How To Use Twitter Lists To Grow Your Blog


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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: In my opinion, Twitter is hands-down the best blog-building tool out there, and every blogger should use it. Yes, it means you have to learn a new “thing,” and it’s best to create and follow a strategy to ease the learning curve and maximize your efforts. Check out my Twitter Tips post if you need a guide or a refresher.

Find your Twitter tribe
One of the Twitter strategies I share with my Blog Coach clients is to search out and support like-minded bloggers who are active on Twitter. This group will become your “tribe.” The goal is to find a handful of bloggers who have a more or less similar status to yours: a couple thousand Twitter followers and in the process of establishing and “maturing” their blogs, with content that will complement your own in some way, meaning similar or complementary topics. Find good writers who deserve and will welcome your support.

Again: Ideally, this group will 1) be actively growing their Twitter accounts, 2) post quality content on their blogs that will interest your own followers, and 3) will notice your support and – hopefully – reciprocate.

These are your “tribe” members – you don’t have to tell them that, of course, and you won’t ask them to help you or announce they’ve been chosen (sounds arrogant!). You show them by reading their posts, commenting when you can, and sharing links and blurbs across your social media platforms. They need to feel the same way about your blog, and if they do, they’ll demonstrate by supporting you, too. Give them time to notice you (a month or so?) If they don’t, you can still help them, but continue the search for bloggers who understand the power of mutual support and are willing to help you, too.

So where do Twitter lists come in?

Use Twitter lists to support your community
Wherever you are in your Twitter plan, once you have a few hundred Twitter followers you’ll find it difficult to “see” any individual’s tweets in your feed. That’s how it works: More followers = a better chance to grow traffic to your blog, and at the same time it makes it more difficult to track and support others.

Creating and monitoring Twitter lists is a great way to keep tabs on the (smaller) group of people you want to consistently support with retweets – especially of their blog posts, but also (once in a while) their book promos, links to pertinent posts they tweet for others, etc.

When you create a list and add a handful of people to it, you will see all their tweets – and only their tweets – each time you review that list, and you can RT right from the list itself. Here’s a link to Twitter’s help center and an article that describes how to create and add to Twitter lists and how to use them. FYI, it’s a great sign when others add your handle to their lists – they want to keep closer track of you. That’s exactly what you want.

That brings us to  … guest posts and interviews
Now to an off-topic subject: guest posts and interviews. Ideally, everything you do marketing-wise will mesh. For example, consider inviting “tribe” members to guest post or be the subject of an interview on your blog.

The goal is to invite guests and interviewees who have readers that will follow them to your blog. Vet them, check the popularity of their books and blogs, and if they have a positive rep and an established platform, invite ‘em on over to your place for a chat. This is another way to increase your own readership and subscribers.

Once you find a good candidate for a blog interview, check out their credentials and their blog’s Alexa rating to see if they have a solid following. If so, Eureka!

Traffic increases slowly at first. The more Twitter followers you have and the more followers who RT your blog links, the faster your traffic will grow. You might also include the hashtag #MondayBlogs in your Monday tweets. It’s a group share tactic that should gain you more RTs – you’ll also need to RT some of the people using the hashtag; it’s a “swap” tweets format. Check it out! For more info about Twitter hashtags, link here.

Triberr vs. Twitter lists
Tribe is a term I borrowed from Triberr, a platform designed for bloggers to form groups and RT each others’ blog post links. I believe this platform works best when you vet bloggers and form your own group, or check out a small, established group and vet their blogs and posts prior to joining. The idea is to be familiar with the folks in your Triberr group so you know the quality and frequency of their posts. You’re building trust with your Twitter followers, right? So you don’t want to be tweeting out a bunch of useless drivel.

I tried Triberr years ago and experienced a bit of the politics that can come with group membership. Eventually I decided it was more efficient for me to decide exactly who I wanted to support via RTs by pre-vetting their blogs, then use Twitter lists to watch for new posts and support my unofficial tribe members via tweets, Facebook, and other social media posts. Um, you can also subscribe to their blogs – the ultimate support.

Readers, what’s your favorite tool? What do you rely on to manage your personal tribes and support other bloggers? Please leave a comment and share!

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15 Responses to How To Use Twitter Lists To Grow Your Blog

  1. Carmen Amato March 31, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    Molly, a timely post. A few more ideas–when you create lists, add a good description. People who look at your profile can see the description and may decide to subscribe to your list. When someone does, send them a welcome tweet. By that same token, when you find someone of interest on Twitter, check their lists and if one looks promising subscribe to it and start connecting with that “tribe.” Also, when someone adds you to their lists, send them a thank-you tweet. People rarely do so and it will stand out when you do. Happy tweeting!

    • Molly Greene March 31, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

      Thanks, Carmen! Great ideas. I didn’t even touch on those subjects, thank you so much for adding value!

  2. Pamela Beason March 31, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    Oh, I SO need this information! (How can I still be so clueless about how to use the various tools of social media in combination? No, don’t answer that… I think it’s called multiple personality disorder. Or perhaps ADHD–is it possible to contract both at the same time? Perhaps it’s time to add a social media disorder to that psychiatric dictionary…)

    At any rate, I will attempt to utilize this most useful information from one of the most informative bloggers I know. Thanks for posting, Molly!

    • Molly Greene March 31, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

      Hahahaha! Pam, the truth is we’d all rather be writing. And I know you’d rather be hiking or kayaking or writing. It’s the pay-the-mortgage thing, it complicates everything!

  3. Belinda Pollard March 31, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    I’m with Pamela on the Social Media Disorder! We can abbreviate it to SMTDSLT (so much to do so little time). 😉

    But great tips as always Molly. Thanks for the reminder to be a little more deliberate about helping others on Twitter. I get too busy and get sporadic about it. Not good!

    Another way to see a select group of people is to create a separate stream on Hootsuite. I find it handy for seeing at a glance what different people are up to, and I can have multiple streams side by side across my computer window. (I usually tweet from my computer rather than phone.)

    • Molly Greene March 31, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

      Great point, Belinda – I forget about regular Hootsuite users. Unless I’m scheduling, I prefer to tweet in the Twitter interface. I like it better, and I focus better when I’m doing one thing at a time. Sounds like another disorder: OTAAT.

  4. Cindy April 1, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    I’ve got OTAAT, too, Molly. When I first joined Twitter I made some lists. I never look at them! I do know most of the people on the lists and check on them if I don’t see their tweets (I use “search” tool, easier than it sounds.) but I think I have internalized my tribe. It’s about a dozen people so maybe I should be adding more. Though that plus “connect” is about all I can handle. I’m learning how to spot those auto-RTs which I snub. If someone RTs a post or even a random witticism I’m happy to RT but not a specific reply made to someone who commented to me. This is the latest example of a useless RT “I didn’t know that, thanks.” Totally out of context. As always, loved your post, learned something.

    • Molly Greene April 1, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

      Ha! Thanks, Cindy, and I know what you mean about useless RTs. I always wonder why people do that … maybe it’s just a slip of the thumb, or something. I use “search” and have my tribe pretty much in my head now, too, so I know what you mean.

  5. cindy April 1, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    There is an auto-retweet! I think it fell out of favor, am not seeing it as much as a few weeks ago. I do like when people RT things I have RTed already, like links to a website or post I like.

    • Molly Greene April 1, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

      Cindy! You need to write a guest post sometime and tell us about the auto-RT process!

  6. cindy April 2, 2014 at 4:46 am #

    Hi Molly, I would love to do a guest post but all I know about the auto-RT process I can fit on one pinky finger. I know there’s a new tool Twitter users can apply so that if someone they designate tweets ANYTHING this tool will automatically RT it. So the tweep doesn’t have to log on and actually see what they are RTing. That “chore” is done. It’s all in how you look at RTs. Do you do 50 a day or 5? Is it always something you do as a reciprocal gesture, or do you weigh the value of the RT? I noticed a flurry of auto-RTs a month or so ago and now, not so much. You once said to take ongoing back and forth conversations to DM or email–if someone does that back and forth (I have been known to) and someone else’s auto-bot RTs it, it’s embarrassing and unhelpful. So, to sum up, take Molly’s advice & think before you tweet. You never know if some bot is going to randomly RT you. It’s happened to me. Often. Cringe.

  7. Norah April 4, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

    Thanks Molly. Great advice. Great comments too. I try to be careful about what I RT to ensure it fits with my online voice. I don’t like to tweet a link to a post without reading either for the same reason. Takes a while to read enough though! Have tweeted this one – just so you know!

    • Molly Greene April 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

      Thanks, Norah! I feel the same way about re-tweeting links, unless the link is from a person or blog I know to always publish high quality content. And I appreciate your support!

  8. prakash karki April 22, 2014 at 5:58 am #

    Hi Molly, I SO need this information! (How can I still be so clueless about how to use the various tools of social media in combination? No, don’t answer that… I think it’s called multiple personality disorder. Or perhaps ADHD–is it possible to contract both at the same time? Perhaps it’s time to add a social media disorder to that psychiatric dictionary…)

    At any rate, I will attempt to utilize this most useful information from one of the most informative bloggers I know. Thanks for posting, Molly!

    • Molly Greene April 22, 2014 at 8:45 am #

      Hi Prakash, and thanks! It takes time to incorporate all the things we need to learn about social media. I’m so happy if my posts help!