Sunday 15 July 2012

How to schedule a tweet.

Why would you want to schedule a tweet to appear some time in the future? Why not just tweet it while you are on line? Here are some reasons why you might want to:
  • when entering a competition. Sometimes a promoter might announce a competition early on in the day and then say "Tweet us your answer between 6pm and 8pm". If you know you are not going to be around, or think you might forget, you can schedule your entry tweet to go out at your chosen time and then not worry about it any more. Also some people feel that entries made in the few minutes before a competition closes stand the best chance, depending on how the promoter checks the entries, so if a set closing time has been given you can set your tweet to go out just before then
  • when RUNNING a competition. You can schedule announcements about it to go out at different times of day, to catch the different groups of people active at those times. It is particularly useful when getting close to the closing time, as you can schedule "count down" messages to go out at intervals to remind people to make their last minute entries. If your competition closes at midnight, you don't need to stay up late just to remind people to enter.
  • to make announcements about your site, your latest blog post or a special offer. If you post all your announcements at once, people get bored. They will read the first. and then ignore the rest. Space them out over the day, or even the week, and it will be fresh news every time. A dozen tweets sent out over the course of a day will have far more impact than those same tweets sent out within half an hour
  • for personal security. Going on holiday to somewhere you won't be able to tweet from your phone? Or even just out for the day, and too busy to tweet? Get a few tweets scheduled to come out while you aren't around, and it won't be obvious to any potential thieves that your house is empty!
  • as a reminder tool. Do you want to remember somebody's birthday? Or an appointment? Schedule a tweet that says "Happy Birthday @......." to go out on their birthday, and they'll know you've remembered then - and the tweet will remind YOU too! Or one that says "Oh no, I'm seeing the dentist at 2.30 today" and once again, seeing your own tweet will remind you. Cunning!
So how do you do it? Unfortunately although it is easy to do, Twitter doesn't give us the option of scheduling tweets from our own Twitter page so we have to look elsewhere. Here are some of the third party apps you can use, and some tips on using them. For each one, you will need to register and allow the app to connect to your Twitter account. This isn't a comprehensive list of apps, just the ones I have tried and liked.

Tweet Deck   compose your tweet as normal, then click on the little clock under the text box and choose the time you would like your tweet sent. Then click on "Tweet" and the message goes into your scheduled tweets list. You can add a column for your scheduled tweets to check what is still pending - once sent, the tweet vanishes from the list.

Hoot Suite write your tweet as normal and then click on the calendar to open a box that lets you choose when to send it.

Future Tweets probably the easiest to use, just write your tweet then click on the clock to pick your time then hit the "schedule" button.  My only complaint is that in my browser, the window for choosing the date appears  all squashed up, but that's probably my fault for being a dinosaur and sticking to Internet Explorer.

Social Oomph a massive tool that can do all sorts of things, scheduling messages to all your social media  accounts being just a small part of it. Not as easy as the others to use, although the update scheduling page seems to be self explanatory and gives you the option of sending your tweet at a fixed time or just in a set number of hours. I'm still exploring what this powerful tool can do and may well report back on it another day.

Twuffer  incredibly simple to use - but do make sure you set your time zone before scheduling your tweet! Pick the London zone - even though it says GMT, when  we're on BST it takes that into account.

Buffer not my favourite - you add your tweets to the buffer and it sends them out over the next day, but at times selected by the app. You can click on the time it has chosen for you and then get the option to change it - but with so many easier ways to schedule tweets, it's not my app of choice.

And finally, if you are finding all this just too boring, how about tweeting upside down? Just go to Fliptext and type in your message, flip it then copy and paste it into a tweet that will puzzle your followers. (Note: not recommeneded for competition entries unless youare trying to be VERY creative!)


  1. Thank you! Am practising my future TweetDeck tweets.

  2. ooh i didn't know that. you are becoming one of my very favourite websites x

  3. Excellent advice! Thanks Jane! I missed a comp last week because I had to be at the school panto and the comp needed you to tweet between 8 and 9 that evening! I used to use Tweetdeck but haven't used it recently so intend to go back today and explore how to schedule a tweet. Many thanks!

  4. oo thanks Ive had tweetdeck for ages, didn't realise you could do this with it, will use it more often now x


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