How To Build Community & Social Influence With Twitter Lists

By Jessica Roberts

I’m an obsessive list maker.


Lists find their way onto my ubiquitous legal pads, loyal journal, and trusty whiteboard. Grocery receipts, paper bags, and Starbucks napkins are also innocent bystanders of my list proclivity. Armed with a pen, crayon, or pencil, no writing surface is safe.


And I’ve extended my list obsession to the digital space. Creating digital lists was a major game-changer in my social strategy. Whether it’s with my trusty pen and paper, or my digital list collectors, I can create my lists anytime, anywhere.


One such destination for my list love? Twitter!


Twitter Lists:


Twitter Lists are indispensable tools to strategically build your community and enhance your social influence:


  • Targeted Social Listening & Engagement: Listen to what your prospects, influencers, and brand advocates are Tweeting about. Start conversations and engage!
  • Building Your Follower Community: Gain new followers who fit perfectly into your targeted communities.
  • Building A Quality Following Community: Lists help you choose the best people to follow.

The Twitter List is probably the most underutilized yet robust feature on the social media platform. Either users don’t know they exist, or they don’t know how to use them as an effective part of their Twitter strategy.


Here’s your go-to guide of the tips and tools you need to become a Twitter List pro!  


Where is the “Lists” feature located on the platform?


There are two places on the platform to access your Lists:


1. View your Profile page: The Lists number indicates how many lists you are subscribed to. Subscribed lists include those you have created and those you have subscribed to. It does not tell you how many lists you are a member of. I’m hoping Twitter will add this to the platform in the future.



2. Click on your avatar: Click on your avatar in the upper right-hand corner to access the drop-down menu: Click on Lists:






You can access what lists you Subscribed to and also see what lists you are a Member of.  


**NOTE: The Lists number ONLY reflects the number of lists you are subscribed to.






Why should I subscribe to lists?


Finding quality people to follow on Twitter can be challenging. Twitter Lists help you choose the people who fit into your communities.


Why should I care about getting put on a list?


Being listed increases your visibility and opportunities for engagement. Getting put on a list is a feather in your digital cap. Lists acknowledge those who consistently contribute valuable and shareable content with their audience: a powerful indicator of social influence.


What type of lists do I build?


I’ve created lists representative of my professional industry as well as personal interests. What type of lists you choose to build depends on your endpoint goals. Begin by defining your main audience and the individual personas within your audience. Do this for your professional brand as well as your personal brand.


1. Industry-Related Lists: Industry lists are the bread and butter of your business database.


  • Search for people by industry hashtags, keywords, and keyphrases.
  • Segment this larger audience into smaller lists.
  • Segment lists by leads, prospects, B2B connections, C-suite execs, locality, social influencers.
  • Further segment lists into specific buyer personas.

Here is one of my industry-related lists for social business. I refer to this list to gain quick insights on the community, follow list members, and share relevant content.


You can choose to view Tweets, list members, or subscribed members in the left sidebar:


  • Tweets: Reply, RT, or favorite any Tweet in the stream.
  • List members: View members I’m following, and who is following me.
  • List subscribers: View members subscribed to the list.  




2. Hyperlocal Lists: Local lists are a great way to connect with your local community, not just online but IRL! Local searches can be highly granular, enabling you to target a very small group of people.   

3. Twitter Chat Lists: This is one of my favorite list strategies! Twitter chats are a treasure trove of people to follow, connect, and engage with.

  • Create a general list of chat participants.
  • Segment this larger audience into smaller lists.
  • Segment lists by leads, prospects, B2B connections, C-suite execs, locality, social influencers.
  • Further segment lists into specific buyer personas.+
  • Follow a variety of chats: create lists from professional and personal interest chats.  

Twitter chat lists are an excellent way to build your B2B network. Most of my online engagement is with people from my Twitter chat lists. Make sure your list name and description contain the Twitter chat #hashtag: this will increase the chance your list appears in the top results for that  #hashtag.






4. Hobbies/Interests/Lifestyle Lists: Don’t limit your lists to professional interests. Personal lists humanizes your online presence. And you never know where you will  find your next great connection! Here are a few ideas:


  • Sports teams
  • Local restaurants
  • Parenting/family blogs
  • Lifestyle blogs
  • Favorite authors/writers
  • Favorite news sources


5. Event Lists: Here’s another one of my favorite list strategies to mine for data gold.


  • Create lists of people Tweeting about industry events.
  • Slice and dice each general list and segment your data into your smaller lists.

How do I add or remove a profile from a Twitter List?


Click on the wheel of any profile page located to the left of the Follow button:




Click add or remove from lists to access your Twitter Lists:




Check to add, or uncheck to remove from any Twitter List.



Twitter List Building Tools:


Let’s take a look at an example of creating an industry-related Twitter list using the social listening platform oneQube SocialAudience to generate the database.


I created a project searching for people Tweeting about social business. I used the following set of search terms: #socbiz, #socialselling, “social selling”, and “social business.”


This search generated over 2000 profiles with one or more of the search terms in their Tweets in 24 hours:





Now let’s slice and dice our data into smaller, segmented lists.


Let’s search for CEO’s within our social business database:




We pulled 69 profiles containing CEO in their Twitter bios out of the 2000 profiles in our original search.


Put these profiles into a dedicated list: Social Business CEO’s.


  • Follow them! Reach out and engage.
  • Are they also authors, writers, or bloggers? Check out their blogs, books, and websites as additional resources.
  • Curate their content: Share and comment on their content.
  • Create your own content: What are they Tweeting about? What content sources do they cite? What are they interested in? Create blogs, Tweets, and other content that speaks to this segment of your audience.


Remember those social business CEO’s? Get granular with a local search. Let’s see where they are Tweeting from!


I found 2 CEO’s Tweeting from Chicago. How’s that for granular!




oneQube SocialAudience is one of many social listening and list building management tools available. The most important consideration when choosing a tool is selecting one you are willing to learn and use on a consistent basis.


Try a few on. Seek referrals and testimonials from your colleagues. Give any new tool a minimum 2-week trial of dedicated use before you decide on whether it’s a go or a no. Be sure to reach out and ask lots of questions to get the most out of your trial experience.


Key takeaways for Twitter Lists:


  • Use Twitter Lists to strategically build community and enhance social influence.
  • Create a solid list strategy and the choose right technology for your business.
  • Get Creative! Look outside your profession to find new communities.
  • Have fun! If you’re doing it right, you should be having a ton of Twitter fun! 


Note: A version of this post originally appeared in Chirp, Chirp: The Most Uncomplicated, Straightforward, and Practical Guide to Effectively Building a Brand with Twitter byBrandon Lewin