Twitter lists have me torn. On one hand, they seem like a popularity contest with the most popular Tweeters landing on the most lists. However, at second glance they become something a lot more useful; directories listing freelance writers and freelance writing clients.
Honestly, I don’t know many folks who use the various Twitter lists each day. I ignored them until recently, but finally realized they were valuable both for those looking for work and for clients looking to hire freelance writers.
What are Twitter Lists and Why Should I Care?
Twitter lists are user-generated lists of people and businesses on Twitter organized by specific topics. For example, I’m listed on over 600 Twitter lists under “freelance writers,” “Bloggers,” “NJ Social Media,” “Influencers,” “conversationalists” and so many others. The creators of individual Twitter lists have many reasons for doing so, mostly because it helps to narrow down the follower list. For example, I have a list of my favorite Tweeters on a list called “Always Worth a Retweet.” I look at this list each day because it contains what I feel are the most interesting Twitterers of those I follow. It changes weekly.
I follow more than 6,000 people, Twitter lists help me keep track of different followers in difference niches and genres.I also have several private Twitter lists that I use to help with my career, my book, and to keep track of my personal friends and neighbors.
Let’s explore some of the types of Twitter lists I use and their benefits.
Twitter Lists Based on Location
Sorting out Twitterers based on location helps those who are seeking writers or clients in their area. For example, I follow several lists for my state and community for the news, and also to learn who is hiring, who is firing, who might be likely to take on a freelancer and more. There’s a local law firm nearby that hires freelance writers. I have them on one of my private lists so I can see when they’re putting out feelers. That isn’t to say that everyone in a particular locality hires freelancers. However, following local businesses can give you an idea of who is hiring and who might be in the market.
Twitter Lists Based on Profession
If you’re a writer with a Twitter account, there’s a good chance you’re on at least a dozen Twitter lists. Clients who don’t wish to go the job board route can peruse these lists and find writers. No, they’re not going to hire you based on your Tweets alone. However, a lot can be learned by browsing lists. Writers who are on many different lists or have interesting Tweets might lead to further exploration. Writers who Tweet links to their blog posts are showing samples of their writing to potential clients, and may not even know it.
Also consider the types of Twitterers who hire writers. For example, webmasters, publishing companies, media agencies, newspapers, blog networks, content sites and others. Many of these types of places will Tweet out their gigs. If you’re not following them, or if their Tweets are buried among the thousands you follow, how will you know? Isolate the places that hire writers on your own public or private Twitter lists so their job Tweets don’t get lost in the noise.
Twitter Lists Based on Expertise
If you’re an automotive writer, you’ll want to follow automotive lists – and you should even be on those lists. The same with all the niches and genres. Follow lists made up of the influential people and businesses in your area of expertise. Get to know these people and become of a part of the community. When they need a writer, they’ll know who to call.
Lists of Freelance Writing Job Listers
Here’s my secret weapon for finding job leads (and now you can do it too): I have several private lists featuring nothing but people who Tweet links to job lists. There are so many bloggers who post jobs, and businesses and individuals who Tweet links to freelance writing jobs several times a day. By organizing them into one list I see all the job listers at a glance and this helps me cultivate job lists for you.
Twitter Lists to Narrow Your Focus
I wasn’t sure what to do with Twitter Lists at first. Now, I see they have many benefits. They allow me to narrow my focus.
I enjoy reading Tweets from all the people I follow. Having lists enable me to have a big follower list and still get the most out of all the individual Twitters. I maintain lists for social media friends, writing friends, personal friends, clients, potential clients, book publishers and agents, and so much more.
The beautiful part of Twitter lists is that I can make them private or public. I do choose to keep most of my lists private, but that’s because much of that information is used for blog posts and job lists and I like to have a little of an edge. When I make my intentions public, people tend to “borrow” my ideas. I also have a couple of public lists for fun stuff.
You can create or follow Twitter lists for your benefit as well. Think about all the people and places you’d like to write for and create lists so you can see if they might be hiring writers.
So many people write off a particular social media tool because they don’t get it. Instead of dismissing something you don’t understand, why not learn how it works and best use it to your advantage? I almost made this mistake with Twitter lists but I’m glad I gave it a second chance.
How do you use Twitter Lists?