As we know to get the best out of who we follow on Twitter we need to ask ourselves who are the most informative and inspiring people, who is tweeting about what we need and want to know, who is likely to follow us, who is our target audience, who are other people in our industry following and so on – all those other lovely questions that we begin to ask ourselves when we realise the power of Twitter. Dedicated Twitter lists is a bit like networking on speed as they provide us with a few extra tools to expand our networks at a fantastic rate. Hopefully we won’t get too addicted! For me looking for useful contacts for our luxury women’s wear some of these look to be particularly promising – and some have produced some interesting results already. The thing to bear in mind with any of these tools – they are all in their infancy. They WILL become more sophisticated and they WILL become more complicated too (although probably easier to use – hopefully). Everything is in development, so the sooner that we understand them the better. You can find useful lists to follow, set up your own Twitter lists as well as use Twitter lists to promote you and what you do. They can be used as a filing system so that you can distinguish which Twitter users are connected with which interest and/or you can use them to enhance your reputation. There are secondary applications and tools that you can use in conjunction with Twitter but I at the moment I am finding Listorious the most useful but no doubt this will change. Please note that this is my own personal experience. No doubt others will have plenty of wisdom to add and if you do a search in Google you will probably find a whole plethora of geeks and gurus all offering their advice on what works and what doesn’t.

Using Twitter lists to find the people we want before fine tuning our search for the great information sources and the people who will want to know about us.

If we ask ourselves questions about the significant people in the offline world:

Who are the movers and shakers in our industry?
Who are the ones doing the most interesting things?
Who are the ones talking the most about what is happening in our sector?
Who are the key players?
Which of those key players have a presence on Twitter?
Who do we want to hear our message?

There are the innovators and inventors, the doers, and then there are the reporters who tell the rest of the world what the others are talking about, doing and inventing. There are also the supporters, students and apprentices who are a part of that network. And then there is the fantasy crowd – the ones who aspire to be someone bigger than they are now. They are the people with passion because they dreams of something more and you can capitalise on that passion and drive. We need to ask ourselves who these people are and find them online. Twitter lists are brilliant tools for doing this. Whilst I am fully aware that not all sectors have yet got to grips with this yet – so if you work in a more obscure speciality business then I am sorry but you are going to have to wait until they catch up. smile

As we know many established tweeters have a huge following. Far too difficult for us to get a message across to them and this is why you need to find the secondary people who can either influence the influencers or who will become the influencers of tomorrow. Many of the big guys have plenty of lesser know colleagues or lesser known assistants. They might not have a great following and they do not necessarily have a huge understanding of how the whole Twitter thing works – but you can use that to your advantage. They are not at that point where the noise is too loud that they zone out. Instead they are perhaps a bit more open to responding to you responding to them. That is the start of the conversation – which can lead you ……. to all sorts of interesting places and who knows they might even be productive and profitable.

Now is the time to interact. Not tomorrow or next month – You have to do it NOW! If you prevaricate too long you will miss THE WAVE and your chance of reaching out to the people you need will be increasingly difficult ……..If it hasn’t hit your industry yet – IT WILL!

I know that I need to connect with editors and writers who will want to tell our story to a wider audience. These days the fashion editors, journalists and writers are bombarded with hundreds of ‘sales’ messages every day and they have learnt to filter out the noise by getting their staff to just say ‘NO’ or more simply they will act as if you have never existed and ignore you completely! Unless you are already very well known and liked you are unlikely to get their attention easily. However, with many new people adopting social networking tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and all the other social media sites our chances of being heard are greatly increased. Now is the time to act. If you know who you are looking for then you stand a much better chance of making a connection with these hard-to-reach people. You only need to know a few crucial details and you can track them down. Twitter lists can help with this. People will file their friends and colleagues into their own lists and others who know who is who will also put significant and influential contacts into pertinent lists. Not every single one is going to be accurate but if you watch them carefully then you will be able to tell who are the real players and who are not. Only you can decide what is authentic and what is not. If you know your industry then you are a step ahead of those who are coming to this for the first time. Don’t presume to know – keep an open mind. It is surprising how liberated even some of the most influential people will be on these sites – they may use a different voice to the one that is embalmed in hard copy print elsewhere. Reading the biographical introductions, looking at lists, listening in on conversations, watching tweets will all help you to gauge who is worthy of investigating further. Follow your nose and your instinct – there are lots of gems to discover out there.

How I found a pile of fashion journalists, press contacts, media contacts, on Twitter using Twitter lists without having to pay a bean for a Press List

Hilary Alexander – one of the iconic fashion journalists of our time. As of today she has around 12,500 followers but is following considerably less than 1000 – so it is highly unlikely that she will follow me (well she might as we have known her for a while) and with that many followers the chances of her picking up a @reply are pretty slim. BUT I may be able to find her assistants. Hilary is on over 460 lists – and by scanning those I can quickly determine a few that could give me what I am looking for. It is the smaller specialist’s and specialist lists that I am seeking – not the mass market ones. I have a particular need to find people who understand the luxury niche market so it does make it easier to find valuable connections and to follow a trail precisely because it is a niche market.

Hilary Alexander is on one or two lists that are worth checking out – for example these few I have linked to here.

LouboutinWorld > Media list Follows 32 press contacts and publications. As Louboutin are at the luxury end of the fashion market then they are likely to be relevant to me. Looking at the lists that these contacts are on are likely to be of interest too.

NY Daily News > Fashion News has some lesser known people (to me) – but obviously still well connected. When you look at the creator of this list you can see other lists that could be useful. – as an example is a list of editors – probably not fashion specific although they do include fashion editors. If you look at the names of these people – there is no way that you would have been able to find all of them easily. Not every journalist has a twitter button on their profile page – and some of the handles they choose are pretty obscure!

Hilary is also on Anna Grigorian’s magazine list – she is a couture designer in the Netherlands. The chances are that as she is talking about herself as being a couture designer she could well be interested in the same journalists as myself. So this small list of just 45 people is likely to be of particular use to me.

FeFraser’s lists look particularly interesting. They are small lists and she has filed things under easy to understand labels. Hilary Alexander is on her fabulous-journos list which would suggest that the other people on this list are also fabulous journalists worth watching to see if they are of the same calibre as Hilary herself.

NoaLeijdesdorff has a list labelled My Fashion Friends – which suggests something much more intimate than just being a follower or fan although it might be that she is in fantasy world emulating a career that she wants to embark on once she has left college. There are the possibilities of finding a stalker and plenty of fanatics – but if you watch the conversations then you can perhaps get a gauge of how genuine the relationships are. As her fashion friends consist of just 20 people and Hilary Alexander is one of them, then this is one to definitely investigate. Checking out her blog endorses the fact that she could well be a genuine friend of these people. Only you can tell whether people like this are real or not – might be worth creating a ‘worth-watching’ list until you find out for sure.

FrankieHales This one might be more closely connected than Noa above has implied. Her list of 19 fashion journalists are then perhaps more likely to be important.

Realisation – you can find lots and lots more through studying Twitter Lists. How studying fashion editor’s lists led me to find something else I need – fashion bloggers and image consultants.

What was interesting was the fact that in seeking out journalists through Twitter Lists, I stumbled upon other lists that I was also interested in. I realised that I could find the more obscure but perhaps the more useful contacts that would serve my needs for promoting our new online luxury fashion shop. For example, I need to connect with quality fashion bloggers and image consultants who can play a part in spreading the word about our luxury fashionable women’s wear. Yes I can do a search in Google but unless they have really super hot SEO and lots of followers on their site then I am not necessarily going to find the best for me. Trawling through hundreds of blogs would take months – using Twitter lists has helped me watch several of these people to see who is likely to be the most approachable and appropriate. This has alone saved me hours of research time as someone else has done the work for me already.

Find your target audience and LOOK AFTER them.

What are your customers likely to be talking about? What are they looking for? Track down people who are discussing things that are related to what you are wanting to sell. File them into lists which are pertinent to the topic – they may well be curious as to why you are curious about them so consequently they may start to follow you or your list. Especially if you @reply to them with something wonderful to make their day.

For me luxury customers might be talking about Dom Perignon, other fashion designers of the same price band as us, artists, gourmet food, luxury travel, chartering yachts, jets and helicopters. Put them in a list as having a common interest might encourage further interaction. Research the things that they are talking about. Put all the resources into lists with these titles your customers will begin to see you as a resource for other really useful things. So get into the head of your customer – be their friend – and they will befriend you as they see you a valuable resource of information that would take them forever to find themselves particularly if they are new to the Twitter game.

Twitter lists – allows you to follow lots and lots of people getting past first level restrictions. All sorted into neat lists categorised into topics of curiosity and interest.

You can only follow 2,000 people before the barriers kick in. After that you have to have aim to get the number of followers and fans as near to being equal as you can – unless you are popular as someone like Steven Fry in which case you won’t have that problem as everyone wants to follow you anyway. However, you can get past the Twitter restrictions of only being able to follow so many more people than are following you by using the Twitter lists. I regularly go through my lists of people I follow using “Friend or Follow” and I Unfollow all those people who are no longer following me. However, if they are particularly interesting and I really want to follow them, then I can file them into one of my lists. But be warned though – you can only have 20 lists with 500 in each. So there are limits. A good reason to think carefully about how you use categorise them.

Put yourself on your Twitter Lists – increase your Brand exposure

The ones that are relevant of course. If you put yourself on your own lists and you promote your lists to a wider audience and other people promote your lists then soon you will become a familiar face to a much wider audience than just your own little network. You could find that people will follow your list but not follow you. So if you are on the list then they will still see your tweets increasing your chances of capturing their attention.

Twitter Lists means that someone has probably done all the research for you already – if they haven’t then become the leader in your field.

If you are lucky and you are working in an industry that has a strong presence on the social networking sites then you could find that the most interesting people are already filed into brilliantly fine tuned lists. Take Social Media, technology and social networking for example – look at these guys who obviously know their stuff about who’s who. Twitter is a social networking site so the industry leaders are going to be the ones who understand the mechanics behind the scenes. If you watch how they do things then you will get a pretty good idea of what is going to follow in every other sector and niche in existence.
Social MediaSocial Networking Technology

IF THEY HAVEN’T DONE THIS RESEARCH – then this is another advantage for you. YOU can become the industry leader – perhaps only for a while until others in your field catch on but there is nothing like being given a head start for getting people to notice you and who you are. It will certainly not harm your brand image.

Become a known curator for useful and informative lists to follow – this is the beginning of my journey as a curator of twitter lists.

Listorious will allow you to add your lists to the main directory. You can add a description and tags which will help your list of people to be found by others. If you keep your lists clean and pertinent to particularly relevant topics then others will follow your lists. Not only that but they can recommend your lists to other Twitter users using the “Recommendation” tool – which some will do as a way of promoting themselves – but that’s cool because they are promoting you too. Listorious also allows you to tweet your list to your followers – same goes for other people – and that means going viral – others can tweet your interesting lists too. They can visit your Listorious page and tell the world about how great it is.

Use Keyword tags:- Add as many useful key word tags as you can – target the popular, relevant AND some niche marketing ones to increase your chances of being found. You might not get to the top of the list with the popular tags but you will with the more unusual ones.
Get creative with Listorious twitter list names:- Don’t make the mistake that I made. I call my Twitter lists by simple one word easy to understand names knowing full well that people will better comprehend what my lists are about. BUT when I then imported them into Listorious I didn’t realise that I could get creative with the names of the lists which in effect becomes a sales message to encourage other people to follow your lists. So my list of Fashion2 is pretty dull and boring. I haven’t as yet figured a way to change that – but I am working on it.
Write you description carefully to entice people to follow:- Listorious list descriptions are another way to invite people into your network – use it wisely.

Most importantly, I would advise that you keep your lists clean. Fine tune, polish, give them a bit of attention. If you find that someone is not as cool as you thought – get them out. Make the list as much an honest representation of what you are wanting to promote and talk about as you can. There will come a time when the smaller specialist lists that are especially pertinent will be the ones that will get the most followers. Look at the examples of the social media crowd and you will probably get an idea of what I mean.

Don’t forget to add yourself to those lists – your brand will stand a better chance of becoming viral if you do this.

Twitter Twibe Lists and don’t forget to Add yourself

I haven’t fully explored the full potential of Twibe Twitter Lists but they have been very useful for cross referencing. It is a different beast to Listorious – and as yet I haven’t explored enough of it to be able to really assess its place yet. Given enough time of course and I am sure that I will find out. However, please note – I AM WATCHING IT.

When I added myself to four lists – arts, fashion, marketing and ecademy – the number of lists I started to appear on went from 31 to 89 in just two days. That I find interesting – and no doubt there will be further repercussions on this over time. After just another day and adding myself to another couple of lists – that number has gone up to over 120. As yet I am not sure whether it is because people think that I know what I am doing or whether I have just been scooped up in a net of other similar tweeters. When I find out – I will let you know.

Think of who you can support in your networks – the chances are they may well support you by promoting you. For example this is how I would promote Ecademy.

Create an Ecademy Twitter list of your Ecademy contacts and then submit them to Listorious with the keyword tag “Ecademy” and we can get others to join us in this fabulous community. At the moment it does not appear in the most popular tags but if enough of us used it then perhaps we could get it there?

Promote Ecademy on Twibes too
– Look at me as of 22nd January I am number 1 in this list – and the most influential! Yay! I wonder how long that will last? Well, seeing as I am the only one on that list – probably not very long!

Lastly – REMEMBER your FOCUS! What results do you want to achieve?

We can get seriously lost following these trails and waste HUGE amounts of time. I strongly recommend that you literally only spend a few minutes – regularly – just following your instinct with a clear premise in your mind. It is vital to keep in mind your goal of finding people who are REALLY useful – not people that you can find a use for if you might happen to possibly strike up a conversation with them – I mean REALLY useful people. You are more likely to stumble upon the surprises and the influencers who will make an impact on what you are doing.
As with all social media marketing and social media networking – be honest, retain integrity and be real. The ones full of flab, waffle and nonsense will not stand the test of time. You are far more likely to get retweeted, followed and added if you are a real person with a genuine story to tell. As will all technology advice – EVERYTHING should be viewed as a work in progress. Everything is a moveable feast, no one person is an expert, different people will see different things and sometimes it may take more than one look to really understand what is going on. Finding out what is true for you is the only way to go forward.

Good luck and happy tweeting smile

[EDIT: And I very nearly forgot to make the most important point of all. Whilst there may seem to be a lot to absorb here – THE most important ingredient to consider in all this is serendipity. If you can understand the essence of the power behind tools like Twitter and Twitter lists – then you can then begin to understand the power of what might be possible. It just takes an open mind, trust your instinct and keep an open door to possibilities and opportunities that you might not have originally thought of before. Allow Serendipity to play a part, maybe even take control – don’t work too hard at trying to understand it all – just know that it is much broader than we will ever be able to comprehend.

There I feel better now for adding that – I knew that I had forgotten something!]

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