Twitter lists have long been a useful, if slightly restrictive way of grouping and keeping in touch with subsets of the Twitterati.  It’s no secret that Twitter can be a noisy place, and the greater number of people you follow, the harder it can be to stay on top of what really matters – often foregoing the real “nuggets” that could help you and your business, and instead suffering the mundane ramblings of the many.  Up till now, Twitter has allowed you up to 20 lists, to help filter the incoming Tweets, based on your chosen networks and subgroups, but that’s now changed.


Twitter has gotten generous with Lists.  Where you’ve previously had access to up to 20 lists per account, you can now add up to 1,000!  Not only that, but the limit of 500 users per list has been raised to 5,000.  Notwithstanding a list with 5,000 users in it is hardly “filtered”, this is no doubt borne of the fact that a growing number of users are having to juggle 100’s of thousands, or often millions of contacts (alright for some) – depending on the context, you may ask why anyone would want to FOLLOW so many users as to warrant a 5k-strong list – a debate in waiting.

In any case, Lists are useful.  Here’s 5 ways to make them work for you and your business:

 

1. Group your offline connections, online


People in business go to all sorts of offline networking groups and events.  Adding the contacts you meet in these networks, into specific lists, allows you to recall the circumstances under which you became connected, and add context to your Twitter interactions for years to come.

 

2. Connect with Influencers


Influencer marketing is increasingly important to businesses of all sizes.  Once you identify an influencer that suits your objectives, you’d do well to add them to a list, so as to stay abreast of their output.  The Retweets, replies, favorites and such that you bestow upon those influencers, can aid you in strengthening the bond, and moving to a collaborative position, sooner.

 

3. Keep tabs on the competition


Espionage!  Lists can be private, and one use for a private list is to keep tabs on what your competitors are saying on Twitter.  What you do with this information is up to you, but knowledge is power.  Consider, too, that competitors are keeping tabs on you.  Give them something to worry about!

 

4. Go Local


There are plenty of ways to find and become alerted to Twitter users in your local region, and many obvious benefits for getting connected to other local businesses.  Why not add local business users to a “local” list, and bonding with those who may just become your greatest and most powerful advocates.

 

5. Set up List Streams in Hootsuite


It will seem obvious to those that use Hootsuite already, but adding a Stream that shows the latest Tweets from your lists is by far the easiest way to filter out the noise, and stay on top of what’s happening in your networks.  Consider how best to use the 10 streams available to each Hootsuite tab, and create your own “listening station”.

How are you using Lists, and what are your thoughts on Twitter’s changes?  Were the existing 20 lists and 500 contacts enough, or will you make use of the lifted restrictions?  Let us know in the comments.