I’ve always believed that one of the most valuable things we own is time – it’s the one thing that the majority of us are lucky enough to have a good deal of and yet have very little to spare. Work, sleep, family, relationships, keeping fit, looking good (well, presentable at least) – we have to cram it all into the hours we’re given each day.
One of the beauties of social networking is that you can now be fed news and information right there on a device of your choosing at any time of day, wherever you are – news, stories, thoughts, photos, videos – all just a few seconds after they’ve taken place.
As a business, these kinds of platforms are so invaluable as they save us so much time – with platforms like Twitter, we can get up-to-date industry news every second of the day. Everything is there in real-time…or is it?
A lot of people have embraced scheduling as part of their social media plan – scheduling your social means you can address your audience in the future, now. It allows you to plan out your updates ready to address your audience say, three days away. It’s simple, organised and can save you so much of that precious time.
So why do some businesses still view tweeting through time as such a crime?
I think a lot of people see it as a form of cheating. Customers won’t necessarily use scheduling to network on their own social platforms and so it can look contrived and ‘spammy’ when a post has so obviously been scheduled.
Admittedly, scheduling doesn’t always go to plan either. There are a few flaws in social media scheduling that unfortunately, can’t be seen until it’s too late. One of the most famous examples of this is from Tescos – after the horse-meat scandal, they posted the infamous “hit the hay” tweet which was scheduled a few days before the scandal broke.
This was unfortunate timing for Tescos and made them look as though they were making light of a serious situation. It’s every social media manager’s worst nightmare – after all, as much as you can schedule for the future, there’s no going back in time.
Examples like this should not put you off scheduling however – just having a quick search for twitter or social media fails, you will find the majority of them are down to profile mix-ups, misunderstandings, not thinking before you post (usually on the fly!) or people losing their temper.
The way I see it, scheduling tweets will allocate you more time to be focussed, pick up on activities and trends during the week and stop you from missing out on golden marketing opportunities. Hell, if John Connor had never sent Kyle Reese through time to save his mother and ultimately make him his father, then he would have never had a chance at defeating Skynet. And if the film-makers had let that confusing plot stop them from making Terminator in the first place, then we would never have had one of the greatest sequels of cinematic history – so don’t miss your chances!
Okay – you’re going to schedule your social media
What can you do to best avoid any time-tweeting nightmares? Is it still possible to capture the essence of real-time when you’re writing for tomorrow today? And if yesterday can now be tomorrow today, then that would make it Thursday – so what day did I schedule this blog? Confused? Don’t be!
I’ve drummed up a bit of advice to get you tweeting through time, saving yourself valuable hours and finally getting the best of the giant that is Skynet…Twitter! I mean Twitter.
Don’t be too advanced
Not only is planning months of tweets a task and a half, the further in advance you try to tweet, the less you will have to talk about. Unless there is a specific holiday or event that you are targeting, scheduling for the week ahead should suffice and will help you to remember the areas you have focussed on during the week.
Try not to be too topical
News changes and Twitter is the first to know. You don’t want to look outdated or behind on your info. If you are going to be topical, make sure your topics are hot in the business and that they will be for some time to come.
Don’t rely on scheduling alone- see it more as a safety net. If you have something relevant to tweet about in the week, bonus! If not, then you don’t have to beat yourself up as you have your scheduled tweets to fall back on.
Don’t forget about your schedules
Logging out of Twitter and then not checking it until the next time you schedule could mean missing out on replies and opportunities to interact. Not to mention, logging in during the week will give you chance to scope out and share more of the daily news and trends.
Don’t let your tweets get lost in different time zones
If you are here in the UK like me (for example) but you want to target an Australian audience you have to take into account you’re already 8 hours behind and so will have to plan back in time before tweeting forward! So, as an example, I would schedule an update for 4am GMT, knowing that it will hit my Australian audience at noon that same day
Phew! Time travel sure is exhausting. But when you get into social media scheduling, you will soon wonder how you had time to tweet without it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some time-tweets to send – hasta la vista!