Twitter Lists have long been seen by many as a secret weapon within the app, a means to more easily track and categorize different users, and keep tabs on specific industry trends, updates, niche interests, and more.
More recently, Twitter has been working to put more emphasis on Lists. Last September, Twitter added a new option which enables users to pin their created Lists as swipeable, alternate news feeds, making it easier to stay across the latest updates in each of your chosen List categories, while it's also working on new List discovery tools, which would enable users to locate relevant, user-created lists to follow to stay on top of certain topics.
So Lists are rightfully (finally) getting more focus - and this week, Twitter has published a new set of tips as to how social media managers, specifically, can make better use of Twitter lists to maximize their efficiency and process.
Here are Twitter's four key social media manager list tips:
Use Twitter Lists to keep your competitors close
Twitter's first key tip relates to social listening, and keeping tabs on your competition.
"A curated competitor Twitter List can provide insight into the tactics and effectiveness of your competitors' Twitter strategy. How do they handle community management? Do they engage in real-time? Offer support? What's their tone? Do they lean towards inspirational content or educational content?"
This is a very common, and key usage consideration for Twitter lists. And the data you can glean can be hugely valuable - just this week, Twitter has also published a blog post which outlines how stock market analysts use emerging trends identified via tweets to determine future investment opportunities.
There are, of course, various ways that you can glean such insight, but Twitter lists are a simple, effective way to stay updated on your competition, and industry, and you can use advanced search operators within TweetDeck to create more complex search queries in order to better identify emerging trends and opportunities.
One of the biggest advantages of social media marketing is data, and the capacity to learn more from people's everyday interactions. If you're not capitalizing on this, you're missing an opportunity, and Twitter lists can be a good way to get started on monitoring, and understanding key shifts.
Showcase Twitter all-stars
Twitter also advises that social media marketers should consider creating a List of brands with a strong Twitter presence, even if they're outside your industry, in order to learn what works, and how they're evolving their approaches.
"Content on Twitter is constantly evolving, so taking time to identify brands that are consistently "in" on the latest memes and conversations can help you spot opportunities to join (or hold off on) the latest trend."
This is essentially an extension of the first tip, but by creating a separate list of top tweeting brands, you can learn a lot more about effective approaches, which will then inform your strategy.
In variance to industry monitoring, this is about keeping tabs on strategic lessons, and regularly checking in with brands that are seeing success could be a great way to level up your approach.
Connect with peers in your segment
Twitter also suggests that brands should keep a list of industry peers, and sub-accounts operated by your parent business, in order to stay in touch with relevant cross-promotional opportunities and ways in which you can strategically align with new updates.
"What content trends are on the horizon? What events are they promoting? How are they connecting with cultural moments? All those questions can be answered with some brief scrolling."
You could also extend this to potential partner brands, influencers, organizations, local groups. A Twitter list established for opportunities could expand your thinking on new promotional avenues, and ways that your business might fit into future campaigns and initiatives that can help get your business in front of more people.
Consolidate social media news
Twitter also advises that social media managers should consider setting up a specific list for social media industry news and platform updates.
"A Twitter List dedicated to social media industry news puts you at the forefront of platform updates, real-time content trends, C-suite interviews, and higher-level events happening in the social media landscape. Start with tech reporters, influencers, and publications who are reporting on everything social and technology-focused."
Really, you probably just need to follow Social Media Today, that'll keep you covered on all the latest news. But blatant self-promotion aside, this is another good tip - the social media landscape is always - always - changing, and the things that were best practices just a few months back can quickly become outdated.
Trust me, as someone who tracks these trends for a living, it can be difficult to stay on top of everything. A dedicated list for such could be a great way to ensure that you're alerted to the latest changes, and are therefore able to adjust your approach accordingly.
Twitter Lists are a handy feature, and are still not as readily used as you might think. If you haven't considered social media listening in the past, or setting up a dashboard of lists to help keep tabs on relevant trends and changes, then it's definitely worth looking into, and these tips provide some great pointers as to how lists can redefine your tracking and research approach.
You can read Twitter's full list of List tips here.