Should you schedule tweets?

Posted 31st August 2016
by Jonathan

Social media, and particularly Twitter, is a valuable part of the communication for Bellyflop.tv

But should you stick with posting tweets ‘live’, or schedule them too?

Now this can be contentious, not many people will admit to scheduling tweets. You are effectively pretending to be in a conversation when you are not really there. It risks being quite insincere.

So first, what are scheduled tweets? These are tweets that you write in advance using apps or websites such as Hoot Suite or TweetDeck, then schedule them to go ‘live’ at a given set day and time.

Hootsuite or Twetdeck

Two of the websites available to help you schedule tweets are Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.

My opinion is they can work against you more than they can work for you, so you need to be cautious.

I believe the main pitfalls are…

  1. Scheduling a tweet at the wrong time by mistake so it clearly has been pre-written (such as posting a ‘1pm lunch’ tweet at 1am- you will be surprised who would notice, and make a point of publicly telling you!
  2. Writing a tweet that people then respond to, but you don’t reply as you’re not monitoring Twitter as you are not on it ‘live’, then
  3. A scheduled tweet goes live when there’s been a major new story and you can come across across quite uncompassionate. As you are busy promoting your widgets everyone else on the timeline is reacting to the death of the widget maker.

The big problem is most scheduled tweets just sounds like they are pre-written messages because they’re not ‘in the moment’ and to make them not like this you need to be really good at writing content.

You also need to be very much aware if you schedule tweets you know when they’re going out because sometimes you can end up repeating yourself by posting live tweets around the same time as the scheduled tweets are released. Keeping to a set time can avoid this.

So saying all that do I schedule tweets? I would never use them for my personal Twitter account. For my business one I write some tweets in advance that promote my customers films, this is because I choose a time when I can write them well and find good images to accompany them. I also then have chance for a member of the team to also read them too before they go out, so we can check grammar and links.

An alternative to scheduling tweets is simply writing them and then saving them on your mobile device as drafts, and then you can dip into the bank of draft tweets when you feel they are suitable. Sometimes reading them a second time gives you a chance to edit them before putting them live.

2016 is Twitter’s 10th birthday, we posted some Twitter tools here.

You have to accept most people who regularly use Twitter can usually tell when a tweet has been scheduled and just politely accept it, so it really is a big no-no posting tweets that are trying to strike up conversation or simply following a hashtag trend.

The important thing is to use Twitter every day and build your audience, particularly if you are a business as it helps avoid reputation poverty.

Social media management is another area of our work, which is explained by Carol here.

Biog on the author: Jonathan is the Managing Director of Bellyflop.tv and completes the filming on almost every film made by the company. Jonathan is also obsessed with social media, and credits YouTube as being the first web destination to get social media right when it began in 2005.