I recently got asked my opinion on scheduling Tweets and I will say upfront I am in favour of them, when used for the right reasons.
Scheduling is the only form of automation I use, with the exception of the auto-tweets from my iPhone for friends and family with updates on my progress when I run in road races.
Scheduling offers a practical solution in situations where you just cannot be there to send a message or you would otherwise end up annoying your followers.
1. Reaching people in other time-zones
You may have a local audience in which case time-zones may not be of concern. But if your business reaches out to people around the world then scheduling messages to fall into peoples streams at times they are likely to be online is the only practical solution. Living in the UK I have many followers in both the US and Australia. The US isn’t too much of an issue, Tweeting after lunch-time in the UK will catch US based followers in the morning. And I can stay with the conversation through the evening if necessary. But, Australia does pose a problem, with Melbourne 9 hours ahead I would have to stay up until Midnight to catch these guys. This meeting planner will give you an idea of the time-zone challenge.
2. Timing for events
If you run any kind of events scheduling can be beneficial when forward planning. Scheduled Tweets are used frequently by those who broadcast live online, on the radio or TV. With the preparation required in the minutes to going live it can be easy to overlook letting followers know you are going to be on air. Scheduling can not only help maximise your audience but also ensure you don’t let followers down by forgetting to notify them. Also, if you plan events for other members of your team, weeks or months in advance, scheduling Tweets to announce these nearer the time can be effective.
3. Prolific Tweeters
When you Tweet a lot, you can have the effect of swamping the Twitter feed of some users. A good example of this can be Guy Kawasaki with his All Top updates, which are useful to follow but can become overpowering. If you are re-Tweeting other peoples content on a specific subject, scheduling can help others keep up, spreading the information throughout the day.
The key to scheduling is to ensure you also take part in the conversation in between. Don’t turn into a Tweeting robot.
Also, avoid potentially embarrassing situations, for example a scheduled Tweet going out whilst you are visibly doing something else!
What’s your view on scheduling Tweets?