Twitter Tip Tuesday is a weekly blog series from Sprout Social Insights.

Every Tuesday we’ll focus on just one (1) Twitter Tip and show you how to integrate it into your social media strategy.

Today’s Twitter Tip Tuesday: How to Use Twitter Lists

Twitter Lists are simply lists of Twitter users grouped together by some common thread.

For example, you could have lists of people who tweet about gardening, lists based on people’s occupations or lists of tweeters who all live in New York City.

The main benefit of using Twitter lists is that you get a very quick snapshot of what tweeters on that list are tweeting, right now. You don’t have to remember the names of tweeters you want to check, you don’t even need to follow people on a list to see what they are tweeting. You simply open your list in Twitter and read what’s being tweeted.

How to Create a List

To create a list of your own, you first need to find the people you want to add to your list.

If you already know who they are, simply search for their Twitter handle using the search field in Twitter. Once you’ve found them, go to their Twitter profile and click the icon immediately to the left of the gear icon.

In the example below, using my personal Twitter account, I’ve searched for @Sprout_Insights and I’m going to create a new list and add them to it.

Sprout Social Insights on Twitter List

Click ‘Create a list’ and you’ll see the ‘Create a new list’ pop up:

Create a new list pop up

Give the list a name, include a description and decide whether your list will be Public (viewable to everyone on Twitter) or Private (viewable only to you).

NOTE: If you make your list public (highly recommended) everyone will also see the name of your list and its description – so try and be as professional as possible when naming your list.

SocialMedia Blogs Twitter ListWhen you click the Save list button, the Twitter account you had on screen at the time will automatically be added to the list you just created.

To add additional accounts to this list, repeat the process but instead of creating a new list, simply check the box on the list(s) you’ve just created.

NOTE: You can create up to 20 Twitter lists so experiment and have fun. You can delete or maintain your lists at any time.

What To Do With Your Twitter Lists

Once you’ve created a list or two, use them to get a quick snapshot of what people in your lists are tweeting about.

SocialMedia Blogs Twitter ListTo access your lists, orient yourself by clicking the Home button in Twitter. Just under the ‘What’s Happening’ status update box, you’ll see a series of timeline options.

Click the option called Lists and you’ll see the lists created by you.

Click on any of the lists you’ve created to see the tweets from people in the list:

View Twitter List Page

You can also edit the list name and description, delete the list or click on the ‘Following’ link to see exactly who is on the list.

More Twitter List Tips

  • Create a private list that only you can see. You can add your competition to this list, for example, to keep track of their tweets without having to follow them – so they’ll never even know you’re reading their tweets.
  • If you’ve created a public list that you think other people would benefit from, you can tweet a link to your list and encourage other people to follow your list. Simply copy and paste the long URL to your list into your favorite link shortener and tweet it out!Tweet a link to your list
  • You can also follow lists that other people have created. You benefit by accessing all of the tweeters (and their tweets!) on that list without even having to follow any of the people on that list.To following someone else’s list, first go to their Twitter profile. Just above their tweets, you’ll see a series of timeline options.Click the option called Lists and you’ll see the lists they’ve created.

    Click on any of their lists and click the ‘Follow this list’ button:

    Follow someone elses list

    This list will now be added to your lists under the heading ‘Lists you Follow’.

What do you say?

How do you use Twitter Lists? Do you use them to spy on your competition? Do you use them to keep track of a ‘select’ group of tweeters you want to follow more closely?

Let us know by commenting on Twitter: @Sprout_Insights or by leaving a comment below and you could be featured on the next Fan Friday.