Twitter is making the news this week with its planned changes to account profile pages.
But the focus of this post is a change that Twitter has made with little to no fanfare: the capability to search for Twitter lists.
Since I’ve been paying attention to Twitter and doing my part to introduce people to all that Twitter can lead to, there have been two recurring questions: 1. How do we get people to follow us? (And sometimes, who do we follow?) 2. How do we find relevant tweets? This change helps with both.
Twitter List Background
First, some background.
Whether you work for a firm with a chatty Twitter account or a firm interested just in what’s being said on Twitter but not maintaining a Twitter presence, Twitter lists can be useful.
Things can look pretty messy on Twitter.com. Twitter lists are what enable an account to organize who it follows (example: Investment Managers on Twitter) or why it follows them (example: Marketing Technology).
Actually, you don’t even need to follow an account in order to add it to a Twitter list. This helps when you need to be stealth about who and what you're "listening" to.
Twitter lists can be either public or private. From what’s able to be observed (i.e., public lists) and from my experience, my sense is that asset management firms and Twitter lists could be better acquainted.
Here’s a look at some of the largest firms and their Twitter list membership and activity. Not only does @PIMCO have the most followers, it appears on the most public lists relative to others. And—to anticipate a question—the high list membership of Vanguard's advisor account (@Vanguard_FA) relative to the number of its followers suggests that Twitter-using advisors use Twitter lists.
iShares and Putnam are the only firms that have created and/or subscribed to public lists. It's possible they and others may be creating private lists.
What To Learn From Twitter Lists
At the minimum, I recommend that you:
- Track the number of Twitter lists that your account has been added to over time. The number of a Twitter account’s followers can be artificially inflated by advertising and other automated means. It’s an incomplete measure of the value of an account.
The Twitter list count is meaningful because a list creator needs to manually add each account to it. It’s a reflection of the resonance of your content. Also, inclusion on a Twitter list implies that your tweets have a better chance of being paid attention to.
- Note the names of the Twitter lists that your account appears on. This will show you how your content is being received. For example, it feels like all is in order when @RockTheBoatMKTG is added to an Investment Marketing Twitter list, and not so much when the account is added to a Boat Shipping list.
To see the lists that others have added your account to, just go to your Twitter account Settings/Lists. The lists that your account has created and/or subscribed to is the default view, click on the Member of tab.
When your account is added to a list, it's reported through the Twitter Notifications tab.
For a total of the lists that your account is on, however, you’ll need to go to Twitonomy.com, the source of the data shown in the table above.
- Create Twitter lists (private, probably) to isolate the individuals or topics you care most about. Tweets from your curated lists can then be monitored on Twitter.com or using third-party apps (HootSuite, Feedly, Flipboard, etc.)
Surfacing Relevant Accounts, Content
A few additional opportunities open up, now that Twitter lists can be searched. As an example, let’s say that your firm is positioning itself as a 401(k) thought leader.
A Twitter list search will expose you to who’s so focused on 401(k)s that they’ve created a list for the topic, and you’ll be able to track the tweets and accounts added to the list for your own content development inspiration.
If your firm is permitted by Compliance to follow others, Twitter list search will help vet which accounts and lists to subscribe to or follow. Your following activity will make the list creator and other accounts aware that you’re out there, and that your interests are aligned. This should lead to more followers for your account.
Greater visibility via the new search capability should also stimulate usage of Twitter lists. Hope so, I consider Twitter lists one of Twitter’s most awesome, configurable features. The absence of an easy way to search for them has been a drawback in others' adoption.
Where To Find Twitter List Search
Without any further ado, these screenshots show where to find the Twitter list search. These are from desktop Twitter. It's also possible to get to List search from the Twitter Android and iOS apps.
Start by entering your term in the Search box, which will produce timeline search results.
Click on Timelines in the left-hand column and you'll see two tabs displayed: One for Lists and one for Timelines. Lists is the default view. This shows just a partial view of the available 401k lists.
It’s not as intuitive as one might hope. For example, I expected to access list search via Twitter's Advanced Search but that’s not available. And, there’s no knowing the order that the lists are displayed in—it’s not by number of members, as you’ll see in the screenshot.
While we’re on the topic of Twitter search, did you know that you can also search within only the tweets of the people you follow (boxed on the screenshot above)? This can be quite helpful, too.