Using Twitter Lists

How To Effectively Follow The Masses On Twitter

Twitter is a powerful social networking tool that can help build our brand, our influence and expand our social media reach. This article and video takes a look at the two different thoughts as far as Twitter Strategy – Should we build Twitter big or keep it manageable?

I should also state that this is my way, not the only way of managing our Twitter accounts. I have heard some VERY convincing arguments from others that go in almost opposite directions. As with everything we do, find what works best for you and ignore the rest. 😉

Why Twitter?

Twitter is currently Hot Blog Tip’s social second biggest social traffic referral, second only to Google Plus. (At the time of our video below, Twitter was number one but we’re at the beginning of a three month Google Plus campaign to boost G+ engagement.)

Hot Blog Tip’s Twitter Strategy

I personally control our Hot Blog Tips Twitter account and I follow my own rules when it comes to who to follow, block, engage etc.. I’ll follow anyone if they are real and not a spammer. It’s really just personal preference but I’ll share the loose guidelines I follow:

I try to follow almost anyone real the follows me as long as they aren’t deceptive, negative, evil or hateful and have:

  1. Completed their profile.
  2. Are not using the default egg avatar. No avatar – no follow.
  3. Listed a URL in the website space, even another social network will do.
  4. Tweet on a regular bases.
  5. Are not following a handful of people with thousands of followers.
  6. English based account. I can only read English right now.

Your WHY

Why are you on Twitter? Your answer might be totally different than mine and that’s fine. We all have different goals and aspirations. Twitter can be an amazing tool for  communication, networking, collaboration, customer service, marketing, keep a macro-journal of almost anything, or just to kick back and socialize. Twitter can be useful for research or staying up on the news. I’m actually guilty of Tweeting a link from my phone to “bookmark” it for later when I get home.

With so many different uses for Twitter, of course we’ll all use it differently. I actually run many Twitter accounts and some have very different purposes. Your “why” will help you find the best practices for you.

It’s that statement, I’ll follow ALMOST anyone if they are real and not a spammer that causes many of my peers to think I’m out of my mind. Here’s my way of thinking on the matter:

I’m on Twitter to expand the social reach of our brand and to interact with our readership, followers, subscribers, viewers, listeners… not to enjoy a personal experience (See Are You Stuck On Social Media Consumer Thinking? for more on that).

Your Tweeple

Since I’m on Twitter to interact with those that have taken the time to read our blog, watch our videos, subscribe to our VIP List and all of the other things I’ve strived for, why the hell would I kick those same good people to the curb when it comes to social interaction? That way of thinking makes absolutely no sense to me if you’re REALLY in it for your readers. It’s like saying,

“I’m here for you but I can’t be bothered with the people that support me, I’d rather boost my own ego and look like a big shot by following only very important people that carry the influence to help ME.”

OR

“I’m here for you but I’m more concerned with MY personal experience and interaction with you will ruin that for me. Feel free to follow me though because I have a lot to offer – I’m special.”

Don’t Be A Low Life

This is a low life tactic that really shows a lack of character, but it’s been a common practice for many years. It goes like this, they follow as many people as they can and build their following but unfollow everyone later to make themselves look important. This happens in two ways, they either wait until their Twitter following is very high and then mass unfollow everyone or they actually begin unfollowing as soon as the people follow back (See number 5 above). Could you ever trust someone like this PLEASE, don’t risk your reputation by cheating and lying , you’re better than that.

The Solution

I don’t want to turn this into a rant or a “how-to Twitter” post so let’s jump into the question at hand,

Should we build our Twitter following big or should we keep it small and manageable?

How can we possibly follow thousands of people on Twitter? Twitter is an awesome social network and their awesomeness allows us to have our cake and eat it too (whatever the hell that means).  The solution is in creating Twitter lists to follow when you are trying to engage particular groups of people.  Twitter lists are a powerful tool and I encourage our readers to take advantage of them if you’re not already doing so. There’s more on Twitter lists in the video below but I’ll give you a couple of examples of recent lists I’ve created for Hot Blog Tips on Twitter. Feel free to follow these lists if you want but don’t forget to create your own.

Adding Tweeple To A Twitter  List Without Following Them

Did you now you can add someone to a Twitter list without directly following that person on Twitter? The actual number of people we’re following on Twitter may have nothing to do with the people we are “actually” following and interacting with. And this doesn’t even take search and hashtags into consideration.

Following A List Without Following The People

Following other people’s list. Did you know you can follow other people’s lists? You Can follow other people’s public lists without actually following the people in that list – or even the person that created the list.

Private Twitter Lists

Did you know you can create private lists? Yes, you can “privately” create a Twitter list and there’s nothing wrong or shady with that. There can be a number of reasons why creating a list would be better listed privately than publically. The most obvious reason that comes to mind would be a list of competitors in order to keep tabs on what they were up to. Only you and/or your account managers would be able to see those private Twitter lists. Not even those that you added to the list would see it it be aware they were added to it.

I have a private list of clients on one of my account so I can keep in touch with them. I do publically follow them but I wanted a list setup so I could could easily check in on them but I didn’t see any reason to make it public since others have no reason to follow that list OR see a list of my clients.

Using To Twitter Lists To Relieve Social Media Overload
The video embedded below isn’t a how-to tutorial, it’s just a short hangout with Sheryl Loch where I explain my way of thinking when it comes to Twitter lists, following too many people and the naysayers.

Action Step

If you agree with my way of thinking and haven’t built your Twitter account yet, decide what your reasons are, set your goals and plan of action as with any task. Create lists for things like your top engagers, top retweeters, top commenters, subscribers, etc.. Check lists your favorite Tweeple have created for inspiration or to follow. Keep in mind, a Twitter list that isn’t used is just a waste of time. Make it a habit of actually using the Twitter lists you make and follow.

Helpful Resource: Using lists in TweetDeck

Your Thoughts?

I know I get a little opinionated at times but don’t let that stop you from disagreeing or expressing your thoughts here, your comments are always welcome. 🙂 Do you use and follow lists? Do you have any Twitter tips or advice for us?

I know you can have a massive following and still keep those you follow very manageable but I’m referring to those that want to play fair and don’t have the masses lining up to follow them on every network. I’d like to thank the following people for helping me decide to revisit this issue:

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