Twitter Lists are comprised of curated groups of users on this social media network. If you use them to their greatest potential, lists are a powerful tool to segment other users into groups and hone in on the conversations that really matter.

Lists on Twitter can be private or public, depending on whether you want them to be seen and followed by others. In fact, you might choose to follow public lists created by others, if they are relevant to your industry. Or, create your own custom lists and add people or businesses you choose to follow.

When you create a list, it's possible to visit it to see only list member's tweets in the activity stream. For the average person, this means you can cut out the “noise” of more active Twitter users and choose to see more from friends or family.

Twitter Lists as a Competitive Intelligence Tool

For a business, a list could include a few (or several) of your major competitors. If a list is set to “private,” these companies or people are not notified they have been added and the list will not appear publicly alongside other Twitter Lists. This is a great way to keep an eye on competitors and their Twitter strategy.

Visit a company's page on Twitter to see what lists they follow.

You can also see which lists your competitors follow, by visiting their company Page on Twitter. “Subscribed to” are lists the company follows, while “Member of” lists are those the company has been added to by other users. As shown in the picture above, you can browse through and follow these lists yourself, if you choose.

Use Lists to Shape Your Content Strategy

Start a new list any time by clicking “Lists” in the left sidebar of your Twitter profile, and then click “Create list.” As you participate on Twitter and meet new people, you can easily add them to your existing lists. Click the user’s name to display their profile preview, click the person icon, then click “Add or remove from lists.”

Add a user to a Twitter list by clicking on Add or remove from lists.

Create enough lists to segment people into groups in your industry: Influencers, Customers, Media, Suppliers, and so on. Remember to keep your lists private if you do not want other users to see who you have added. You cannot send messages out to your lists; rather, they are used for curating content and making listening far easier.

Lists can help you pay attention to the conversations happening within your niche. What kinds of questions are people asking? Which topics get the most, or best, media coverage? Which types of content are retweeted or linked to more than others? Use these insights to hone your own Twitter content strategy.

Top 3 Strategies to Connect with Mentors, Influencers and Industry Thought Leaders

  1. Don’t miss the latest tweets from the people and companies that shape your industry. Use Twitter Search to discover the users driving the conversations in your niche and add them to a list.
  2. Participate in a tweet chat, if you can find one relevant to your company. Add the people you interact with to a list.
  3. Each time you sign in to Twitter, take a moment to browse through the recent tweets in each of your lists. Retweet interesting content or respond to questions to get involved in conversations. This is a fantastic way to keep up and connect with people truly interested in your industry, who might have been lost in the fray otherwise.

Have you used Twitter Lists to curate content or improve your social listening abilities? Share your experience in the comments!