The hows, whys and why-nots of scheduled tweets

Automation is a godsend for frazzled communicators, but you’re not doing your organization any favors if your consumer engagement languishes as a result.

Scheduled tweets are my jam.

They also keep me servicing several clients 15+ hours a day, seven days a week. Without scheduled tweets, I’d be shackled to my phone or computer and spend countless hours tweeting.

Not productive. Not scalable. Just not fun.

Automation can certainly make those tedious tasks much easier, but how far can we take automation (such as scheduled tweets) before it becomes spam?

How I use automation to manage scheduled tweets

Let’s start with how, because I know that sharing processes can help those who are starting out.

Last December, I wrote a post on the exact process I use for distributing content. If you’ve got the time, I encourage you to take a peek.

There are three main tools I use to schedule my tweets (personally and professionally):

1. Klout

This tool may surprise some of you, but here’s what I like about Klout:

  • It curates content for me based on my needs/keywords.
  • I can search for content labeled “hidden gem” in Klout, which means I’m not sharing the same overshared marketing articles from Inc. and Mashable (nothing against those sites).
  • I can jump on trending content with “hot off the press” content.

I can also share directly (immediately) or schedule my tweet(s) to go out at later times.

2. IFTTT

I use “If This Then That” to schedule trusted blogger content. Certain sites generate consistently amazing content, so I automatically share their new posts to my Twitter stream.

IFTTT enables me to plug in an RSS feed and share any new posts upon publication. I don’t even have to think about sharing the content of my favorite people. I can also send out my own blog posts to my business and personal streams.

3. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is my social media dashboard; I’ve been using it for more than four years.

I love the “Sprout Queue,” which enables you to pop tweets in and “queue next” or “queue last”—which is cool, but it’s not the best part.

The best part is ViralPost®, a premium option that determines the best time to publish content to a brand’s social media channels. It doesn’t consider when your followers are publishing. Instead, it recommends times when your audience is actively engaging and identifies when others are least active. Pretty sweet, huh?

For myself (but mainly for our clients) I can ensure we have a steady stream of scheduled tweets going out-and that they’re going out when they’re most likely to be engaged with.

When scheduled tweets become spam

Because automation makes it easy to “be present” (seemingly) that we often forget to, well, be present. The difference is that I make an effort to respond within a certain amount of time.

I see plenty of accounts with a firehose of content going out and little to no interaction or engagement. Once someone “likes” it, comments on it, mentions it, retweets it, you’re supposed to respond. Right?

There are many schools of thought:

  • Some people don’t thank people for sharing their content. (I do; call me crazy, but I am thankful when people think my content is worth sharing.)
  • One well-known social media expert told me she thanks people during a certain window, and once that window is gone she doesn’t thank any other people.
  • Some on Twitter don’t respond to straight retweets but do respond to retweets that have a comment or add thoughts. (I fall into this camp.)
  • Some people don’t respond at all.

So, doesn’t that mean the non-responders are using Twitter as a broadcast platform? If they’re scheduling tweets but not following up, isn’t that spam?

As automation and robots take over the human “doing” of things, where do we draw the line with what’s real, what’s worth connecting with and what’s spam?

Scheduled tweets are still representative of your brand. Shouldn’t you be doing more than simply broadcasting?

What do you think: Are scheduled tweets with no follow-up just spam? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section.

Brooke B. Sellas is a digital marketer and the owner of B Squared Media, a blossoming blogger and a purveyor of psychographics. Give her a shout on Twitter . A version of this article first appeared on Mark Schaefer’s grow.

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