Twitter, What Happened When I Ditched Scheduling

Ah Twitter, it’s one of my favourite networks. From the real time chat to some of the amazing opportunities I’ve gotten from simply reaching out and tweeting someone it’s a terrific network when harnessed right. Therin lies the challenge. Earlier this year I went through my Twitter analytics for the whole of 2016 and I spotted an interesting trend:

On average every month 7 of my top 10 tweets were real time tweets

Only 3 were the result of me scheduling Tweets. After seeing these interesting results I decided to do a challenge:

I decided to do this over the course of a couple of months because as they say this is the best way to identify a trend versus a blip and I came to a few interesting conclusions

  • Mentions went through the roof when I moved to totally organic
  • Self-promotion should only be a part of what you do on Twitter


Twitter – The balancing act

When it comes to Twitter the biggest challenge for businesses/brands is how quickly it moves. The half life of a tweet is 24 minutes and as the image below shows you there’s a lot of Tweets going out.

Number of Tweets at 15.08 on Thursday, September 7th 2017

In these tweets is a mixture of scheduled tweets done say in the morning or at lunch by a business and tweets done in real time. This is where the great debate is. Which is better to do? For time efficiency it’s a no brainer that scheduled rules. At the same time though there is a cost to this. Unless you check Twitter regularly while you might appear to be there you’re not really there. I’m part of the school that would follow this rule:

Split your content between scheduled in real-time

When it came to scheduled content I used the following tools:

  • Tweetdeck – Hands down for me the best Twitter tool out there
  • Buffer – A terrific tool for not only Twitter but also other social networks. I’d recommend getting the Buffer plugin for Chrome as well as it makes it real easy to share interesting content

This was the approach I took however then I started to look at things differently.

The Wake-Up call for Twitter

At the start of this year though as part of New Years Resolutions I decided to mine down into my Tweets and found that on average 7 out of the top 10 tweets per month were done in real time. This was an eye opener for me and being honest this would be the balance I’d use for businesses. Not everyone is a Twitter addict like me (there’s only so many hours in the day).

At the same time, I decided to go in a word totally in the moment with my Tweets. This started in June and over the last 3-4 months, I’ve done my Tweets in real time. After going through my tweets there was a number of interesting findings.

My mentions went through the roof

To begin with, it took a bit of getting used to not using scheduling at all. After a while I started to spot an interesting trend:

  • My mentions increased 4 fold – These are pretty big numbers. What was really interesting is that average impressions went down from what they were before. The key takeaway from this is determining the balance you want between:
    • Impressions for your profile
    • How engaged you want to be

Self Promotion should only play a part of what you do on Twitter

Too many times brands use Twitter to promote themselves or their products and services. The thing is that doing this alone is the road to ruin. Using my new approach I reached out and chatted with people, gave views and opinions but also did promotion of for example radio shows I was a guest on. The results were interesting, of my top 10 Tweets per month on average:

  • 6 were conversations with people
  • 3 were my views and opinions of trending #s
  • 1 was self-promotion

This highlights how important it is for businesses and people to harness the tool for engaging with people. It’s called SOCIAL Media for a reason.

So how can you use these takeaways for your efforts on Twitter?

For any business looking to make the most of these insights here are my top tips:

  1. People love talking to people – Engage with others. Reach out and chat with people like you would in real life. Twitter is the social media equivalent a networking event. Chat with people strike up a conversation about a certain topic (it doesn’t have to be business) and build the relationship from there. Your goal should be to get the conversation off of Twitter and depending on the relationship correspond through email or set up a meeting in person or online. Twitter is very often the tool that helps get your foot in the door
  2. Be imaginative with your tweets & content – Now this may come as a surprise but I love GIFs. Through Giphy there’s a huge library at your disposal. Why not use these to help add to your personality on Twitter. I’d also recommend as well if you want to create your own GIFs.

  3. Why not use video. Not many use personalised messages so you’ll stand out if you use it. It’s also a terrific way to show people the real you. Images are also essential so use where appropriate as well, especially the tagging feature if you want to reach an audience you’ve already built up (I didn’t say to totally do away with self-promotion!!). Use these options to show the real you.
  4. Take part in chats – Twitter can be daunting, to begin with however Twitter chats are a fantastic way to reach out and chat with an engaged community. These networks love it when new people join and want to take part in GENUINE conversations. So find ones relevant to you and take that big first step and introduce yourself. What chats should you take part in? Watch this space…….

So will you try this new approach on Twitter

Twitter is an amazing social network. It really is amazing what can happen from a Tweet. What’s important to remember is the balance. Engage with people, strike up conversations and use great content while also promoting your brand as well.

The balancing act is essential and as the research that I’ve been doing for 21 months shows real time forms an essential part of this, so get Tweeting. What to get my latest musings on marketing? Reach out to me on Twitter and lets chat, it’s what the tool was made for!!

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