When you take a look at Twitter and the evolution it went through as a product and platform, it is fascinating to apply to your own journey, but even more interesting to learn about all the features Twitter offers and how you can best capitalize on them.
The thing with Twitter, as a marketing tool, is that it can be tremendously useful, but it can also become an absolute time-suck if you don't use it effectively. The noise, quite frankly, is Twitter's largest challenge and by extension, your most significant obstacle when using the platform.
So the million dollar question, or more precisely, the $31 billion question, based on Twitter's market cap as I am writing these words is, how do you separate the noise from the real value in the fire hose of Twitter? The answer is one feature you probably don't even know about, and if you do, you almost definitely do not use.
What if you could compartmentalize your Twitter feed based on the kind of information you are looking for at that given moment? So for example, if you are now running a PR campaign and you are interested in engaging with journalists and no one else, what if you could create a feed of only journalists? Or maybe you are looking for influencers to help evangelize your product? What if you could build your feed such that all you see are influencers in your space? That would be nice, wouldn't it?
With Twitter lists, you can use a tool like Tweetdeck or Tweetbot and not have to deal with all the noise from the general timeline or even the timeline of the people you follow, which can also get pretty noisy depending on your numbers.
Make lists based on topic or anything else you want, for that matter, then when relevant, focus on the specific list that is of most interest to you.
I cannot remember the last time I read the general timeline and truth be told, I could not even imagine having to, and the amount of noise I would have to filter out.
This begs the obvious question, if your Twitter feed is too noisy, why not unfollow most people who are generating most of that noise and only follow relevant folks?
Twitter Etiquette, It's a Thing
Twitter etiquette, and more specifically who to follow or not to follow is somewhat of a controversial topic. The thing is, if someone follows you, assuming they are somewhat relevant to what you do, and assuming they do not automate their Tweeting, it is sort of accepted to follow back. Again, controversial, and not everyone would agree with that sentiment.
Because of this unwritten rule, you often find yourself with a feed full of people who are not necessarily producing content you are always interesting in consuming. You don't want to unfollow them because, well, that might be misinterpreted or offensive to them, but you also don't want to see every picture of their food. Yes, if you follow me on Twitter, I fully understand the irony of that last sentence.
So without unfollowing, you can fully personalize your feed and decide what you see, what you don't see, and when.
An Easy Way to Get on Someone's Radar
If the reduction in noise and the ability to focus on the type of content you want when you want it, wasn't enough to convince you, then let's not forget the fact that unless someone has disabled this notification, when you add someone to a Twitter list called "The awesomest people in tech", they get notified that they were indeed added to that list by you.
That is a nice subtle way to compliment someone, thereby getting on their radar, without even tweeting anything.
All in all, creating Twitter lists can be done over time and requires little to no effort from you. As a result of that minimal investment, the returns you can potentially generate are endless.