Be a Twitter List Champion in Just Ten Minutes- Part 2

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on November 02, 2010 in: Tips in 10, Twitter Tips & Tools

In the previous article of Tips In Ten I told you about Twitter Lists and the different ways that they could be used. You can use Twitter lists to sort the people you’re following, you can use Twitter lists to sort your followers, and you can even use Twitter lists to sort and listen to people who you’re not following.

I also gave you some homework to do to think about lists that you could potentially create to make Twitter more useful to you. In this issue, I’m going to show you how to create your own useful Twitter Lists, I’m going to give you a few more tips about using Twitter Lists, and I’ve got a bonus idea at the end that I think you’ll find interesting.

How to create lists in ten minutes

Creating lists is really easy. Here’s how to do it, step by step:

1.    Sign in to Twitter.
2.    Go to your profile (the second link at the top right, between “Home” and “Find People”.
3.    Just below your picture and profile name you should see the words “That’s You!” and to the right of that you’ll see a button called “Lists”.
4.    Click the button to open the list menu. It will say “New List” and, once you’ve created lists, they will also appear here as well.
5.    Click “New List” and, in the interface that pops up, enter the list name and a description and select whether you want it to be public or private. (This is where you bring in the homework I gave you in the last Tips In Ten issue).
6.    Click the “Create List” button. Congratulations! You’ve just created your first list. Now do that for the other lists you want to create.

Easy! It probably takes less than 10 minutes to create all of your lists.

If I were you, I’d create a handful of lists according to the homework you did, but I would also create a private list called “Miscellaneous”, especially if you’re serious about making Twitter Lists really useful for you. You’ll see why in a moment.

How to manage your lists in ten minutes a day

Managing your Twitter Lists can take ten minutes a day over several days, especially if you have a lot of followers or people you are following. Still, in just 10 minutes a day, you can get through it and make Twitter Lists really useful for you.

To manage your list in 10 minutes a day, here’s what to do:

Start with the people you’re following. (You have to start somewhere and I think this is the most useful purpose of Twitter Lists). Click on the “Following” link in your profile and you’ll see a list of al1 your followers, 20 per page, each with their name and a picture and a recent tweet. To the right of each profile you’ll see a couple of buttons – one button is for managing links and the other button offers some additional actions you can take (like mentioning them or unfollowing them).

In some cases, you can tell by looking at the profile and the name and a recent tweet how they can be sorted. However, in most cases, you can’t really tell with that information. So here’s what I do instead to make it really fast:

I right-click on each profile to open in a new tab. There are 20 profiles that show on each page, so if you right click each one, you’ll open 20 new tabs. That’s okay because it will go really fast this way:

Go to the first tab, read their bio, see a couple of their tweets. And you can sort them into one or more lists right from that page. Visiting their profile is the fastest and easiest way to sort people into lists because many people write enough information in their bio to make it easy for you to sort them appropriately. (If you’re still not completely sure, then check out their website, but it’s probably going to be rare that you need to do that).

You can do this pretty quickly for every one of the 20 profiles you have open. And once you’ve sorted them just close their profile.

But, here is a huge time-saving and annoyance-saving tip. If you can’t immediately sort them into a list then put them into your private “Miscellaneous” list. This is like the miscellaneous junk drawer in your house. I’ll tell you what to do with that later in this issue. However, as much as possible, sort each profile into one or more of your lists and sort as few people as possible into the “Miscellaneous” list. I find after doing this a couple of times, that I’ll know right away which list someone should go into and if I can’t immediately identify a list for them within 5 seconds of viewing their profile, I will put them into the Miscellaneous list.

If you take 10 minutes a day doing this, you should be able to get through 40 to 60 profiles. So, on the first day, take 10 minutes and get through the first batch of profiles. Then take note of where you left off and on the next day, go to where you left off and do another 40 to 60 more.

“But I have so many people to sort into lists”

Twitter Lists is a useful tool and the more people you need to sort, the more useful Twitter Lists will be for you. If you can do 60 profiles in a day, and you take 10 minutes a day for 100 days, you’ll be able to sort through 6000 profiles.

That’s a good thing. Yes, you might have a million people to sort and it will take a while but Twitter Lists can be a powerful tool and you just need to push through the bulk of the work to do it. And there’s another advantage: You’ll get to know the people you’re following really well and, when you’re done, you’ll have an insanely powerful tool as part of your business and it will help you to be much more competitive.

(If you’re really pressed for time or have millions of profiles to review, get your assistant to do it for you).

Once you have the majority of the people you’re following sorted into lists, it will only take a second or two every day to sort the new ones that you choose to follow.

What do I do with the “Miscellaneous” list?

I mentioned that you needed a private Miscellaneous list, which was going to be the “junk drawer” of your Twitter profile. The reason I recommend this is because there will be times when you can’t easily sort someone into one or more of the lists you’ve created.

Rather than just leaving people unsorted, where they might be buried deep in your list and difficult for you to find, sort them into the Miscellaneous list where you can get to them later.

This Miscellaneous list is not going to be a permanent catch-all but rather it’s a way for you to see what is missing: Now that you have all these growing lists, you can look at your Miscellaneous list from time to time and see if you can easily group people together. Maybe you notice that you have a huge number of poets who don’t fit really well into one of the lists you’ve created and who have all been dumped into Miscellaneous. So that is your cue to create a poets list. Or maybe you see that you’ve defined an existing list too narrowly and there are a bunch of people in the Miscellaneous list who could be part of an existing list if you adjust your thinking slightly.

The goal is to have an empty Miscellaneous list but you need it to keep track of the people who you haven’t been able to easily sort. Believe me, this is a useful exercise because it helps you quickly see if there are groups of people you are following (or who are following you) that you’ve completely missed.

Once you’ve done that for the people you are following, you can then look at doing the same thing for your followers. There is value to this, too, but it is less of a priority than sorting the people you’re following.

Twitter Lists are a powerful tool that you can use for all kinds of purposes to make Twitter even more useful for you. It does take some times to build them and sort people into them, but the effort is worth it in the end.

Bonus Tip:

This is another aspect of Twitter Lists that I didn’t know about and only discovered when I was doing some fact-checking for this Tips In Ten. You can follow lists. To follow a list, go to a list’s page (which you can click through while viewing someone’s profile) and you’ll see the option to follow that list at the top of the lists’ tweet stream.

Those lists will appear in your sidebar and you can click on them to view the activity in that list. This is a great way to listen in on what colleagues and competitors are talking about without doing the work of creating a list yourself.

Heather Recommends:

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