Why You Should Stop Tweeting Right Now

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…

Repeat yourself

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.

24/7 Rule17

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…

11 thoughts on “Why You Should Stop Tweeting Right Now

  1. Jo Carroll says:

    Does he do any work? Or has twitter taken over his world?

    Yes, twitter can be fun, but I’d rather drink coffee and eat cake with friends than worry about a tweet going out on time. Which makes me rubbish at twitter, I suppose. Oh well.

    • Steven Lewis says:

      I work very hard 🙂 The thing is that my work is writing then selling my books and with Twitter sending so much traffic to my site, I have to use Twitter as effectively as possible.

      I do drink plenty of coffee and eat too much cake but all my partners in calories that are going to buy my books have done so!

    • Steven Lewis says:

      As I mentioned to Jo Carroll above, I find far too much time to eat. I just have things set up so that when I’m reading it’s easy to tweet the good stuff to my followers 🙂

  2. Dianne Greenlay says:

    I have followed Steven’s site for quite some time now and he is a fantastic resource for publishing/book /social media information! And his points are always so well thought out with easy to follow instructions or clear references.
    Thanks for hosting him today, Catherine

  3. Dave Cornford says:

    I think the key thing I’ve been able to do by following Steven’s advice on this, although at a smaller scale, is that you can dedicate a fixed amount of time to twitter (half an hour first thing in the morning for me), but using Hootsuite I can tweet all day and night, at times that suit my followers, repeat things in different time zones etc. I had a “free day” for one of my books on amazon this weekend, and the tweet promotions for it were all set up 3 days before it started – I was asleep and out all day with the family while Twitter did the job and hundreds of people downloaded my book.
    Now I’ve got Twitter under control, I’m less distracted and doing more writing.

    • Steven Lewis says:

      That’s a really good point, Dave. I don’t spend any more time tweeting than I did or than anyone else who takes Twitter seriously, I just use Buffer etc. to space those out. It’s not that I’m tweeting all day necessarily, it’s that my tweets are coming out throughout the day, which is different.

  4. Diane Capri (@DianeCapri) says:

    This is great, Steven! (And thanks for bringing this to us, Catherine!) I’m sooooo new to Twitter and I find it bewildering. Truly appreciate all the great software that’s out there to help, if I only knew what it was. I was already a Taliest fan, but you’ve cemented my fan-dom once again with this how-to!

  5. Wes Alexander says:

    These are great points about twitter. I find Twitter is also overwhelming and seems pointless because the only time I have to post is when the target time-zone is not listening. Steven, you make me want to be a writer so I can sound smart on twitter.

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