Is Tweet Scheduling Mainstream Now?

Yes, yes, I know, Joel and me are running a Tweet Scheduling App, so the answer to the above question might be well anticipated.

Yet this post is about to drift off in a quite different direction. I want to share my thoughts with you about how perception of using optimization or automation on Twitter changed.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/marketingwizdom/status/60088402967666688?]

This quote from Robert Clay, someone I truly respect for his fine thoughts on Social Media and Marketing triggered me to write this post as it was something itching me for some time.

Regardless of which tool we are talking about here (of course if you use Buffer, that’s awesome ? I found the line “even those who until now resisted all automation” extremely interesting.

Is the mood changing?

When Twitter started out, Tweet Scheduling was an absolute no-no. Back then when absolutely everyone was expecting real time responses on Twitter, a scheduled tweet felt like being deceived with an auto-message – I am guessing (I wasn’t there back then, maybe you were?).

As the service matured, views have become more moderate and Tweet Scheduling is becoming more and more accepted, yet even encouraged. Especially in the past year I found after reading multiple posts on reputable Social Media blogs.

What is Tweet Scheduling?

I hope this question is not too silly to ask. What I mean is, what is the true nature of our intention when we schedule a tweet?

In my case I have always a few tweets scheduled at any given day of the week. I usually write a few tweets on a Sunday evening and then throw them in my Buffer. Gradually I got the feeling that the tweets I scheduled are better tweets than my more instantaneous content tweets. My measurement for this is clicks and RTs.

My guess is that I am writing them when I am focused on finding and producing great content. Similar to blogging, a greater focus on writing these Tweets brings the quality up naturally.

Hold the balance!

Another fine thinker in that field is my good friend Dino Dogan. He himself gathered a lot of experience with this topic not least because of his own smart service called Triberr for Twitter.

His words “It’s all about moderation” hit the nail on the head I believe. If we can strike a good balance between great content tweets, which might be scheduled and instantaneous, engaging tweets, I feel it is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

How about you? Is scheduling some tweets making your own tweets better too? Or should we differentiate “good” and “bad” scheduled tweets.

I would really appreciate your input on this topic, let’s discuss it below.

15 Comments

  1. Thomas Frank

    I’ve never had a problem with scheduled tweet (which is why I’m a voracious Buffer user) – I just think that, like you said, your actual engagement with followers should be done in real time. Twitter is both a chat room and a billboard – my scheduled tweets are all billboard.

  2. Alex Ristea

    I’m a big fan of scheduling, and just like you Joel, I’ve seen the results.  It all stems from how few of your followers are online when you are.  By spreading the tweets out, you’re sure to hit a larger variety of your followers.

    I also think it’s important to do both.  Once you schedule your tweets for the day, so at least you’re covered, you have the rest of the time to engage and interact.  You can @reply and post instantaneous things.  I like to have scheduled tweets (which are a mix of my own content, RTs, and other things anyways), and use other times when I can get on twitter to join the conversation.

  3. Nathan, thanks for your comment, it’s really good to see you here!

    Oh yes, absolutely. In that case scheduling a few tweets is really needed, glad you are using Buffer for it!

    Yep, definitely, once the engagement happens you are there and can respond in real time, I think that is a really good strategy!

  4. The timezone issue is big for me, since I am in Asia but most of my followers are in North America. I have to schedule my sharing tweets at times when I am not awake but my audience is. That’s why Buffer meets my needs so well.

    As far as engagement and being personal with the replies and the retweets, I can do that when I am awake.

  5. Steven De Costa

    No worries – ended up using my comment in a blog post today. I figured the experience might be handy for others thinking about how to better manage their experience with twitter.

    I sent you a DM via twitter too, so get back to me on that when you have a sec.

    Cheers,
    Steven

  6. Steven, what can I say? This is one of the most amazing comments I ever received after any blogpost I have written.

    First off, it is such an encouragement, that Buffer is so useful for you. I can totally understand how it makes your life easier, whilst holding your baby in one arm and only having to click the buffer icon to add tweets.

    Yes, it is absolutely our goal that more people are now able to tweet consistently, even if they aren’t “Power users” being able to spend lots of time on Twitter.

    Same here I am on Tweetdeck too and it is just like you say, combining the two has worked really well for me too! 🙂

    Indeed, I have once written a post distinguishing the two where I pointed out there is “automation” and “optimisation” on Twitter. In case your tweets remain genuine and are just scheduled I think one is safely on the human side of things, just like you say.

    Yes absolutely. We really try to encourage users to do so. If you Buffer tweets all day long and aren’t around this is definitely not something your followers would appreciate.

    It is indeed a great example Steven and it is really what makes life so enjoyable whilst working on Buffer: Meeting great people like yourself on the way, where we can create deeper and meaningful connectinos.

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to wording out your thoughts at such length and with such kind words too! 🙂

    I hope we will speak some more soon Steven, wish you all the best for your wife and your 2 children! 🙂

  7. Steven De Costa

    I just started using Buffer after my wife and I had our second child. It makes it easy to browse and post interesting articles while I’m up with the baby. I don’t expect the people following me to be up at 3am and I can’t really make the time to tweet too much during business hours. Buffer is a great way to ‘normalise’ the stream of tweets and helps me to present a consistent profile online.

    I do use TweetDeck, but the two key benefits of Buffer are in-page tweeting and hands free scheduling. Its a neat app but more than that it has made it possible for me to authentically participate in, and share insights on, the topics that interest me.

    I have found that people don’t mind that the majority of my tweets are scheduled so long as it is clear that they are ‘my’ tweets and that I also have an immediate presence on twitter from time to time.

    The flip side for those considering buffer, or any other approach for the scheduling of tweets, is that you do need to remain in touch with your stream as it goes out. There is no point tweeting while you are asleep or unavailable for hours on end. If people engage with your tweets they will expect you to respect their time and interest via reciprocal engagement from yourself – if you fail to do that then you’ll let them down and lose the opportunity to develop a deeper connection.

    This comment is a good example of how a few interactions can lead to a deeper connection and a valuable result for your brand, profile or business. I posted a few tweets about buffer, Leo replied with thanks and I’ve returned the attention with a full comment and a positive recommendation here on their blog.

    Smart engagement from guys with a smart product 🙂
    +1 for bufferapp.com.

  8. Wow, Matt, thank you so much for wording out your thoughts in detail here.

    Yes, I think you are very right, at the start there was more of a core/family culture there as most likely only the early adopters will have been present on Twitter.

    Your DNA reference fits perfectly it is always the case that things get “modified” its just how nature works and this original DNA has definitely moved.

    Eventually a form of a core understanding about Twitter remains and this is achieved by holding the balance which you described. If you drift off to full automation I can’t see that there is anything left of it.

    With it going slightly beyond the power users moving over to brands and maybe “more interested” average people it is very right that it makes sense for them too.

    Again, great stuff and thanks for contributing to the discussion Matt, hope to speak some more soon! 🙂

  9. Jan, so good to see you here.

    Absolutely, this is a great analogy with driving! Really makes a lot of sense to me. After all, nearly everything in our lives is in some way facilitated, it is important that this doesn’t drift towards complete automation, but that the human element like you say remains there.

    Yep, the timezone issue is definitely true and scheduling helps a great deal.

    Haha, indeed that is the real question we need to ask, glad Buffer does it both! 🙂

  10. Markedeo, thanks a lot for your comment.

    Wow, that is amazing to hear. Yes, exactly, just like you say, we need to play around a bit and gradually we realize what works best for us.

    This is very reassuring that you have made the same experience here with the fact that your quality actually goes up!

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, I really appreciate it!

  11. What a great article. I’m at that point & I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to have an smooth and efficient Twitter experience for my Twitter family and I must say, this is the most perfect & best article that I’ve seen on this subject. Spending more time on scheduled tweets will result in better quality articles and in turn will have more time for socializing on a more personal basis with more friends. Whew! Just in time. Thanks.

  12. I again think that there really is a fine line between automation and human. A complete automation makes things boring and takes away the personal factor from Twitter. After all, these are supposedly SOCIAL tools and there is nothing social about an auto DM or auto follow. It’s like following and talking to a brick wall.

    I relate twitter automation to driving – driving an automatic car does not mean that it does not require it to be steered by a human. It simply eases a part of driving for the driver but does not take out the EXPERIENCE of driving.

    Likewise, tweet scheduling should not take away the human twitter experience as it should be a tool to enhance the experience instead. People cannot be on Twitter 24/7 unless they are robots (or simply have a very, very sad life) and with the differences of timezones, scheduling allows one to reach, share and connect with more people even when you’re not there – a gem for content creators.

    To tweet (now/later) or not to tweet, that is the question -> And buffer does them both.

  13. Matt Searles

    I was on twitter back then… and.. I think there’s a real element of.. there used to be a much stronger “social culture” I think.. maybe it’s still there, I don’t know.. I mean before most folks had the first clue of how to monetize.. or.. surely long before business or.. anything was at all main stream….

    What I think has happened is.. with the main-streaming in it.. that core culture.. that those of us who were here early had.. and so much of what seemed special about it.. and whatever else.. it’s like the DNA of that cultural core isn’t a part of the mainstream users of social.. social is changing in interesting ways as a result.

    So when I first read your tweet I thought “I don’t know how much scheduled tweets is a more accepted norm so much as more and more people are carrying there ideas of acceptable norms from a more mass media experience.” Or something kinda like that.

    Now I think you’re right on.. I mean.. it’s not a question of if schedule tweets is right or wrong.. its a question of how you do it.. balance.. but I also think you could probably get away with more then what Robert Clay is talking about.. as far as power users.. if you use it a different way in that class but like.. lets say execution follows your brand values.. and if your brand values are.. well relating to the social core DNA thing.. I think you’re fine.. and you can probably always get away with all kinds of things if you just think differently enough..

    or something like that

  14. Robert, thanks a lot for taking the time to comment and wording out your thoughts, I really appreciate that.

    Yes, you are absolutely right, for the “average” user tweet scheduling will not be something worth looking into, in that sense it is certainly not mainstream.

    Yep, glad you have the same impression here about Power users, it is the exact same feeling I got. It seems to really be a necessity these days and allowing to still be present is exactly my personal reason for doing it.

    Spot on saying on what tweet scheduling really does, couldn’t agree more. By no means is anything impersonal connected to this and all it is is giving us a practical way to keep up with Twitter.

    Again, hearing your thoughts on this is really helpful, thanks for stopping by.

  15. Robert Clay

    The “average” Twitter user doesn’t do a lot, so from that perspective, no tweet scheduling is definitely not mainstream. But among the power users I follow, while things like auto-follows and auto-dm’s are an absolute no-no, tweet scheduling seems to be gaining acceptance.

    Unless you’re a very sad person, it simply isn’t possible to be sat on Twitter all day every day. People have business to run, jobs to do, a life, family and interests to attend to. Scheduling tweets allows you to maintain a presence even when you can’t be there, and as I said many (but not all) of the power users I interact with do schedule at least some of their tweets.

    Using a tool like Buffer allows you to share interesting content when you’re not there. And it shouldn’t change anything in respect of you sharing content spontaneously and responding to people when you are online. I’ve done it that way for a long time, as others have. It works very well, and it doesn’t make for an impersonal experience at all. Instead it is just a very practical and useful way of fitting Twitter into a busy life.

    I share my thoughts on how I use twitter here, if you’re interested: http://marketingwizdom.com/twi

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