How to: Build a Twitter Following with Twitter Lists

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Twitter can become a little overwhelming for those who have just got started. It is like having 100 radio stations switched on at the same time and catching bits of pieces of conversations here and there.

One of the questions I get asked frequently is how do I manage or keep up with my Twitter stream? Some of these questions even come with questions such as if I am using a bot or have satffs managing my twitter account like Guy Kawasaki.

All of them are false of course, and the answer really is much simpler than you thought. As you may already guess, it’s just by using Twitter lists.

askaaronlee twitter list

Twitter lists help me to keep track with what is happening around the world, connect with bloggers and thought leaders in my industry, help me to monitor competitors and many more. I’m a huge fan of Twitter lists and on average I have about 6 lists that are opened simultaneously every time I log into Twitter. Using the radio analogy earlier, Twitter lists helps me tune in to what really matters.

How can twitter lists be used to build a community?

To build a community on Twitter, you’re going to need a few things. You need to have a base of followers. Not just people who are following you BUT people who actually KNOW YOU.

To do this, you have to be constantly be engaged with your audience. Have conversations and share contents with each other.

You’ll also need to continue and maintain a relationship with them. You can do this with Twitter lists.

As mentioned earlier organizing your Twitter feed is really what the lists do. Therefore, you’ll be able to prioritize your feed to focus on building relationships with those who matter.

First, create a list for those who you constantly or recently had a chat with and engaged with you.

The second is you have to add value in your stream. You can do this by sharing other people’s content, responding to people tweets and add your opinion, etc.

If you’re NEW to Twitter, start using your lists today! List your followers in categories that allow you to easily manage your feed.  Add people whom you have the most conversation with, who usually retweet you, who has the most interesting tweets (*cough @askaaronlee)

If you’ve been on Twitter for a while but you don’t have your lists yet, this process can be a little overwhelming.

Luckily, our friends at can help to speed up the process.

What can do? Their neat tool basically does all the hard work for us. It will pull tweets from our Twitter stream and from our Twitter lists and arrange our followers into three categories:

  • Influencers: Most influential users from your stream and lists
  • Supporters: Those who have shared your posts
  • Engaged members: Those who talk to you.

With this data, you can quickly add members into your own Twitter lists directly from it.

Here is an example of what it would look like: twitter list

After adding those people into your stream, it’s easier to focus on building relationships with those who already spent time to engage with you. This shows that they are already interested in what you do and will generally be more willing to keep the conversation going with you.

If you had previously created a Twitter list, you actually can load your Twitter list onto flipboard.  This allows you to easily read contents from those in your list. You can also respond to them quickly, retweet them all by using flipboard.

flipboard twitter list

Adding content and value can also be a breeze here. You can easily read news, share them, and retweet without the need to load it onto a new screen. Its one of the tools that I used to grow a community on twitter. I recently shared other tools I used on Ian Cleary site on Razor Social.

Those are some of the ways that help me organize, manage and build my followers. What would you add to this? Leave a comment below.

The original post was published on iStrategy Conference where I contribute weekly.

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  • Ian Tomlinson

    I’ve not really got involved with twitter lists before. I’ll have ago at putting some together now. Thanks.

  • Aaron Lee

    Awesome Ian! you’re going to love it :) do add me! ahem!

  • Peg Fitzpatrick

    Hee hee “staff managing my twitter account like Guy Kawasaki.”

    I use Twitter lists on my account but I haven’t made any new ones in quite sometime. I love as well.

  • Praverb

    Thank you Aaron for this amazing post. I started implementing Twitter lists about a year ago and they work great.

    The only thing that I do not like is the 500 Follower limit.

  • Terrence

    Hi Aaron,
    Interesting post. I’m relatively new to Twitter. I’ve never heard on, and I don’t have a list. I’ll check it out though.

  • Replicante Siete

    I didn’t know lists will be so useful! I will try It seems similar to SocialBro, isn’t it? Thanks, Aaron.

  • Chuck Brown

    Interesting application, but I find the support for lists inside of Android apps to be generally disappointing. My preferred use of a list is to hone in on those folks I primarily want to “listen to” (as opposed to those I might “follow” just because they have a decent stream and they are following me). But I have yet to find a good Android app that lets me make my list my primary timeline, and to keep it refreshed on a regular basis.

  • Petra Fisher

    What apps are you using? I am using Hootsuite and find it handles my Twitter lists beautifully.

  • Chuck Brown

    I’m using Falcon Pro on the Android at the moment. To be clear, I would like to make a list my default timeline, with regular refreshes. I would just prefer to save several steps…it takes me about 5 steps each time to get to the list, refresh it and jump the top of the list so I can start scanning. Tweetings was supposed to support what I’m looking to do, but I can’t figure it out within the app or their limited instructions, and they won’t respond to tweets requesting additional info. But I’ve tried about 15 apps now, and still haven’t found what I’m looking for. I haven’t tried Hootsuite on the Android, but I’ll take a look.

  • Ashley Faulkes

    Awesome, this is just what I needed to supplement my use of TweetDeck! I was wondering how I was going to process all those lists. These tips will save me a few hours. Thanks alot Aaron!!

    I also just blogged on using TweetDeck for Twitter, maybe you readers might find my post useful –

  • Kameel Vohra

    Thanks for the list management tip Aaron. As a benchmark, how much time do you spend on twitter/managing your twitter presence?

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  • Amy Clarke

    I think I’ll use this. I have about 50 followers who I chat to on-line. A few other people have said they want to buy the DVD of the film im making atm but arn’t interested in advice. It would be good to put people into lists so I can give them what they want – whether it be advice or to buy.

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  • NavNeet Navi

    Brilliant article Aaron. Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts. I have one question about the privacy of twitter list. Should it be public or private? What would you recommend?

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  • Arturo Durán

    Thanks so much, Aaron. I started doing exactly what you recommend a long time ago, after going a bit mad with my timeline. Glad to see someone else finds it useful. Regards

  • Misha Infotech

    Hi Aaron,
    I have a twitter account but I rarely use it as I frequently use Google+ and Facebook. But now I am looking to use twitter also as it has got some new end user oriented features implemented.

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  • MD Golam Rabbani

    So I am going to build my twitter list right now. Thanks Aaron.

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  • Skaiebird

    Yes…that was my question as well. Public and private – which is best…and, if it is public, can others add themselves or can only I do that? Or…can I invite them to join the list?

  • Garen Arnold

    Hey Aaron,

    At first Twitter can be very confusing to master. I mean there are so many spammy tactics, crappy ebooks, etc. It’s not about the number of followers you have. I would rather have 5 people that actually engage with me, rather than 100k followers that don’t ever engage with me. There are tools that can help us, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work at it :)

    P.S. looks like a very interesting Twitter tool. I will have to check it out and then write about it :)