November 4th, 2009 | by Sarah Evans
Sarah Evans is a public relations and new media consultant and speaker at Sevans Strategy. She also authors a PR and social media blog and is the founder of #journchat.
Twitter’s new Lists feature is all the rage right now. There are probably already millions of lists, and that number is growing by the minute (or second). So what are people using all these lists for? Are people creating lists just for the sake of creating lists? Savvy individuals are looking for ways to use lists to further their personal/professional agendas, and while we are all still learning how to harness the power of this new feature, here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing.
Let us know in the comments what other ways you’re using Twitter Lists.
1. Industry Peers and Professionals Lists
One way to use Twitter Lists is to keep your finger on the pulse of your industry. Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly), founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, for example, created the Gov 2.0 list to accomplish this goal for government tweeters. Once you create your “experts” list, share the link with your peers. (If you’re in a generous mood.) If you have a Twitter network largely made up of industry peers, you’ll save them from reinventing the wheel by creating a public list that everyone can use.
Lists are still new enough that you can be the first to develop an “it” list. In other words, for many industries and topics you could create the de facto list of peers that others follow and reference. A list that garners a large followership means more attention for you and may increase your Twitter followers. Once you create the list, you’ll need to promote it. Add it to a list directory like Listorious for additional opportunities for people to view and follow.
2. Experts Lists
If you’re an expert, recognize other experts. Technology blogger Robert Scoble (@scobleizer) did this with his recent lists like, “most influential in tech,” and “web innovators,” for example. It’s a win both for Robert and for those he recommends. He continues to establish his credibility as a technology thought leader and others benefit from the recognition and online visibility. Many of his lists already have hundreds of followers.
You can also use Twitter Lists to highlight individuals that routinely offer insight, tips, tools, etc. about a particular topic. Do you have certain people you keep on mobile alerts or have a special column for in Tweetdeck? It’s most likely a list in the making. If nothing else, lists like these let people you admire and/or listen to know that you appreciate the content they’re putting out.
3. Recognize and Reward Customers Lists
Lists can be used to promote your clients and/or customers. Depending on your industry, it’s an opportunity for your customers to connect with other like-minded people. You may decide sharing all of your customers on Twitter isn’t right for your business, but you can still take advantage of Twitter Lists to recognize your customers. You could, perhaps, implement a “valued clients of the week” list or run a contest that rewards a certain number of customers with a spot on a special list.
Another way to reward customers is to create a list of your company’s Twitter accounts that offer special deals, discounts, or exclusive announcements.
4. Niche Lists
The New York Times’ City Room crew created the “NYC Street Food Trucks” list for all things street food in New York City. Creating niche category lists can be very helpful for others, so think outside the box. Maybe there’s an audience who would love a list of all celebrities who have graced the cover of Vogue and tweet. Or, perhaps, a list of viral video stars (e.g., @daviddentist) would be useful for some. What niche can you identify that needs a list?
Lists can also be humorous. @daphnebegonia, who happens to be a dog, curates a list of “people I have licked.” It’s a funny idea that offers potential, and a concept that can work for other animal-related entities. I’m hoping for a Sea World, “I met Shamu,” list.
5. Employee Directory Lists
You might have a link to your Twitter account on your website, but don’t forget to make an official employee Twitter List. You should include all official company accounts, along with employees who tweet on behalf of the organization (or if you have a more open culture, you could include any employee that tweets). Mashable has an employee list, as does Twitter.
Share the list internally, too. Not only is this a way to aggregate accounts, it also makes monitoring easier. Think about creative ways you can promote your company’s Twitter list (for example, from the signature line of emails, or on your business cards).
6. Political Campaign Lists
Running for office? Aggregate your supporters or “friends of” the campaign for increased visibility. It’s important to stay connected to constituents, especially during election time (every vote counts!). In fact, go beyond campaign supporters and create an “official” party list, or a list of all the newspapers that have endorsed a candidate.
If you’re a political reporter or blogger, create a private list of all candidates you’re tracking to keep tabs on their tweets more easily. (This same principal could be applied by journalists or bloggers to any beat, not just politics.)
7. Location-Based Lists
Create a list of everyone in your city/town who tweets. Or create a list of city and/or state employees who tweet. If your mayor, village manager, school district board members and others are on Twitter, group them together to create a resource for others in your area.
This idea can work in an official capacity as well. If you’re in charge of a municipality’s website, aggregate the feeds from these lists for your official website to offer real-time updates to your citizens.
8. Event Attendees and Live-Tweeters Lists
Hosting an upcoming event? Encourage people to submit their Twitter IDs when they register. Share the list pre-conference and encourage people to connect. Don’t forget to update the list during the conference. You could also create a list of all speakers or sponsors for a conference to share with attendees, who can then familiarize themselves with the conference lineup and supporters before they get there.
Creating a special list of those live-tweeting events can make it easier for people not able to attend to follow the action without worrying about the noise created by extraneous hashtag conversations or spammers.
9. Self-Serving Lists
Lists can help you out, too. If you’re out of work, for example, you could create a list of company or recruiter accounts to monitor for job postings. Or if you need to stay current on a topic for work, you could create a list of companies or bloggers active on that subject.
Just the act of taking the time to research a comprehensive (and accurate) list will help you as much as the information that will come through from tweets. And if you decide to share your list, it could have the potential to garner a large following, which can boost your online credibility.
10. Promote Your Affiliation Lists
Twitter Lists may also be good for promoting or listing your affiliations. Collegiate alumni associations, for example, are constantly looking for ways to keep people engaged, enter the “University XYZ Alumni List.” This concept works for any group, organization, association, etc.
Journalists, bloggers, promoters, and others could also create a list of affiliations as a way to disclose potential conflicts of interest. A public relations professional, for example, could create a list of their clients as a way to let followers know which of their tweets may exhibit a conflict of interest.