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article imageOp-Ed: Creating Twitter lists can help your small business

By Anne Marie Marais     Jul 7, 2014 in Business
Twitter can be an overwhelming tool. We want to build a following, so we follow many. But how do you ensure that you see what you really need and want to see? How, you ask? Via lists, that's how.
Lists in Twitter are a kind of filing system that will help you organize those that you follow into categories or buckets. Just like you sort your shoes, belts, spices or socks or you create grocery lists and to do lists, to make life more simple and organized, Twitter lists can also make your social media life more organized.
Twitter says that a list is a curated group of Twitter users and a great way to organize your interests.
By organizing those you follow into lists that work for you and your needs, you can more easily monitor what they're tweeting about. If your small business focuses on social media marketing, for example, you can set up lists for experts that you follow, competitors, conferences you attend, and much more.
When you create a list, you have the option to make it public or private. A public list is exactly that, public. Those that you include in the list will be made aware that they are now part of a list and others can subscribe to any public list that is created. Those that are public can be helpful, as that curated list is likely a group that may appeal to others.
A private list is just that, private. Only you as the creator sees that list. Even those in the list are not aware they are part of it. This will be useful if you are monitoring your competitors.
As described by Twitter, this is how you can create a list:
1. Go to your Lists page. This can be done via the gear icon drop down menu in the top right navigation bar or by going to your profile page and clicking on Lists.
2. Click Create list.
3. Enter the name of your list, a short description of the list, and select if you want the list to be private (only accessible to you) or public (anyone can subscribe to the list).
4. Click Save list.
To add or remove people from your lists:
1. Click the gear icon drop down menu on a user's profile.
2. Select Add or remove from lists. (You don't need to be following a user to add them to your list.)
3. A pop-up will appear displaying your created lists. Check the lists you would like to add the user to, or uncheck the lists you'd like to remove the user from.
4. To check to see if the user you wanted to add was successfully included in that list, navigate to the Lists tab on your profile page. Click the desired list, then click Members. The person will appear in the list of members.
A good practice to get into is, when you follow someone new on Twitter, you should immediately add them to a related list that you've created, or start a new one that's a better fit. It is possible to add them later, but it can become a more daunting undertaking to go back and get your followers organized. Saying that, if you are just starting to build lists, but have been on Twitter for a while, it's good to block some time to get all those that you've already followed into lists.
Now that you've taken the time to create and build your lists, you will want to start making use of them. Below are the steps as outlined by Twitter, as to how to view tweets from a list.
1. Go to your profile page.
2. Click on the Lists tab.
3. Click on the list you'd like to view.
4. You'll see a timeline of Tweets from the users included in that list.
And as I mentioned earlier, just as others can subscribe and benefit from your hard work putting together public lists, you can also subscribe to follow other people's lists. It's all a give and take when it comes to lists. How nice, we're all helping each other. Twitter nicely outlined the steps for us below:
1. Click on Lists when viewing someone's profile. Usually under the More menu.
2. Select which list you'd like to subscribe to.
3. From the list page, click Subscribe to follow the list. You can follow lists without following the individual users in that list.
You will probably want to keep your lists up to date, so just as you added people to your list, you can remove them. And you can also unfollow the lists of others that you may have followed, when they are no longer of interest to you.
Lists are definitely a great want to keep your small business, or personal, Twitter well organized. They will help you get to the information that you truly need, which might be getting lost in your general Twitter feed. As we all know, it's difficult to keep up with that feed and you only ever really get a snap shot of what's currently happening.
Now take some time and start making lists.
Anne-Marie, owner of Long Leg Productions, is a seasoned social media marketer. Clients such as the Toronto Star, Blue Line Innovations and work with Anne-Marie to increase their social presence in order to develop and retain community. You can follow Anne-Marie on Twitter @atmarais.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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