Social media users, both rookies and veterans, know that staying up to date and managing multiple social media accounts is a very difficult task, almost impossible at times. For some platforms, like Twitter, you may be connected to tens of thousands of people! Who in their right mind could keep up with everything going on with everyone they follow? Nobody! And that is just on Twitter. Imagine being active on Facebook and Google+ as well, trying to distribute unique content to each while attempting to engage and follow what people are posting is tough. How is it even possible to stay organized on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook? Luckily, for users, each social network offers a way to group your connections and accounts you follow into categories. These include Twitter Lists, Google+ Circles and Facebook Interests.
By organizing people and accounts into categories, you’ll be able to filter out much of the noise so you can still follow along with the things you find important. Hootsuite is a great tool to help view multiple social networks in the same place. It’s a social media management platform to help you manage your accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. Hootsuite also allows you to sync up certain social media accounts and create running streams for each tab. Streams can include your Twitter Lists or @ mentions, Facebook keyword search, etc. Currently, you can only view streams for Twitter Lists, but not Interests or Circles. For some more help on Hootsuite, check here. Below is a brief explanation how to create and use Lists, Circles and Interests.
Some Twitter users follow 500, 10K, even 100K people. Following a high number of users makes it practically impossible to scroll through the stream to find relevant content. Twitter Lists offer a bit of refuge from the clutter. By clicking on your profile page, on the left side is a tab for Lists. Once there, you can view lists you’ve created, subscribed to, or are apart of. Learn to create Lists here. Organize them any way you’d like, by location, company or similar interests. You don’t have to be following people to add them to a list, although they are alerted once added. One thing I don’t like about Lists are the limits Twitter places on users. Each user can create a max of 20 lists of 500 or less people.
You may be wondering how you can create Lists for the thousands of people you are connected to, without it taking an entire lifetime. There are two amazing tools to use to help manage your Lists. Twitlistmanager is by far my favorite List manager. It allows you to view your followers in a long list (like a spreadsheet) that includes Lists you’ve created and easily select large numbers of people to add to Lists at one time. Socialbro also offers a more in-depth way to create and manage Lists. You can search Twitter, with the numerous filters Socialbro offers, and add people to lists in a very simple manner. If you’d like to search for Lists to subscribe to, or even submit Lists you’ve created, check out Listorious. Here you can find Lists that are the most popular or even by category. All of these tools are great ways to find new connections and build your network.
Google+ Circles work slightly different than Lists. Here, you can choose which Circles can view your G+ posts, whereas with Twitter, everyone can see your tweets. Remember, when you follow an entire Circle, you automatically follow everyone in that Circle as well, not so for Twitter Lists. Each G+ user begins with 5 default Circles, but you can easily edit them as you wish. Head to your G+ page and click Circles, and there you can manage your Circles any way you’d like. You can only follow a maximum of 5,000 users and when you “share” Circles, you can only share a max of 500 users in each.
There are many tools to help manage your Circles, including numerous Chrome apps. I enjoy using the unofficial G+ directory, FindPeopleonPlus, to find users through specific filters. This tool also allows you to view which of your Twitter and LinkedIn connections are on Google Plus. Another great resource to search for users is “Recommended Users“, also a few Circles to follow. Here is a small list of tools for Circle management, profile analytics and G+ influencers.
Facebook Lists and Interests are basically the same thing, but Lists are private and Interests are public. Lists allow you to group your friends, Pages and subscriptions by categories such as Close Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Restricted or whatever you feel. Like Google Plus Circles, you also have the opportunity to share your posts to the public, lists you choose or all of your friends. On your main page, on the left side click “More”, where it says “Friends”, and you can edit your Lists. By clicking on any of the Lists created, you’ll only be able to see posts by accounts you’ve designated for that List. I like this option because you can see posts by people you’ll never see flash through your News Feed.
Facebook Interests work the same way, but are public. Instead of creating lists of your friends (typically) you are creating lists of accounts you’ve subscribed to, friends or Pages you’ve “liked”. Here is an example of an Interest List I’ve subscribed to. Another example, as a job seeker, I’m working on a list that includes job accounts and companies I’d like to work for. On the left side column of your homepage click “More”, where it says “Interests”, and you can edit your lists there. Most people create lists by a category, but you have fun and be creative. Tip: You don’t have to “Like” the Pages you add to your Interest Lists, which can give you more free reign with your creativity.
And there you go. With the craziness that is social media, I hope these tips and tools can help you organize your connections. It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of utilizing Lists, but once you do, you’ll wonder what took you so long to do this.