This post is part of our Twitter for Business: Fundamentals Series

The first time someone suggested using Twitter to engage new customers you thought to yourself, “Why? Who has that kind of time?”

Then a colleague suggested you read Chris Brogan’s blog 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business and you thought maybe there’s something to this Twitter thing afterall.

So you took a leap of faith and created a profile…

Now you’re following some pretty cool people who have a solid point of view; people are following you back and your employees are engaging with customers to drive business. So how do you keep your Twitter world organized?

Twitter lists are a great way to manage your activity and it’s fairly simple to set one up:

Step 1: Go to your Twitter profile page, click on Lists
Step 2: Click on Create a List
Step 3: Give your list a Name and a Description if you like
Step 4: Determine if you want the list to be Public or Private
Step 5: Start adding users from their profiles or your followers/following pages.

How do you decide if you lists should be public or private?  It’s really up to you but here are a some examples that will help you decide between creating a private list vs. a public list:

Private Lists

1. You want to see what your competitors are up to but you don’t want them to know

Sure, you can follow your competitors on Twitter and read their tweets but they’ll know you’re following them. Instead, add them to a private list. You still get to read their tweets and they’ll never be the wiser!

2. You want to keep track of ‘high priority’ Tweeters without making others feel left out

Let’s face it, some Tweeters add more value than others. You can track those high value tweeters in a private Twitter list that your other followers don’t know about. Since the list is private you won’t run the risk of having those who ‘didn’t make the cut’ feeling snubbed.

Public Lists

Public lists are a great way to openly recognize and recommend people to your followers.

Here are a couple of examples of using public lists effectively:

1. Creating a public list called “Tech Bloggers,” for example, allows you to feature favorite writers in the tech field and enables others to follow or find those kinds of Tweeters too. An added bonus is that those on this list will appreciate the Twitter love and may even return the favor and add you to one of their lists!

2. Create a public list of people in your target market (ie: people who could benefit from your products and services). Next, give your list a descriptive title that includes strategic keywords relating to the services you can provide to those people. Periodically invite others to view the list with strategic keywords in the tweets that mention this list by name.

Over time, you may find that tweets referring to your public Twitter list show up in organic search results for the strategic keywords relating to your services!

** TIP **
Add yourself, where applicable, to the public lists that you create (ie: Tech Blogger, in the above example). This not only provides another way for people to find you on Twitter but it also adds to your ‘listed’ total – increasing your influence and ‘followability factor’!

Organize for Success

The great Albert Einstein once said “Out of clutter, find simplicity” and a paraphrase could also be applied to Twitter: Out of a cluttered Twitter stream, find LISTS!

Have you created Twitter Lists? Are you ON any Twitter Lists? Can you recommend any useful Twitter lists? Let us know by leaving a comment, below!