For a social network that only allows 140 characters per message, a lot of thought goes into managing a Twitter account. Even after composing the perfect tweet, there is still the important consideration of when to tweet it. As many an inforgraphic will tell you, there is a science to scheduling tweets.
I use Hootsuite to schedule my tweets for @SouthParkWA because I like to plan social media about a week in advance. While some may argue against scheduling tweets (embarrassing situations can certainly happen if monitoring is sloppy), I think it’s the best way to make sure I share important information, provided that I still monitor social media daily. My rule of thumb is two scheduled tweets per day between 11 AM and 3 PM, which gives me a good amount of content at a high-traffic time, but if over the day something newsworthy comes up or someone mentions @SouthParkWA, I still have room for more tweets without overwhelming followers with information.
A few days ago I noticed a new feature on Hootsuite: AutoSchedule. Instead of choosing the time to send out a tweet, AutoSchedule will choose the time for you. I decided to give it a try, and I realized that while it might work for tweets that will be relevant at any time, for tweets that are tied to a specific date it will not work. It’s a feature that really highlights both the pros and cons of social media automation: it makes our jobs easier, but it also takes away some of the thought that should go into our interactions with followers. So I will stick to choosing the timing of tweets myself.
What do you think about scheduling content? Is it too much automation, or is it the best way to control the content you publish?