There are certain things small business marketers (especially those new to the Web) regularly do on Twitter that jeopardize social media results.  In particular here, I’m talking erroneous assumptions that wrongfully color how we perceive would-be clients, colleagues, and partners… which cause them never to becomeclients, colleagues, nor partners because we’ve jumped the gun and written them off….

…or directly blown them off.  But you wouldn’t do that.  Right?


Let’s take a look at two common Twitter marketing complaints — assumptions which can prove detrimental to your social media campaign.

Unfounded Twitter Marketing Kvetch #1:

“I can’t follow X amount of people on Twitter because my feed will become too crowded.  Then, I’ll never get to ‘hear’ the people whose stuff I actually care what they have to say!”

Well… technically, that’s true… but don’t you think, with all the brilliant developers out there, that someone has come up with “an app for that”? ;)

And they have, of course.  Solution:

Use Twitter lists… in a non-native client.


Basically, don’t use Twitter to browse your feed – it’s too unintuitive and surprisingly feature-limited to be, well, the natural-born, native client. Touché. Don’t let “native Twitter” kill your dreams of OCD-style social media organization.  Instead, create lists for easy viewing in third-party clients.

Quick Primer on Twitter Lists

These really help you stay organized and efficient when using what would otherwise quickly become a mishmash of random, rapid-fire social media chaos.  When you create lists, you can browse them one at a time (or many at a time — more on that later) to make sure the people who most share what you’re interested in are easily accessible.

Cool, right?

One smart tactic for using Twitter lists is to thereforegroup people according to the type of relationship you have with them (or plan to build). For instance, you can create lists (public or private — more on that in a minute) segmented by…

  • Prospects
  • Customers
  • Potential JV (Joint Venture) Partners
  • Media Contacts
  • Best Retweet Sources
  • …and so on.

Another common grouping method is by topic.  For instance, you can create lists for…

  • Social media
  • Web marketing
  • Website conversions
  • Web design advice
  • Local business marketing
  • Startup help
  • …etc.

And often, the people we follow post about a number of things, so you can always add people to more than one list.

But Careful with the List Names! They Could Come Back to Bite You in the–


Consider making your list title PUBLIC-FRIENDLY — even if for a private list.


Because Twitter lists are public by default, and it’s just all too easy to innocently forget to mark a new list as private when you’re in a rush, which can potentially backfire later.

So yes, a title like, “Fockers I Plan to Spam” is probably a really bad idea.

Note, if you add someone to a private list, they’ll neither know your list title, that they’re on a list, nor that such a list even exists.  Again, this forewarning is simply to cover your bum in the event that you initially neglect to make your list private… in which case, said list member would see all of the above.


“But How Do I Create a ‘List’? Where the &*#$^@ is the App for That?!” 

Exactly.  Twitter for some reason thinks it quite clever to have hidden this under the funny silver gear icon at screen top.  It’s not on the left of your profile from the home screen.

Twitter Lists Not on Home PageTwitter Lists Not on Home Page

But do you like surprises, Dear Reader…?  Twitter loves to keep you guessing.  So much so, in fact, that they’ve randomly chosen to include the “Lists” option on the left of the page while seated firmly on your profile screen.


What reason does one have to be on one’s own profile page?  Oh–to find “Lists” of things not apparent anywhere else.  Of course.

Twitter lists appearing

Ah. THERE they are. “Intuitive.”

And to further demystify what should now be only slightly mysterious, I created a short video (3:32) on creating and navigating Twitter lists to show you how it’s done.

Want an Even Bigger Productivity Boost?  Try Viewing Your Twitter Lists in TweetDeck. Go, Go!

Once you have your lists created then, try one of the nifty browser-based apps that allow you to view each list as a separate feed, all lined up neatly, side by side.

Ooooo, I love the slick and awesome Tweetdeck:

Tweetdeck for Twitter ListsLove Tweetdeck for Keeping Twitter Lists Organized.

I downloaded the Windows desktop version before, but I prefer their Chrome app as it’s very svelte and lightning fast.  (I’d be remiss if I didn’t add, though, that you could simply view one list at a time right on Twitter’s native website.  *Yawn*)

Twitter Lists -- uhh, just one "list" -- on TwitterSnooze-Worthy Single-List Browsing on Twitter

Quick Tip: Breaking Users Into Lists Isn’t the Be-All and End-All… It’s Just “All” You’ve Got.

Bear in mind that the “list” solution isn’t completely limitation-free for keeping the people you follow organized, because Twitter “only” allows 50 lists and 200 users per list. Maybe one day they’ll get a clue and lift this limitation for legitimately-built accounts, seeing that it is, um, a “social network.”  What-evz.

Regardless, let’s be realistic.  This 10,000-person “limitation” should literally be more than enough for a new small business on Twitter, so long as you’re a little discerning and clean your lists semi-often.

Back to kvetching!

Unfounded Twitter Marketing Kvetch #2:

“If someone follows me, then unfollows me after a few days ‘just because’ I don’t follow back, they weren’t really interested in what I had to say anyway! And I don’t want them as a follower anyway!  They were only interested in building follower numbers anyway!  Nah-nanny-boo-boo!”

Uhh. Srsly??

Although you should now have a fresh perspective in this regard (as you’ve just been reminded [or informed] about the utility of Twitter lists)… know this:

FACT:  You don’t have to follow someone to put them on a Twitter list.

FACT:  Many users organize interesting people into Twitter lists instead of following them.

But what does this mean to YOU?

It’s simple:

Don’t dis’ people due to something as superficial as a failure to follow. 

This sounds like I’m preaching a little–and maybe I am–but I’m reminding myself, too.  Truthfully, even I forget sometimes that not all engagers are necessarily going to be “Followers”… so I should consequently not be as initially befuddled as I am, at times, when I get a retweet or comment from someone who isn’t following me. ;)

But I’m even going to take it back to the ’90s here and remind you that people can have simply… bookmarked your profile link.

Do I think that’s likely?  Barely.  (It isn’t the ’90s anymore, you know.)  But consider your target audience: Who do you sell to?

For older users, those newer to the Web, or simply those not that tech savvy… the concept of “lists”!?  Laughable.  They may only know how to bookmark your profile page.

So with your audience in mind (as with all other business decisions), decide thenwhether a bookmark in lieu of a follow could be likely.

“Sounds Like I’ll Only Be Noticed if I Get on My Followers’ Twitter Lists. How Do I Pull That Off?”

You smart cookie, you.

Get “List”ed Tip #1:  Check out How to Build Targeted Twitter Followers (and Get Added to Twice as Many Twitter Lists as Competitors).

Author Siv Rauv offers several creative ways to use Twitter tools like SocialMotus to find people who are actively adding others to lists… and how then to (indirectly) “suggest yourself” as their next list addition.  Pretty cool.  The outlined step-by-step process brought some techniques to light that I hadn’t even begun to consider.

Get “List”ed Tip #1: Endeavor to constantly be thinking of ways to leverage the things you’realready doing in your marketing… in order to tweak those things to make them work even harder for your business.

What do I mean?

Take the new Twitter header as an example.  With Twitter not currently imposing limitations on what can be in our header photos, a little creativity can go a long way to give business a little boost.  And every little bit counts.

So what about using a bit of that Twitter screen real estate to request that followers add you to their Twitter lists…?  (<–tweet it)

The sky is the limit here, and that’s only one idea.  So while you can do so… ROCK your Twitter header for maximum effect.


Stop Limiting Yourself by Acting on Assumptions.  Stop Caring About Follower Numbers.  Start Caring About Twitter Lists.

Don’t claim anything in your business as an obstacle or limitation until you’ve researched it or consulted with your marketing coach.  And while large numbers of anything (except spam) generally make us feel all “hot commodity” and warm inside… remember that it’s not about the numbers.  It never was.

Here’s what it IS about:

How is a follower of yours — who’s tracking even 1,000 others — going to see what YOU have to say… at least enough for it to make a difference?  

Exactly.  Now, get outta here and go set up (and get on) some Twitter lists.