Twitter Lists – What they are and How to Use Them Effectively

twitter lists how to use themIn the top right hand side of your Twitter account you can view your followers, following, tweets and Lists. You may know what the first three mean but just tend to ignore the ‘Lists’ tab But ignore Lists at your peril.

Why would I want to put Tweeters into a list?

Lists are effectively just what they say they are.  Used effectively, they’re  a great way to organise who you are following (and even who you are not following) into groups categorised by you.

You can use your lists to effectively tidy up your feed and group together groups of tweeters and their tweet streams.

Lists allow you to view tweets in separate private feeds and follow targeted, categorised groups of people together.

For example if you were researching ‘cat groomers’ on Twitter and wanted to follow a selection of people that are tweeting and talking about cat grooming – you could find all the cat groomers on Twitter and then group them into a list (note: you don’t have to follow them to put them in your list).

However, having them in one list – allows you to look at that feed which then only features tweets about cat grooming, allowing you to focus your attention on just ‘cat grooming’.

In a separate list you might like to group all your old college or university friends – that way you can simply click on their group and view all of their streamed tweets together. This works especially well if you like to tweet each other a lot– you can block out all other Twitter noise and focus on the conversation going on between the people in your college list.

Another use could be employees – having an employee list means that you can see the conversation going on within your business. Keeps it all neat and tidy and out of the Twitter mainstream noise.

Finding new and relevant people

Another great use for Lists is that they help you to target and find new and useful contacts.

For example, if I’ve been put into a social media training list – then I can search all the other people in that list too – therefore, useful to finding people to connect with that I may not have found otherwise.

How do I create a Twitter list?

It’s quite simple –all you need do is

  1. Login to your Twitter
  2. Go to the list section, click ‘create new list’.
  3. Choose a name for your list, bear in mind SEO when doing this
  4. Decide whether you want others to see it then select if you want a public list (open to anyone) or private list (available only to you).
  5. Click ‘create list’.
  6. Now you can add users and search for people to add to your list – you can do this from your profile page or from any following page. To check the users have been added to the list, just click the person icon and select “Add to list.

Private or Open Lists

When creating your list, as point 4 above, you can decide whether your list is open or private. If open anyone can see that list and it will come up in list directories. (Such as – definitely worth searching this great site to check out what lists are already out there).

If Private, then only you see it. This is a great way to monitor your competitors. You could create a competitor list, keep it private and then keep an eye on what they’re all up to without anyone knowing. Sneaky eh!

Are there any limitations to Lists?

As far as we can see, the rules that applied when lists came out in 2009 still apply. Lists can grow to no more than 500 people – and each account can have a max of 20 lists. So plenty of scope there.

Do I want to be on other people’s list?

The simple answer to this question is yes, you do. To be categorised into other peoples’ lists means that you will become more visible to your target audience.

For example, if you are a ‘cat groomer’ – you want to be picked up by someone who’s making lists about cat groomers. You are more likely to get followed by people looking for cat groomers and it’s a verification that you’ve been tagged by others as a ‘cat groomer’ too.

Twitter can become very noisy at times and lists help you to sift through the noise and listen to targeted tweeters who are talking about what you want to hear. By being on someone’s list you are far more likely to be found by the right kind of tweeter.

Found this useful?  Do share the ways you’re using Twitter Lists.

Meanwhile, If you have any other questions about Twitter or Social Media – please get in touch with us on our Facebook wall or email us at

Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  Carvill Creative covers all aspects of online visibility – website effectiveness, social media marketing, social media management and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.


Passionate about Online Visibility - creating an integrated approach across websites, blogs and social media platforms.