By now, if you’re a Twitter user, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Twitter’s new list functionality.
Here are some ways your brand can use Twitter’s new on-site functionality:
- Segment and grow your local customer base: If you’re a global brand with a local — or even hyperlocal — customer base, enable your consumers to connect with each other through you. For instance, a world-famous chain of coffee bars could set up meetup groups through local lists, and when it’s ready to execute on some local programs, it already has its local influencers lined up.
- Reference list for who’s really paying attention to you: Your brand may have thousands upon thousands of Twitter followers, but are they really paying attention?
When I worked at Tribune Interactive and the Chicago Tribune, as Colonel Tribune, I tried as hard as I could to thank all of my new Twitter followers. On my personal Twitter account, I still do keep track of my new followers, and I thank people who are local, or people who share the same passions as I.
At the end of the day, you can’t thank everyone who follows you; just those who are very engaged. Lists are a great way to identify them.
(NOTE: I recently started sending “thank you” direct messages to people who added me to their lists; I’ve noticed I’ll usually get an instant response.)
- Thank and promote people who talk to you: If you’re a Twitter user, there’s a good chance you know about the #FollowFriday meme. When participating in #FollowFriday, you may want to recognize so many users, you’ll write multiple posts that flood your Twitterstream.
Twitter lists enable brand accounts to eschew these pseudo-spammy posts. Not only can a brand create a “List of the Week” for people it interacted with, but these people can immediately connect with each other through your list, and then they can explore other lists.
- Promote your customer service department: Many companies are recognizing the power Twitter has to help the customer service department. As a result, your brand may have one — or several — touchpoints on the Twittersphere.
Promote them! Create a list that includes all of your customer service-related employees. When a follower DMs you with an issue, complaint or compliment, it helps to send them to several people, instead of one, to handle their issue.
Think of a customer service-centric list as another way to ease your Twitter workflow.
- Monitor for negative mentions through list inclusion: The social media crowd is quite fickle: If a consumer has a positive brand experience, they’ll shout it from the mountains.
The same is true with negative brand experiences: A Twitter user may dislike you so much, they add your brand to a negative list.
Use your Twitter lists not only to highlight the positive, but keep an eye out for inclusion on negative lists. If you can direct users to your (newly created) customer service list, or if there’s a way for your brand to improve your product — the actual product or Twitter stream — in any way, do it.
Remember that your detractors are part of your brand, whether you like it or not, but every complaint you receive is an opportunity.
- Think about your brand differently: When I examined my personal Twitter lists, I started to see how other people — including many folks I have never met before — categorize what I offer through social media.
Here’s a screen capture of some of the lists I’m on:
Not only am I a Weber Shandwick employee, but I’m a public speaker, a media futurist, a “top influencer” of sorts, a friend, a community builder, an entrepreneur, a buddy, a journalist, a person who’s “full of awesome”, a cigar aficionado and a Chicagoan.
Study the Twitter lists you’re on. Look at the other Twitter accounts that are listed with yours. If you find your brand is only on one type of list, your Twitter presence may be one-dimensional. (This is not necessarily a bad thing — your followers may prefer you stay on topic — but it may keep you from bringing in new followers.)
At the very least, there’s a good chance you’ll find some good presentation fodder. If you take the lists seriously, you’ll gain real insight into how people really think about your brand.
And it won’t cost a dime.
How else do you see brands taking advantage of this new Twitter functionality? Please post your ideas as comments below!