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Create timely tweets

Send Later…

Those are powerful words. It allows me to produce when I can and publish when I determine. I schedule blog posts and delay delivery time of emails (Tip: Try Boomerang for gmail) so scheduling tweets made sense to me from the first day I discovered the function.

alarm_clockScheduling tweets enables me to:

  • Talk when others are listening. Posting links at 2am just won’t see much traction.
  • Prevent flooding my friends timelines. I read hundreds of blogs via RSS and I doubt anyone wants to see me share 20 items at once.

Social dashboard apps like Hootsuite and Cotweet introduced this ability but we are now seeing a new breed of apps that aim to simplify the process. Instead of requiring you to schedule each tweet you focus on creating and the schedule is predetermined.

Don’t miss the great comments below. @BufferApp responds concerning mobile updating, @tacanderson shares how he uses a combination of these 2 services, @nwbingham brings up an additional issue I failed to mention.

Introducing Buffer

Buffer helps you build a queue of tweets that will be posted on a timeline that you predetermine. Set your schedule and write tweets. Easy.

buffer_tweet_box

  • To get started visit BufferApp.com and create a free account. (They do offer pro plans that allow multiple accounts and larger buffer starting at $10 a month but for most individuals the free account will work nicely.)
  • Create a schedule of the days and times you want to tweet.
  • Write tweets and add to buffer.

bufferBuffer has a nice analytics dashboard so you can judge the effectiveness of your schedule and they offer bit.ly API integration for link shortening. They also offer a number of browser extensions and bookmarklets to ease buffer creation.

2 criticisms of Buffer

  1. Their lack of a mobile app and or mobile web page. (Buffer if you are listening I hope I can scratch this statement very soon.)
  2. Buffer should remove the “Suggest an update” field it is bot-like behavior.

Introducing Timely

timely_logoTimely.is is a competing solution build by the folks at Flowtown. The major difference is they tweet at the times they determine to be most effective for your account, it’s a very cool feature but personally I prefer a bit more control.

Time.ly doesn’t offer the extensions or bookmarklets like Buffer but they are worth a look.

Concluding thoughts on scheduling

Some folks don’t care for scheduling tweets. I can respect that but I find this function useful for the reasons I stated above. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

  1. Don’t schedule when you are unplugged – If you are going to be away for hours on end don’t tweet. If you can’t be responsive in a reasonable amount of time then you are sending the message you aren’t listening.
  2. Be prepared to pause – Sometimes big things happen and your scheduled tweets will look thoughtless. So when a major quake devastates a country or the President is announcing the death of a major terrorist pause your queue.

Your turn…

What would you add to this list? What are you thoughts on tweet scheduling?

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/ tacanderson

    I’ve been a user of Timely and Buffer for about 3 months now and like both services a lot. I have especially found them useful since moving to London and most of my friends are in the US. I post like I normally do (which is in the morning so people in the US are asleep) and then use Timely and Buffer to repost most of my links late into the night, which is mid-day for the US. 

    I was first afraid I’d get some backlash from users who have issues with scheduled tweets and duplicate posts but I’ve actually received several comments from friends in the US who tell me they see more of my posts now and like my new approach. 

  • http://KnowtheNetwork.com Keith

    What a great example of time-shifting to cross geography. I hesitated
    on publishing this post due to the backlash I thought I might incur but
    I always come back to the fact the tweets are always mine. I think
    there is no hit to credibility.

    I’ve really come to appreciate buffer its a simple and yet fits a perfect need.

    Have you seen a marked difference in exposure between Timely’s time selection and setting the schedule yourself in buffer?

    Thanks for lending your voice @tacanderson:disqus. Now I feel better about myself.

  • http://KnowtheNetwork.com Keith

    What a great example of time-shifting to cross geography. I hesitated
    on publishing this post due to the backlash I thought I might incur. However, the tweets are always mine so I don’t think credibility is an issue.

    I’ve really come to appreciate @bufferapp, it is a simple and perfectly fits a need.

    Have you seen a marked difference in exposure between Timely’s time selection and setting the schedule yourself in buffer?

    Thanks for lending your voice @tacanderson:disqus  . Now I feel better.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/ tacanderson

    I find Timely to be a little limiting in that I think the amount of posts they allow each day is too few for heavy users and in they base their data off bitly data so if you use the same link elsewhere, it throws off the numbers. I like both because there are some posts I want to let Timely post and to multiple accounts and Buffer let’s me fill in the rest of the “space” with times I think work well. It’s been a pretty good 1-2 punch. 

  • http://KnowtheNetwork.com Keith

    Thank you for stopping by. I know mobile is on your roadmap so I’ll be patient.

    I like the email option but the issue is the email that I use with your service isn’t pushed to my iphone. Perhaps if you provided me a unique send to address, similar to evernote, I’d use it frequently. Even something as simple as ping.fm/iphone would be sufficient.

    I really love your service. Thanks for the comments.

  • http://KnowtheNetwork.com Keith

    Well said Nathan. I too use a custom shortener, netkno.ws, and all the links are shortened via bit.ly. It would be nice to have this setting as a toggle on/off.

    Good feedback. Sounds like they are listening. Thanks for reading and comment sir.