#TwitterTips: Using #Twitter Lists to filter noise and improve engagement

File Feb 25, 8 44 32 AM
Photo: R. Leopoldina Torres

Does managing your twitter feed leave you feeling #overwhelmed? You are not alone. With over 500 million tweets posted each day, the sheer volume can be daunting to most twitter enthusiasts. Yet the unending anxiety of missing out drives us to constantly checking our emails and refreshing our twitter feeds. According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll and Eventbrite Inc., “FOMO is not just a cultural phenomenon, it’s an epidemic” with nearly 7 in 10 (69%) millennials experiencing the fear of missing out. With research demonstrating that multitasking is a myth, always being plugged-in can have negative effects as we are not connecting to the people and relationships that matter most.

So how do you make the most of Twitter to better focus the information you take in and streamline the way you share your ideas? In the book Work Smarter with Social Media, author Alexandra Samuel suggests that the first step is to organize your relationships is with Twitter Lists. To help filter the noise and increase engagement, Samuel suggests that rather than using Twitter as a “to-do list of links you should read and news you should follow, you need to keep your attention on specific people in specific contexts.” And the best way to achieve this is through the lists feature.

Image: Twitter List 101 Video Tutorial via @jasoncreation

Twitter Lists allows you to better organize your Twitter feeds by viewing tweets from a select group of users. By creating lists, you can group conversations into easily viewable and more digestible categories. For example, in my current role at the Harvard Art Museums, I help track and monitor all press about the museums and its collections, as well as keep a pulse on trending topics in the museum world. To help better manage this, I created a twitter list of journalists, critics and news organizations that report on art and museums in New England and beyond. 

A great starting point is to spend some time researching and subscribing to public lists created by key influencers in your industry. This will also help you to start thinking about how you want to use and leverage twitter lists. Ready to get started? Here are five suggestions via @awsamuel to help identify how to organize your incoming tweet stream into specific lists:

  1. Who do you want to learn from? (Select feeds that provide content that you want to read.)
  2. What relationships do you want to build? (Select feeds from people and organizations in which you want to initiate or strengthen your relationships. Engagement is key!)
  3. Where can you have the most impact?
  4. What is your social media strategy? What do you want to accomplish?
  5. How do you want to engage your twitter audiences?

Once you identify how to organize your lists, I recommend watching this great Twitter Lists 101 video tutorial by marketing blogger Jason Burrows.

Three helpful things to know before you create your lists:

  1. You don’t have to follow a user in order to add him or her to a list.
  2. Tweets from your lists do not show up in your primary feed.
  3. Users are notified when they are added to your public lists. You should keep this in mind when creating the titles for your  lists.

Twitter lists are an incredibly powerful tool to help filter the noise and improve how you engage with your networks on Twitter, if you take the time to set them up and train yourself to use them. Using this feature has changed how I use twitter, allowing me to quickly hone in on the people and conversations that I want to hear from. To learn more about how to make the most of your Twitter Lists, read @awsamuel book Work Smarter with Twitter and Hootsuite via @harvardbiz.





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