Twitter provides an opportunity to mix structure and spontaneity in your business communication. Smart social marketers use both approaches, because they appeal to two very different types of Twitter users: information seekers and engagers.
Information seekers are primarily interested in finding useful content. Engagers want to interact and participate in business and/or personal conversations.
Scheduling tweets is a great way to deliver content to information seekers — but it can also facilitate engagement if handled properly. Here are a few tips that may help you tune up your tweeting schedule.
Pick the Right Platform
HootSuite is a fabulous option, and scheduling efficiency is one of its strengths. There are many Twitter timing tools out there to help. Pick one and test it out. Find which works for your needs.
Schedule on the Fly
The Hootlet browser button enables you to schedule the tweet of a web page instantly.
Multiple View and Editing Options
You can then see all the tweets you schedule in your Pending Tweets stream, in case you want to edit them:
Solo, Team, Single Account and Multiple Account Friendly
HootSuite recently added a robust “Publisher” utility, which makes it easy to manage scheduling of multiple accounts with multiple contributors. Here’s a peek at the Publisher main screen:
The utility gives you a number of options for viewing accounts and scheduled tweets, reviewing content, and checking for items past schedule. Among the problems this utility helps combat:
- Team members piling up too many scheduled tweets at the same time
- Gaps in the publishing schedule
- Similar or identical tweets being scheduled by team members
- Tweets that need content tweaking
- Tweets with broken links
Content Options for Scheduled Tweets
Since scheduled tweets are aimed primarily at information seekers, it follows that tweeting links to your highest quality content makes the most sense. And because engagers also see your scheduled material, adding a bit of variety and flair goes a long way to inspiring reads and retweets.
A good first step is to categorize the content you want to schedule. Everybody will have his/her own way of doing this, but for illustration purposes, here are my buckets:
- Tweeting standout blog posts, 2006 to current, 20-30 unique links per month.
- Tweeting most recent blog posts, 20-30 unique links per month.
- Tweeting our guest posts on other blogs, 5-10 unique links per month.
- Tweeting key service pages from our agency site, 10-20 unique links per month.
Two footnotes about bucketing:
- Tweeting a healthy number of unique links is far better than inordinate repetition of fewer links. The frequency of retweeting unique links is covered in the next section, on Twitter timing.
- Conspicuously absent from my list are non-linked (conversational) tweets and retweets of other people’s content. These are things best suited to real time tweeting, but in theory they could be scheduled, especially the latter.
Scheduled Tweet Timing Tips
- Don’t inundate people with scores of tweets over a short period of time. Stream clogging is annoying and could get you labeled as a spammer.
- The number and frequency of scheduled tweets depends on your real-time tweeting activity. If you tweet a lot throughout the day, layering on more than one or two scheduled tweets could result in their being lost in the shuffle.
- Although variety is appealing, a certain amount of repetition is also desirable. If you use the “content bucket” approach, try scheduling tweets from a single bucket each day, week or even month — rather than mix tweets from every bucket every day, etc.
- Schedule tweets at times when you know your community is online and active. If you don’t know, schedule the same block of tweets at various times throughout the day and monitor retweets and replies.
Final Thoughts: Scheduling Business Pages and Offers
You see both extremes on Twitter: people who pound you with offers all day long, and people who rarely mention their business at all.
Which is right?
If there is statistical evidence that aggressive promotional activity yields results, other than for recognized consumer brands, I’m not aware of it. However, scheduling tweets of business pages from your website is well worth doing, for a couple of reasons.
- First, there’s nothing wrong with letting people know you’re using Twitter for business purposes, not just to chatter and give away content. Business-related tweets can generate leads and referrals — and perhaps if your timing is perfect, and order or a new client.
- Second, if tweets are optimized around popular keywords relevant to your product or service, the content may appear in search results. SEO should always be considered in social sharing.
Brad Shorr is Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North, a Chicago marketing company. It specializes in B2B, with clients in industrial niches from merchant accounts for small business to electrical rubber gloves. Follow @StraightNorth on Twitter.