The Great Big List of Twitter Lists, Ideas, and Tools

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I love lists.  When I was a kid I hated them – mostly because I would make them and then lose them before I could actually cross anything off.  But as an adult (and thanks to great tools like Asana), I’m very good at making lists of everything, and crossing them off. But there are some lists that I don’t want to cross off – I want to keep them forever – these are called “Twitter Lists”.

There are so many different ways to use twitter lists and so many different tools to help you manage them.  I wanted to create a nice resource for you to use to organize your twitter lists and make the most of them.

  1. What are Twitter Lists?
  2. How do you create them?
  3. What are some great ideas for how to use them?
  4. What are some great tools to help organize and use them?
  5. What are some great ones to follow?


What are Twitter Lists?

Twitter describes them as, “a curated group of Twitter users. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list.”

If you wanted to create a list of Social Media Experts, you could add just the Twitter users that you find always have the best social media ideas to share so that you can quickly read through all the best social media tweets when you’re actively working on your social media plan – or at least that’s one idea.

You can create lists, you can subscribe to lists that someone else created, and you can even be added as a member to a list that someone else created.  If you create a list, you have complete control over who you add to the list – as long as you don’t go over the limit, which is 5,000 people in a list.

How do you create Twitter lists?

Big list of twitter list ideas

If you’re on your desktop computer, you can simply click the button to the right that says, “Create new list”.  You can see an example of that in the picture above.  If you’re using your phone, then I took a couple of screenshots for you (see below).  You access the lists by clicking on the “gear” icon at the top of your profile and then clicking “Lists”.  Once there, you simply click the “plus” sign in the upper right hand corner.

Access twitter lists from iPhone

Now just give your list a name, give it a description, and decide if it’s a public or a private list.  There are some lists that you might have spent a ton of time curating and you don’t want your frenemies getting ahold of so you make that one private.  Other lists, you’re excited to share with anyone and everyone, including your boss and your grandma, so you make those lists public.

Once you have that figured out, just start adding people.  I would usually recommend keeping the list smaller – it allows you to actually use the list without being overwhelmed, but there are times when you want your list to be as big as possible.  Either way, start off small and get the hang of it first, then branch out to bigger and better things as you get familiar with Twitter lists.

What are some great ideas for how to use Twitter lists?

I personally like my twitter lists to be extremely small and functional.  I have a list for SEO experts, a list for PPC experts and so forth.  I like to check into those lists often when I’m looking for inspiration and anything cutting edge in those fields.  I keep the lists short so that I’m not bombarded by a lot of tweets that are repeated in the feed.  I also only bring people into those lists when they demonstrate being an expert in the field that I added them – this way I’m only getting the best information, instead of second rate ideas.

Here are some other great ideas:

  1. Client Lists

This is a popular one among sales agents.  It’s also a perfect example of one you should keep private.  It’s fairly self explanatory – you have a list of your clients which allows you to favorite their tweets, retweet, reply and basically just get on their good side.  They feel special and you increase the chance of repeat sales from them and decrease the likelihood that they will churn.

  1. Competitor Lists

Another great example of a list to keep private is your competitor list.  This list allows you to keep track of what your competitors are up to.  Find out what new products they just released, or updates to their app, or even just to keep track of what content they share that seems to be getting the most engagement from their audience (and your potential customers).

  1. Niche Thought Leaders Lists

This is essentially the main type of list that I use (as I outlined above).  Is your niche SEO, then maybe you have a list of SEO experts.  Is your niche local musicians, then maybe you have a list of the best local musicians.  If you put together a really great list – this is the type of list that many people may want to subscribe to as well.

  1. Team Directory Lists

There are many ways you can use this list.  It could be a list of team members for your workplace, helping you promote your company – or it could be a list of team members for a local high school, college, or even professional team that you want to keep track of the most important events surrounding that team.

  1. Resource Lists

This is a great way to add value to your clients or customers.  If you tweet about how to run a Small Business, like my previous employer, a list that curates some of the best users tweeting about running a small business would be a great list for your customers.

  1. Event / Conference Lists

If you’re going to a conference, you probably already track the event’s hashtag, but maybe there are some key leads, or vendors that you want to keep track of while you’re at the event.  A list of those company profiles is a great way to make sure you catch all the action – even if it doesn’t include the show hashtag.

  1. Industry Cohorts Lists

This list is a great way to keep up to date with others in your same industry.  Whether you’re a comedian, musician, programmer, blogger, or marketer – sometimes its just nice to keep up to date with what your industry buddies are doing.

  1. Local Lists

Sometimes you want to keep tabs on the local community without preference to job or tweet content.  You can use this to keep track of people in your state, city, school, church, or even your neighborhood as a form of “neighborhood watch”.

  1. Family and Friends Lists

Pretty self explanatory, but sometimes you just want to get a quick update on what your core group of friends is up to or find out what the latest scoop is with your family.  It might make small talk a bit more interesting the next time you all meet up in person.

  1. Fans Lists

There are some users on twitter that are very good about favoriting and retweeting everything you send into the twittersphere – you can use this list to reward them by returning the love from time to time.

What are some great tools to help organize and use Twitter lists?

Having a few great twitter lists is a wonderful place to start, but you may find that you could use a tool to help you manage those lists now. Here are a few great tools you should check out.

  1. Twitlistmanager – This tool is pretty straight forward and simply makes it much easier to add people to your different Twitter lists.  Best part about it – it’s free.
  1. Twitilist – makes adding a lot of users to lists much easier than trying to add them one by one – again, another great free tool.
  1. HootSuite – lets you see activity in many lists all at once from your desktop.  A quick easy way to watch everything all at once and engage when it makes sense.
  1. TweetDeck – same thing as above.  A great way to watch the activity from several lists all at once from your desktop.
  1. SocialBro – has a lot of list functions that will save you time.  You can filter your lists, quickly follow and unfollow or change lists with ease.
  1. Tweepi – lets you see more information about all the users in a particular list so you can decide if it’s really worth your time following them or not.


What are some great Twitter lists to follow?

If you’re looking for some of the best Twitter lists to follow, here are a few that you need to check out.  Obviously this is very dependent on your interests and industry – but hopefully these will get you off to a great start.

  1. Thought Leaders by Josh Weinberger – social media thought leadership.
  2. SEO Experts by William Harris – a short list of the best minds in SEO.
  3. bloggers by Ray Carroll – a great list of some of the best bloggers on the web.
  4. Mentors by 500 Startups – the perfect list for finding a great startup mentor.
  5. Top Twitter Influencers by Simply Measured – a list of really great Twitter users.
  6. PR-Marketing-Top-250 by Rami Kantari – a nice list of some of the top PR/Marketing users.
  7. Social Media Experts by Juan Felix – over 600 amazing social media gurus.
  8. AdWeek Marketing Top 50 by Mark Schaefer – name says it all.
  9. Thought Leaders by Aaron Lee – some super smart people saying smart things.
  10. eCommerce Experts by William Harris – a short list of the best minds in eCommerce.
  11. Social Media by Aaron Lee – more than 600 amazing social media users in one list.
  12. VC A-List by Rick Palmer – the place to be if you’re an A-list Venture Capitalist.
  13. Tech News People by Robert Scoble – over 600 users with over 7,000 subscribers.
  14. Mashable Staff by Mashable – 10,000 subscribers might be on to something.
  15. Team by Buffer – the buffer team has a lot of great stuff to share.
  16. leanstartup by Joel Gascoigne – this is the way startups are winning.
  17. Social Media by Mashable – over 13,000 subscribers learning the best in social media.
  18. Digital marketing content by Kevan Lee – some of the top social sharers on Twitter.



Twitter lists are probably the saving grace of the twitter newsfeed.  If your twitter homepage is like mine, you probably have way too much going on to make sense of anything – it’s because you’re human and you have a lot of varied interests.  I like marketing, SEO, PPC, social media – but I also like music, art, math, physics, and health.  Twitter lists let me keep all of my interests separate so I can focus on what I want to focus on.  Hopefully this list of Twitter lists, ideas and tools helps you organize your twitter world a bit better so you can be more effective in whatever it is you do.


Image credit: Nathan Peck,

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Showing 4 comments
  • Dick Sijtsma

    Nice article. Recently i discovered a new way to create a list (automatically). I subscribed at (If this then that). I added a recipe to my account. This recipe (that’s how a small script is called at ifttt) adds a twitter account to a twitterlist, every time someone is using a hashtag or searchword you defined in the recipe.
    I experienced the hard way that you have to choose your keyword very carefully, but once you do that, a twitter list builts up nicely. That way i have created a twitter list of all people using the software Rapidweaver.

    The list is slowly growing, and i can see all the people working with this Rapidweaver software. Very nice.

    Be especially carefull when you target more common keywords (like SEO). This will grow your list to fast, and it is very difficult to remove someone from a twitterlist.

    • William Harris

      Awesome idea! I use and love IFTTT – seriously one of the greatest tools in my marketing tool belt.

  • Mary

    For my blog, Twitter works extremely well, at the beginning it worked even better than Facebook.
    These days I get more retweets, shares, and new followers from Twitter than ever before.

    • William Harris

      Nice! Yeah – it definitely depends on your audience, but Twitter can be a really really great place to promote your content.

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