Make Twitter “Sing Like a Canary”: Using Twitter Lists For Business Intelligence

Writing this post has been exceedingly difficult. During research, my mind was continuously swept off course by interesting links, Twitter profiles and conversations. The bite-sized info-chunks make for compelling reading.

For those who believe Twitter has long since been a contaminated datastream, polluted with inane opinions and spamvertising, they’re only half right. Twitter CAN be a vacuous waste of time, and it can be an incredible source of business intelligence, current news, trends, celebrity gossip – pick your poison. It is both.


The quality of your Twitter experience and it’s usefulness to you relies almost wholly on who you listen to. If every time you glance at your Twitter stream, you wince, it’s because you’re not following people that are aligned with your interests.

Mind you, you don’t need to follow a single person to benefit from what Twitter has to offer. You don’t need to visit either as smartphone users can tweet via third party applications. You can even have a cherry picked list of your favorite Tweeters delivered via email, so you can read/scan it anywhere. More on that later.

Yes, the feature I’m talking about is Twitter lists, and we’re going to use it for Business Intelligence in the Manufacturing sector.

Lists allow users to organize “Tweeple” (Twitter parlance for other Twitter users) into various groups, associations or categories. For example, aspiring chefs might compile a list of their favorite celebrity chefs who are tweeters. Another list could be classmates he went to Chef School with, and yet another list of food and beverage retailers who tweet their daily specials. The number of categories are only limited by the creativity of the list builder.

For manufacturing, the categories would be vastly different and equally unlimited. Depending on your market and your own position in the company, your lists might include competitors, suppliers, management philosophies or manufacturing news. Whatever you want to learn more about or stay on top of, you’ll likely find it.


So, let’s imagine you are compiling a list of top B2B salespeople. You could start with someone who you’re already following and datamine the person’s lists. You can also view that person’s favorite tweets by going to their Twitter page and clicking the Favorites tab. See any Tweeters who have been favorited frequently? If so, they are prime candidates to include on your list and/or follow. You can even subscribe to the lists they built.

Don’t know who to follow? Then head over to Listorious, a popular Twitter people search on the web where you can find anyone by topic, region or profession. Here you will easily find quality Tweeters to build your list with.

Personally, as I continue to prune my lists, finding new ones, spelunking into the vast abyss of information, I am humbled with how smart people some people are and how much there is for me to learn (about any topic). I am also often sleep deprived because reading the tweets of these thought leaders is more addictive than crack cocaine. It’s the freshest, hottest information in the world regularly delivered to my email.

So how do you have the lists emailed to you? I use and recommend, a simple yet robust web service that enables you to create custom email alerts for tweets, mentions of your brand or an industry keyword, Twitter lists, and Twitter searches – and have them delivered automatically to your inbox. Monthly subscriptions start at only $2.99 (I have no affiliation with this service, I’m only a happy user).


There are other web services that interface nicely with Twitter and can be of use to your business. Twitter’s direct message feature work with cutting edge package tracking services like TrackThis, which will notify you via DM when your UPS, Fedex, USPS, DHL package is in motion.

A final word of warning: Leveraging this constant stream of choice industry related data is competitively advantageous, but the stream can be more like a firehose. Tweetymail makes it easy to turn it off as well.

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