Welcome to another week on Catherine, Caffeinated! While I struggle to believe that January is already over (where does the time go?!), Steven Lewis of Taleist is going to keep you entertained today with a guest post about tweeting and time zones, and why you need to consider the second when you’re doing the first…
“Where are you? I don’t mean at your desk or on the sofa reading your iPad. I mean where in the world are you? I’m in Sydney, which means noon on Friday for me is 1 a.m. in Catherine’s house in Cork. If you’re in New York, it’s 9 p.m. on Thursday; and in LA it’s 6 p.m. the day before.
When it comes to Twitter this is important. While I’m awake and tweeting the good stuff, my followers in LA are heading out, in New York they’re a couple of drinks into a good night and the fun-lovers of Cork might already be in bed with tomorrow’s hangover. Out of 6,000 followers on Twitter, it’s possible a good chunk of them aren’t in a tweeting mood during my working day.
One answer would be to turn yourself into a 24-hour-a-day tweeting machine. But we all need sleep and we might have a limited window for tweeting anyway — life does have a way of getting in the way of tweeting.
Here are a few better answers…
I tweet a link to each of my own blog posts three times in the first 24 hours to make sure I’ve caught every time zone. I generally send the first one live and schedule the next two with Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. This would probably irritate you if you saw all three but I believe few people will see all three tweets and more of those who do will understand why I’m doing it.
I also have a plugin on my WordPress blog called Tweet Old Post, which periodically sends out links to posts on my blog. You might think of archived posts as “old” or “done” but your new readers and followers might not have seen them. Since doing this I have been amazed by the number of retweets and comments I get on these posts. Just because they’re from my past doesn’t mean they not still relevant and resonating with new readers. I kick myself for how long I’ve wasted them by sitting on them.
Know when your followers are awake
You want to send your most important tweets at the times of day when you’ve got the best chance of reaching the most people.
Tweriod and SocialBro will both analyse your Twitter followers and give you a report on when they’re most active — by day and by hour. There’s a charge for a thorough analysis but it’s not much and, if you have more than 1,000 followers, it’s well worth it. I paid for a Tweriod analysis which showed a clear pattern in when my followers are active. Knowing when those times are had let me tweak when I send my tweets, which has had a tremendous effect on my Klout score.
Spread yourself out
Between 6 and 8 p.m. in Sydney I watch a little TV while reading my favourite blogs. I want to tweet links to the most interesting and relevant posts but I don’t want them clustered. If they went immediately, my followers who were awake would be bombarded and my followers who were away from Twitter would get nothing. I want to prepare the tweets as I read my favourite blogs but have them sent over the next 24 hours or so. For this I use Buffer.
Buffer is a web service that allows you to spread your tweets out to a schedule you set. I’ve chosen the times in my schedule to match the times that Tweriod told me my followers were active. The service gives you a free “buffer” of up to 10 tweets (more if you pay). When I find a link to something my followers will find interesting I click the Buffer button in my browser toolbar or I email a link to Buffer. The tweet waits its turn in the queue and buffer sends it out in the next available slot in my schedule.
Between the tweets I just send out anyway over a day, my scheduled tweets and those from my buffer, I’ve turned myself into a 24/7 operation. I wonder if this sounds cynical but it isn’t. I value my followers and I work hard to come up with content I think they’ll find interesting. I’m not trying to pretend I’m awake all the time, I never send automated replies to anyone, I’m just trying to be a good and convenient source of information for everyone who follows me. If something is useful and doesn’t need to be tweeted right now, there’s nothing wrong with holding it over till more people can see it.
I put this system together when I realised how important Twitter is to my profile. It was part of a whole strategy that has seen my follower numbers go up in a few months from 2,500 to nearly 6,000 and my Klout score rise from the low 40s to 50.”
Steven Lewis writes the Taleist self-publishing blog, where you can sign-up for his social media check-up, a free email course showing you easy ways to make sure you’re using social media to maximum effect in promoting your books.
Thanks Steven! Fascinating stuff. I’m off to check out that Buffer service…