Twitter has been one of the chief catalysts of my business success. While I’ve wasted plenty of hours on the platform, I’ve also used it to infiltrate the “cool kid” crowd, perform market research, and stay ahead of trends in my industry & beyond.
Twitter has been one of the chief ways I’ve built an engaged audience that is eager for each piece I write.
But you won’t create those kind of results if all you ever do is stare at your main Twitter stream.
Over the years, I’ve developed 3 key categories of Twitter lists that every entrepreneur or aspiring blogger using Twitter needs to have if they prefer making progress to wasting time.
These three lists are based on common business needs & strategies and can be applied across any industry. Bringing your attention to these three strategies on a platform like Twitter, means that you’ll also have more focus when engaging any social media platform, on your blog, or an in-person networking event.
1) The List You’d Like to Be On
We all have role models that we look up to. We all have people online, in related businesses, we’d like to get to know more personally. We all have more than a few people we’d like to shake hands with some day as colleagues & friends.
If the only people you associate with online are at a similar “success level” to you, you’re missing out on the chance to up your game. It’s nearly impossible to get ahead when you’re lacking real information about what “ahead” looks like.
Burst out of your social bubble by surrounding your digital self with people who challenge you, even from afar.
Create a Twitter list that’s full of your entrepreneurial role models, mentors, and just kick butt people doing interesting things. The goal is for this list to be the kind of Twitter list others would put you on as you progress towards your goals.
2) The List You’d Like to Serve
It’s no secret you need to have a clear perspective on who your ideal market is. One of the ways I tell my clients how to get a deeper, more nuanced view of who these people really are is to create a Twitter list full of them.
You need to know so much more about who your prospective readers are than their age, gender, and profession. Understanding what’s important to them, how they spend their money, what they do for fun, and what kind of media they enjoy can tell you exactly what you need to know to irresistibly position your next offer.
These are all things they’re tweeting about. Creating a Twitter list of potential customers you have your eye on will put that information all at your finger tips.
You can answer their questions, engage them in conversation, find inspiration for blog posts, and discover needs you didn’t know they had.
Whether these particular people end up as clients or customers is immaterial, what’s important is that you’ve got a newfound understanding of who will buy from you. You might even get a few new brand evangelists!
3) The List of People Who Keep You Thinking
Many business owners spend most of their time learning about business: how to get more customers, more attention, more dollars. But it’s also incredibly important to stay on the informational edge of your industry. There are people who are thinking about & reporting on your little corner of the world of commerce everyday.
How can you know about future trends? How will you find out about technological advances? How can you discover new opportunities? Ask these people.
Keep a Twitter list of people who have the answers to just these kinds of questions. What they share will keep you ahead of the curve when it comes to serving your audience. You’ll also notice other benefits like becoming a super source for journalists writing about your industry.
Will people know they’re on my lists?
That’s completely up to you. I’ve experimented with both private & public lists. I use a mix. But if you’re going to call one of your list “People I’d like to sell to,” I’d suggest keeping it private.
How do you keep track of these lists?
My Twitter client of choice is HootSuite, both for desktop & mobile. I set up my dashboard so that my mentions are on the left column and my three lists are to the right of that, followed by other columns like DMs and certain searches. Rarely if ever do I investigate Twitter beyond those lists.
How do you use these lists?
First, don’t be intimidated by the people you’ve put on these lists. The beauty of Twitter is that it is so egalitarian! People of all different shades can & will talk to you, and vice versa. So talk. Answer questions, relate your own experiences, retweet, offer opinions. Once you’re on the radar of the people you admire & the people you seek to serve, it’s easy to create opportunities to go deeper, work together, or just mutually support each other.
You won’t spam your new list members if you keep your eye on always adding to the conversation and never extracting. Plus, you don’t need to spam. When you’re using this strategy, your entrepreneurial heroes, your rock star role models, and bestselling authors will take note of you & what you’re doing. Give it time. Be patient.
As you get to know the people on your lists better, you’ll notice that they talk to people you don’t already know. Investigate those @mentions and discover who these people are. Chances are good that they are people you should get to know, as well, and they just might need to be on one of your new lists.
No, Twitter won’t make you much money directly. And it won’t boost your blog traffic overnight. That’s not its purpose, nor should it be your purpose in using it. But leveraging Twitter to truly network with your role models, prospective customers, and industry thinkers will help you to up your street cred, build an engaged audience for your work, and keep you on the cutting edge of your field.