I have a confession to make: I schedule my tweets. Well, most of them.
(I do reply in real-time, and occasionally I send an unscheduled tweet, but the majority of the articles I share are scheduled through HootSuite).
Yes, I know that Twitter is supposed to be a real-time microblogging social network. I know that there are things that may not be relevant by the time I tweet them, after scheduling some up to 2 weeks before. But really, I’ve thought this through, and I want to share my thinking with you so that you can decide if it’s something you might want to try, if you use Twitter and aren’t already scheduling some or all of those tweets.
Scheduling tweets saves time. I can find articles and write out a week’s worth of tweets at once, saving me from going through that process daily.
Plan exactly when to release the tweet. Right now, I schedule health and business-related tweets. This is especially helpful if you know when your tweets are most popular, so you can release them at the right times. It also helps your followers not to get a flood of tweets all at once. Tools like Tweriod and Buffer can also help (more about that later).
Don’t forget Follow Friday (#FF) again. I really like recommending people I enjoy following, and I like reading other people’s recommendations of who to follow. I also always seem to forget it’s Friday, and miss the opportunity to participate in #FF on the correct day. (Yes, I can and do recommend users to others, but for #FF, I like to recommend by category. Here’s an example of what I mean:
— Shelly Najjar (@ShellyNajjar) July 27, 2012
Scheduled tweets may be irrelevant by the time they’re tweeted. The person who got me interested in Twitter was Amy Duncan (@amydunc), who also told me she would never schedule tweets, because she was concerned that a scheduled tweet could be irrelevant or inappropriate by the time it was released. (At the time, she owned a news website, My Green Lake, which is now a part of EveryBlock Seattle, so this was extremely important. It may not matter as much if you are tweeting other info or random thoughts.)
Solution: Don’t plan too far ahead. I usually schedule one week’s worth of tweets. This seems to work well. If I need to schedule more than one week, I use things that aren’t time specific. For example, I won’t schedule something like “It’s a super sunny day! Try some watermelon to stay hydrated!” (because it might be rainy that day) or any news article with a date (because it will look outdated). Instead, I’ll schedule something like the tweet below:
— Shelly Najjar (@ShellyNajjar) August 6, 2012
Scheduling tweets takes chunks of time. It takes me about an hour to find one week’s worth of material to tweet. But, like the previous point, this will depend on what you’re tweeting. I mainly gather health-related info/articles to share, so this works for me. What do you tweet? Is it new info, blog posts, witty sayings? Those all will take different amounts of time. They also may not be available to schedule all at once. How many sayings can you come up with in the next hour? How many new blog posts will you have in that time? Those types of tweets may need to wait and be posted as you go.
Scheduling tweets removes the spontaneity of Twitter conversation.
Part of the fun of Twitter is the conversations you get to have with other users. It is social media, after all. Why would anyone want to schedule it and lose the natural feeling?
Solution: Don’t schedule @replies. Only schedule the things you are sending to the Twitterverse, not to one person (or even two people). Let conversation happen naturally, but allow yourself to schedule tweets containing article links that you want to share with everyone.
How I tweet
- Scheduled: tweets where I share health articles/info that others have written, plus some questions.
- Auto-tweeted: tweets sent automatically when I update my blogs.
- Real-time: everything else (@replies, DMs, most RTs, and things that come up randomly that I want to share)
- HootSuite This is the tool I use, after it was recommended to me by @MixedChicksChat. When I first joined, Twitter was great for mobile users, but I didn’t (and still don’t) have a smartphone, so I was stuck using the not-as-convenient web version. Hootsuite allowed me to view and send tweets in a way that made more sense to me. I didn’t schedule any tweets at first, but I just found it very convenient. Now, I know there are many other things that it can be used for, such as RSS reading, and, of course, scheduling!
- Tweriod This app analyzes your twitter followers and tells you when the you have the most exposure for your tweets. You can use this info to schedule your tweets, or use other services like Buffer and Timely to release tweets from a queue at ideal times.
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