How to Automatically Add People to Twitter Lists

[alert-note]Update: As of February 07, 2017 this no longer works. IFTTT has removed the “Add user to list” action from applets.[/alert-note]


So I’m not a big fan out too much automation when it comes to social media, but there are times when it can be useful and save you a lot of time. Below is a little trick I use to help generate new leads and brand recognition on Twitter without having to do any work, and it runs 24/7. I am talking about using Twitter lists.

Twitter lists are often underused, but can be a great way to raise awareness for your brand, blog or SaaS.

marketing automation
Image Src: Heinz Marketing

Twitter List Example

So at my job with KeyCDN we have an image optimization plugin called Optimus. So I decided to set up a list and anyone that tweets #WordPress would be added to my list. Why is this important? The main reason for doing this is because whenever you add someone to a list they are notified. Below is an example of what the user sees when they have been added to a list. (this example was taken from Tweetdeck)

twitter list add

Now more often than not this can spark a curiosity with the person as they suddenly feel important that you added them to a list. And so there is a chance they will click into your list to see what it is. I would advise getting creative with your list names, as this could drastically affect your CTRs. My list name probably could be better to be honest. Note: List names cannot exceed 25 characters and cannot begin with a numerical character.

The next part is what the user sees when they click into your list, and I’m talking about the list description. Again, get creative with this. In my example below, I let the user know exactly what the SaaS product is, the URL, and that we love WordPress! Unfortunately you cannot include clickable URLs, but trust me, if you catch the user’s interest, they will copy and paste it. Note: List descriptions are limited to 99 characters.

twitter list description

And guess what? After 20 minutes of implementing the Twitter list automation, I was tweeted back by someone (see tweet below). So I know they saw it and took interest in it.

Automatically Add People to Twitter Lists – Setup

Setting up the process to automatically add people to a Twitter list is actually quite easy.

Step 1

The first step is to create your Twitter List. Simply login to Twitter and go to Then click “Create new list.”

twitter create new list

Step 2

Then as I showed you before, use a creative list name and creative list description. Confirm that your list is set to “Public” and click on “Save list.”

twitter list creation

Step 3

Now we are going to go over to IFTTT. If you aren’t familiar with IFTTT it is simply a free service which allows you to create connections between the products you use every day. I have already published a recipe you can use, see below. Click “Add” on my recipe and login to IFTTT.

IFTTT Recipe: Auto Add People to Twitter List connects twitter to twitter

Step 4

There are two things you will need to edit in the recipe to make it unique to your situation. You will need to pick a hashtag. So if you are targeting people tweeting #WordPress, add #WordPress into the “Search for” box. Then in the “List name” box you need to enter the exact name of the list you created over at Twitter in Step 2. Remember, the name must match exactly for it to automatically add people to the list you previously created. Then click “Add.”

ifttt twitter list

And that’s it! Your IFTTT recipe should now be running and it will automatically add people to your Twitter list. Under your IFTTT recipe dashboard you can see the history of your recipe and how many times it has run.

Add People to Twitter Lists history

One last thing to keep in mind is that Twitter lists cannot exceed 5,000 members. So depending upon how popular your hashtag is, you might have to periodically delete your list and re-create it for the automation to keep running. Go ahead and try this trick above, you have nothing to lose.

If this tutorial on how to automatically add people to Twitter lists was helpful, please let me know below!

Brian Jackson

I craft actionable content and develop performance-driven WordPress plugins. Connect on Twitter or subscribe to my newsletter (twice a month, no spam).

9 thoughts on “How to Automatically Add People to Twitter Lists”

  1. Hi Brian

    I was trying to leave a comment on the page, but something goes wrong everytime I try, instead I’ll leave a comment about the above webpage here, hoping it will work (cant findt your email, so this must be the only way to get in contact).

    I was trying to add Adams code to my functions.php file, but I get a

    “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘as’ (T_AS) in /var/www/ on line 81”

    Really sad, because I’ve been looking for a way to track the conversion rate for each of the 3 products sold. Perhaps the code is not working with the newest version of wordpress woocommerce?

    Is there another way to track the conversion for each of my products?

    Looking forward to hear from you.



  2. Hey Brian,

    Brilliant! Another ‘must do, must have’ snippet of knowledge from you. Reading your blog is a growth hacking master class every-time. :)

  3. Hey Brian,

    Thanks for putting this up, really appreciate it.

    I am not new to this, I actually implemented this practice two years ago, also using IFTTT.

    Recently, a friend of mine told me that I have added them to the same list a number of times.

    With that, do you know of a way to ensure we do not add someone who we have already added to a list.

    Let me know your thoughts.


  4. Thanks for this post – it is EXACTLY what I was looking for…but the thing is, it isn’t working for me! Whenever I click on your recipe link, it takes me to the IFTTT homepage and when I search anything on this specific task (automating list via Applet/recipe on IFTTT), the links always just take me to the homepage! I tried recreating the Applet myself and could not find the Trigger for Twitter lists. Did they remove this function?? I will be so sad!!

    • So sorry, I just updated the post. As of February 7th, 2017 they no longer support the ability to add people to lists with applets :(

      • SUCH a bummer! Let me know if you find an alternative. I spent hours pruning through Google searches and haven’t found anything. Too bad – adding people one by one is tedious!


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