How to Build and Use Twitter Lists To Focus Your Research

designraInbound Marketing, Social MediaLeave a Comment


I recently had a social media consulting session with a top-notch, but extremely busy, startup entrepreneur with a goal of increasing their ability to do focused industry research. As we went through the discovery phase of the session we were able to determine that Twitter is a much-underutilized tool in their social media strategy. They used Twitter for the brand but needed to expand industry research, PR, micro-influencer engagement, and the hidden gem in this session was to increase their online authority as an industry thought leader by engaging in highly relevant conversations with industry journalists and micro-influencers. In this blog post, we are going to examine the power of Twitter as a research tool and a direct micro-influencer engagement tool.  

Engaging Journalist on Twitter 

There are currently 321 million active users on Twitter and 500 million tweets are sent every single day. Journalists make up the largest category of Twitter’s verified users, according to a report from Triggertrap CEO Haje Jan Kamps published on Medium.  83%  of journalists listed Twitter as the most valuable social media platform (a 13 percent increase from 2018) and 38% said they plan to use it more next year. 93% of PR professionals follow journalists on social media and nearly 80% of reporters like it when PR pros follow them online. Seventy-one percent of reporters track how often their stories are shared across social media, so they are following posts and retweets of their articles. This means that they are noticing the people posting and retweeting their articles and retweeting them also. Twitter provides the best opportunity for social media to follow, share, and engage with journalists.

Engaging Micro-Influencers on Twitter

An influencer is someone with millions of followers and a global presence. The problem is, the more “famous” a social media influencer becomes, the more removed they are from your average customer, and the less trusting your customers are of the influencer’s endorsements. That’s why many smart brands are turning to micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are more relatable versions of social media influencers. They often have thousands of followers and have a niche area of interest. micro-influencers have highly engaged fans and those fans are often extremely loyal and trusting. A micro-influencer can provide a trusted review of a brand’s product. In fact, as many as 49% of people on Twitter rely on recommendations from influencers on Twitter and nearly 40% of people on Twitter say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer. A survey by Linqia showed that 94% of marketers who used influencer marketing found it to be effective. Using Twitter’s advanced search is an effective way to identify and connect with these micro-influencers.

Using Twitter to Showcase Your Authority 

Personal authority is a person with extensive or specialized knowledge about a subject; an expert. There is a direct correlation between being an authority in the market and success. People tend to gravitate online towards authority brands and authority figures. This is why it is vital for entrepreneurs to increase their brand authority as they grow their company. People tend to gravitate towards an authority source because it is trustworthy, has extensive knowledge or opinion, and is reliable. People gravitate towards a certain page, content, or person because they find it enjoyable, informative, or a solution that they seek. People typically find authority by searching for it online and Twitter provides a straightforward and simple place to find micro-influencers, trending topics, and then easily engage with them in direct conversation. The best way to begin to build your authority on Twitter is through the process of social listening.

Social Listening on Twitter

Twitter can be overwhelming, but smartly and systematically narrowing the scope of your attention can help you home in on influencers, micro-influencers, other key social media players, and trending topics. Social listening can be a very simple and straightforward process on Twitter because it has a powerful advance search function that allows you to search #hashtags for trending topics, people, photos, articles, and videos in specific industries. Twitter allows you to efficiently monitor important news about your company, competitors, and industry. You’ll also know when key journalists are talking about things that are relevant specifically to you and your business. The Twitter platform allows you to jump into the relevant conversations that you find through social discovery and social listening and provide helpful insights that allow you to build a relationship that allows journalists and other influencers to know who you and see that you have impactful information to share. Twitter provides the benefit of direct engagement in real-time with the immediacy of a trending topic. 

Twitter Lists Are the Most Efficient Social Listening Tool

Twitter lists are curated groups of Twitter profiles that you can create to group similar users together. Twitter lists allow you to see tweets from only that group of people. Twitter lists allow efficient access to your target audience’s tweets and profiles when looking for great content to share on my own Twitter account. Public Twitter lists are great if you want to recognize the individual profiles on your list for being superstars – they can see that you’ve added them to the list, and others can subscribe to the list to receive content from those you’ve included. 

The Most Effective Uses of Twitter Lists
  1. Media Lists – Go back to your recent press mentions and follow. add each journalist’s Twitter profile to a “media” list so you can maintain your existing relationships with those that have covered your business. They will be of mutual conversation to engage in them, and interesting content you can share with your followers. Maintaining your relationship with the media can keep you top of mind when they need a subject matter expert to weigh in on an article they’re writing, or when you have a story you’d like to share with them.
  2. Industry Journalists – search your competitors’ recent press mentions and recent industry news articles and follow/ add those journalists to a separate list. These journalists should have plenty of relevant content you can engage with and help you build a relationship with a journalist you haven’t met. 
  3. PR Placement – Create a list for a specific story they’d like to pitch in the future so they target journalists that have covered related stories in their industry. Creating a relationship with them on Twitter, your pitch may be more well-received. Make sure that you’ve used Twitter to add value for that journalist and that you start building these relationships well ahead of time.
  4. Industry Bloggers – With the advent of social media bloggers are today’s journalists, so to get targeted coverage for your stories from industry bloggers you may want to break this group of Twitter profiles down into more specific lists like the specific topic they write about, how large and engaged is their following.  This will help you keep your content stream very focused, which will make it easier for you to interact with your listed tweets.
Key Takeaways

Engagement is the key to using your Twitter list efficiently and effectively. First, you have to research and ensure that your journalist or blogger has a high level of engagement from their followers. Once this fact is settled then you will want to view your Twitter lists on a regular basis and respond to tweets shared by those on your list. If their content provides relevant value you should retweet their content so your followers can see it too. Stay on the lookout for journalists and bloggers asking for subject matter expertise within their network – this will help you position yourself as the go-to person when that writer needs more information for a story. 

Make sure you’re creating value for the journalist or blogger with the tweets and content you share by extending the reach of their content or providing sources for their articles. Accomplishing this task for their content will ensure you’re better placed to build and maintain a meaningful online relationship that can be mutually beneficial for years to come.

The goal of this post is to provide you a better understanding of the importance of Twitter lists and how you can create and use them to nurture relevant profiles and build relationships on social media. For more information on how to use Twitter for your business please sign up for our email newsletter or follow our blog at  

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