Allison Graham undertook an experiment based on the belief, which is true but also overlooks a vital reality, that pre-scheduled Twitter updates are inherently bad and found that the reality is a bit more complex than the idyllic notion many social media “experts” adhere to. After ditching pre-scheduled updates for a while here’s what she found:
The result, six months later, is that my new followers’ growth curve came to a halt, the amount of valuable content I shared dropped dramatically, and thus so did the number of retweets of my material. Granted, my real-time engagement level in creating relationships with current followers remained about the same. In the months I used the automated tweet rotation, my Twitter following more than doubled organically, whereas in the last six months, the engagement approach alone only saw an uptake of approximately 10 percent. It seems that by not having the meaty content continually being shared, growth stalled.
The reality of the situation is always more complex than some purists (many of whom have little to no actual experience on actual client projects with real business objectives behind them) would have you believe. They would tell you that scheduled updates are always bad, that things are always better if things are done on an ad hoc basis and published manually by an individual. They say this because they don’t realize the scaling difficulties in living up to that ideal.
Is scheduling tweets ideal? No, I’ll admit that. But it does allow you to keep things going while there are other things going on and produces a lot more engagement opportunities than would otherwise be available. If you’re relying on a single person (or even a group of people) to publish manually every time then you’re going to see patterns where there’s a ton of stuff published then nothing while there’s a meeting then a whole batch of stuff published again.
Even more than that, if you can schedule distribution of blog post links throughout the day you can accomplish a number of things:
- Increase engagement. If distribution of links is handled then that manual time can be devoted to responding, retweeting and otherwise interacting with followers.
- Effectively take advantage of data. If engagement analytics are showing that one time of day is better for click-throughs, mentions or some other metric and that’s not an ideal time for the team (ie too early in the morning) then scheduling just makes sense. Better to schedule than to lose some prime opportunities.
This is a tricky question and, again, there’s a big gap between what is admittedly ideal and what is unquestionably realistic. But there’s a lot to be said about scheduling tweets (and other social updates) from both an impact and resource management point of view.