Yes, It’s Ok to Schedule Tweets (Just Make Sure You Know the Rules)

Agenda open next to laptop

It’s commonly believed that automating Twitter and using software to schedule tweets is a bad idea.

And when done improperly, spamming followers with scheduled tweets can destroy a business’s reputation.

But the truth is, social media automation isn’t entirely evil. When done right, it can also bring a lot of value to you and your followers—just make sure you follow the rules.

Automating Twitter Can be a Great Way to Grow Your Audience and Increase Engagement

Sometimes I find amazing content at 3am that my local audience would love . But no one would see it then—they’re asleep. It would be a wasted tweet.

Sometimes I spend an hour reading in the morning and end up with all kinds of great stuff to share. But sending it all at once would flood my followers’ newsfeeds—nobody likes that. Eventually, they’ll tune out, or worse, unfollow.

Sometimes I know I’m going to spend time on Twitter during a long commute, but I won’t be able to share great content as easily from my phone as I could from my laptop before I leave.

So how do you reach a bigger audience without spending all your time at the computer? Schedule a few tweets ahead of time.

The Rules for Scheduling Tweets

1. Be Selective With Timing

Be conscious about your tweeting schedule. Always schedule tweets for times when you can be online. That way if someone engages with your tweet, you can receive notification of their mention and jump into the conversation—even if you’re out for a walk and get notified on your smartphone.

Also, don’t be afraid to space out multiple tweets on the same topic. You want to avoid dumping content into your followers’ timelines all at once—this is very annoying. Instead, spreading out tweets on the same topic will allow you to get your message to more people. Remember, we’re not all online at the same time.

2. Don’t go overboard.

Make sure you do spend live time on Twitter, sharing and responding to other content. People notice when you’re online and are more likely to engage with you if they see you engaging with others. Remember Rule 1 – you should still be available when your scheduled tweets are going live.

3. Don’t lie.

Not all content is schedule-able. It’s great to pass along a how-to guide or a funny photo of what you saw at work, but don’t pretend you just snapped the pic when you’re actually out grocery shopping. It’s not authentic, and you’re not bringing any additional value to the table. Plus you’ll look foolish if Twitter says you are out for dinner, but someone spots you at the movies.

4. Proofread everything!

This is pretty obvious. You should always proofread your tweets, but take an extra second to look things over when you’re scheduling future tweets—you may not have time to fix it later.

Just remember that the point is always to bring value to your audience. If scheduling a few tweets for the future will help you give interesting content and ideas to your followers, don’t be afraid of a good thing! When done right, automating Twitter allows you to invest 20 minutes in the morning and engage with your audience all day.

How to Schedule Tweets

Since the option to schedule tweets doesn’t actually exist on Twitter, you may be wondering how everyone else does it.  There are many third-party apps and services available to help you schedule tweets. My favourite is Sprout Social. I use it daily for social media management, including scheduling.

Sprout Social allows users to not only schedule tweets, but also schedule posts on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

It also includes additional scheduling features such as the ability to save drafts, and the ability to add tweets to a running queue. Posts in your Queue can either get automatically shared at date and time of your choosing, or by using the ViralPost Send Time Optimization. (This feature basically suggests a time when the most people will be online.)

…just don’t forget the rules!

Have you ever experimented with scheduling tweets? Most people won’t admit it, but it’s very common. I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!