How to Automatically Add People to Twitter Lists

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


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!


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