. Be warned, this way can end up being a mammoth list that mimics the home feed you were trying to cut the noise from in the first place.


There’s plenty more you could be doing with Twitter lists, but this is a good start and is a great way of keeping positive relationships on social without too much fuss.

How about you? How have you used Twitter lists?


Twitter Lists Sprout Media

We’re done here. 📷 Giphy

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