Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
If you find yourself only spending an hour or two on Twitter everyday, you might be flooding your timeline with a lot of tweets, rather than spacing them out. This could be costing you followers, and also means that a lot of your followers could be missing out on some great content you’re sharing.
We’ve come up with the perfect way to figure out when to post your tweets, what services to use to automate the process, and also have a few tips and tricks for you on how you can keep your schedule filled even when you’re on the move. While this post focuses on Twitter, you can also use Buffer to schedule your LinkedIn, Facebook profile or Page updates.
Figure Out Your Schedule
The first step to automating your timeline is figuring out the best time to tweet. A service that will come in handy is Tweriod, which does all the heavy lifting for you. Simply connect Tweriod to your Twitter account and, depending on the number of followers you have, it could take anywhere from about 10 minutes to a couple of hours to come up with a tweeting schedule tailored to suit your needs.
Tweriod’s report is packed with useful information. It tells you the best times to tweet on each day of the week (based on when most of your followers are online), and also tells you when your tweets get the most exposure.
Tweriod also provides a graph letting you know how many of your followers are on at any given time of the day, and another which tells you the days and times you receive the most replies.
While you can analyze all of this information and create a tweeting schedule for yourself, Tweriod can actually be used together with another service to automate the entire process.
Send Your Schedule to Buffer
Once Tweriod has provided you with a schedule, you can save it to Buffer, a free service which allows you to automatically tweet out updates at specific times of the day.
With Buffer you can manually create a schedule, but Tweriod makes it much easier. At the top of your Tweriod analysis page, hit the ‘Connect with Buffer’ button, and it will automatically copy your schedule. If you feel there are certain times that you also want your tweets to go out, that have been excluded by Tweriod, you can always manually add them to your schedule.
If you haven’t used Buffer before, be sure to check out our in-depth review of the service.
Save Your Tweets to Buffer
Now that your schedule is in place, you can start to queue up your updates when you’re at your computer. Using Buffer’s free add-ons for your browser of choice. You can also use Buffer with a variety of apps including IFTTT, Pocket, Reeder, Newsmix, Pulse [No Longer Available], Zite, Flipboard and more.
To send stories directly from Zite or Flipboard just use the Email to Buffer option. Buffer provides you with an email address specific to your account, which you can save to your contacts. To send a story from your preferred reading app, select the email option, and enter the text of the tweet as the subject, placing the link in the body of the email.
IFTTT + Pocket + Buffer
IFTTT, if you’re not familiar with it, is the ultimate automating machine which makes your online life easier than ever. If you haven’t already discovered the awesomeness that is IFTTT, be sure to check out our original review here, as well as some great tips and tricks on how to get the most out of the service.
IFTTT makes it easy to put your Buffer schedule to work, without having to be at your computer at all, together with a read-it-later service like Pocket. If you prefer Instapaper, you can use it instead, as it is also supported by IFTTT.
Picture this scenario – you’re at your computer saving interesting posts and articles to Pocket (or Instapaper) all day. You might also be saving them from mobile apps like Zite or Flipboard to read offline later. Once you’re ready to read them, whether at your computer or on your phone, you want to share them to Twitter. Instead of, once again, flooding your timeline, you can space them out using IFTTT.
Log into IFTTT and add your Pocket or Instapaper and Buffer accounts. The recipe you will need will automatically send archived items from Pocket to your Buffer schedule. If you prefer Instapaper, you can use a recipe that sends your Liked items in Instapaper to Buffer.
Don’t Be a Bot
Now that you have your entire system in place, a word of warning: don’t be a bot. While it’s great that you can automate the posting of interesting articles, be sure to still engage with your followers. Spacing out your tweets could easily gain you new followers, but if those followers get the sense that your feed is entirely automated, that may eventually drive them away. Don’t automate all of your posts, and be sure to continue to engage with replies, retweets and more.
Do you have any tips or tricks on how to automate and schedule your tweets? Let us know about them in the comments.