My dirty little Twitter secret, and why it works

by Alexa on April 14, 2010

I have a dirty little Twitter secret to share with you:

I often schedule my tweets.

Ok, maybe not as dirty as you were hoping. Moreover, please don’t confuse with AUTOMATING tweets, like those insincere DMs (Direct Messages) you receive when you start following certain individuals that proclaim “Hey, Rock Star Ninja! Can’t wait to see what you’re tweeting and how you roll!”

Ugh.

No, I’m talking about using a service which allows me to set the time at which the tweet will be released on the world.*

I have four reasons why I like scheduling my tweets:

  1. Customer service: respecting my audience’s schedule. The first thing I do in the morning is read all the amazing blog emails and RSS feeds to which I subscribe. I love Twitter for giving me the ability to share great reads. If I weren’t able to schedule what I share, however, all this awesome content would go out at 7 am when a North American audience is either still sleeping or so busy doing their own blog reading that they’d miss my tweets.
  2. Organization: grouping tweets around themes. As I read my morning posts I cannot predict what’s coming next. Scheduling tweets allows me to group related tweets for sending even though I read the articles at different times.  It also allows me to intersperse my “famous” #TXFTF tweets (in which I thank and give my new followers an “@” mention) in between tweets with links.
  3. Consistency: content delivery is predictable. I generally schedule my tweets around the top of the hour, starting with 4 pm ET, then 3 pm ET, and 5 pm ET.  Sometimes I’ll do it around 2 pm, and if it’s a share-heavy day I’ll dip into 4:30 pm. Anyone who follows me closely will pick up on this pattern and know when to expect content.
  4. Minimize regret: you can go back and edit. Have you ever suddenly noticed you had a typo in your tweet… one nanosecond after you’ve sent it?  Scheduling makes it easier for me to catch and correct errors. I even get the option of second thought and can delete a tweet before it goes out.

This system does not mean I don’t notice or respond to tweets mentioning @alexasamuels (that’s why I love Tweetdeck – it quietly flags me when this happens) or that I ignore Twitter for the rest of the day.  Scheduling just allows me – and my audience – to have a richer experience.

What do you think? Do you schedule tweets? Why or why not?

*Hootsuite has built-in scheduling, but I like socialoomph because it works with my preferred URL (web site address) shortener, bit.ly, and because it sends me a few emails a day capturing tweets mentioning my key words. And because the developer is human, and occasionally sends his subscribers very human and helpful messages.  For an excellent review of Hootsuite, I refer you to Kristi Hines’ post at Kikolani.com.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ching Ya April 15, 2010 at 7:59 am

A very amusing title and I enjoyed your post, Alexa. :-) From the way you describe I understand how scheduling is working out fine for you. I do schedule my tweets occasionally during offline hours but mainly to promote friend’s articles or thank people for their mentions. Scheduling is fine if you moderate the quantity. Normally how many tweets you sent between scheduling hours?

@wchingya
Social/Blogging Tracker

2 Alexa April 15, 2010 at 8:45 am

Ching Ya, thank you for your comment. (I love your site, BTW.) I am thrilled you found me all the way from Malaysia (KL?). Welcome!

The number of tweets I schedule will vary on how much I consider worth sharing, but if I had to guess I’d say about 10 tweets a day, and not every day. What do you think would be too many?

3 Ching Ya April 15, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Alexa,
10 per day sounds good. :-) I keep mine around there as well. I’m from Sarawak actually (in Borneo Island). Appreciate you liking my site, hope the bluebird didn’t scare you off, ha… I notice you can speak a lot of languages which is fantastic. It’s really a pleasure to meet you. Will be seeing you around Twitter.

4 Alexa April 15, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Sarawak, cool! I’ve been to Langkawi. Beautiful place. Terima kasih!

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