Yesterday I wrote 5 tips to help increase your follower numbers on Twitter. Thanks to everyone for your comments and suggestions on the topic.
As I read over the comments I realized that there were a few more things that I’d been learning on how to use Twitter that might be worth sharing. So over the coming few days I’ll pick up a few threads of thought that your comments sparked for me on the topic of growing your Twitter Presence. Today I want to talk about a tactic that I’ve used a little lately that might help those of you who don’t live in parts of the world where the majority of your followers live.
Pre-Prepare Your Tweets
This one is going to probably rub some Twitter users up the wrong way because it is a medium which is very spontaneous and immediate – but I pre-prepare and plan a portion of my tweets.
This is something that I do with a minority of the things I do on Twitter but for two main reasons I find that it is helpful to have some Tweets that ‘I prepared earlier’.
1. My Time Zone – As mentioned in my earlier post, living in a time zone which is almost completely opposite to that of my followers can be frustrating. When I was in the US earlier in the year I realized just what I was missing out on when I suddenly was about to use Twitter in the same time zone.
For me the times that I am awake when my followers are awake are either when I first wake up (7am-9am) and just as I’m heading for bed (10pm onwards). The problem is that in these times I’m not really at my best. I tend to have more insightful things to say, better questions to ask and more value to add to conversations at mid morning here in Australia.
As a result if I think of something to Tweet during the day that is timeless (ie it’s not related to the here and now) then I sometimes save it to Tweet late at night or first thing in the morning.
2. Timing is Everything – Twitter is a medium where timing is very important. As already mentioned, if you Tweet something when your followers are asleep and it’ll go largely unread. However even in peak times if you tweet something profound just after you’ve tweeted 10 other things and it could go unnoticed – lost in the crowd of your own tweets. As a result I find that sometimes the best time to Tweet is after a pause in the conversation.
For example sometimes I might think of something new to Tweet in the middle of another Twitter Conversation but wait until everyone has had their say on the last topic before starting a new one. I find that if I do I have a lot better response rate than if I’m talking to three people about three things at once.
Tools for Pre-Tweeting – My Twitter followers will know that a month or two back I went on the hunt for tools that would allow me to ‘Pre-Tweet’ or schedule my Tweets to go off at particular times – just like most blog platforms allow you to set a post to go off at scheduled times. There are a couple of services that allow this – they are TweetLater and TweetAhead. I should point out that I’ve had mixed results with them – particularly TweetAhead which lost tweets and mistimed others. As they say on their site – they need more servers. TweetLater looks promising though, I’ve used it 5 times so far and it’s been perfect so far.
While these tools are useful – I tend to take a simpler approach. I have a text file open on my desktop where I keep my prepared tweets. It currently has a few questions to ask, a quote or two to share and a few links that I want to share also.
As mentioned above – I only pre-prepare a minority of my Tweets. I do like the medium for it’s spontenaity and fast flowing interaction and if all of your tweets were dryly pre-tweeted I think it’d reflect on your follower’s experience.
Definitely going to have to check this out more – I don’t live in another country, but I travel between time zones and I’ll have to keep it in mind when I’m in Washington at midnight…people in the east coast may not be reading at 4am.
The ability to tweet at a specified time sounds nice for those who post date their blog posts and want to tweet them at that time.
I was wondering what you were doing to off set the time difference. Thanks for posting this.
I have noticed that you are doing this with your blog posts as well. For those interested, Blogger just added this feature last week.
Thanks for the tip Darren…Certain information, especially information that you are providing to help your followers will usually be the same whether you pre-tweet or tweet at this very second…So I quite like the idea of pre-tweeting (for some information)
I happen to be a very new Tweet user. This two part series has been incredibly useful to me and I’ll use the tips you give in my next Tweets. Thanks!
I think ‘spontaneous and immediate’ can be misleading especially to any one new to Twiiter. Yes it’s great that you can send an instant message to 100’s of people, but it’s also an extremely good medium to ask questions (especially if you have built up a reasonable number of followers) and to find new information. If these are delayed or pre-crafted tweets, what’s wrong with that?
I would much rather see a crafted tweet asking for feedback or an answer or detailing a link to check out.
Someone new to twitter needs to see that it has a lot of potential for increasing your prescence in your niche and outside your niche.
Also, folllowing people that may not be in your niche can also open up contacts that you may be able to utilise in the future.
Well said points Darren :)
Time zone maintenance is very important. Most of the twitter users are from the U.S. so their time zone has to be matched if you are tweeting some links for exposure.
btw do you track your twitted links Darren?
I just wrote about Tweetburner, hope you like it – http://www.thewwwblog.com/tweetburner-track-your-tweet-shared-links.html
And i wasn’t sure if you were using that tool before!
Just learning about Twitter. Loving it, Using it. Making new friends. I do find it a bit overwhelming to keep up with everyone I want to follow, but I use some of the tools available to help. I’ll start paying attention to luls in conversation…followme..:)
Tweeter is great, and it is important to set your time zone to what the majority of your followers have it set to. Tweeter wouldn’t be too effective for you if your tweeting all your tweeters while they are sound asleep. :)
I can’t see anything wrong with pre-tweets – but then I am new.
Just like thinking about what you are going to say before you say it.
I’m not sure it’s best to gear everything up to the US audience. That’s where the recent of flood of uninvited followers seem to come from but I think it’s more important to develop twitter contacts in a home market first. That way, there’s more in common culturally, and a chance of meeting up.
If pro-blogger were to be written in more of an american writing style for example, to cater for the assumed market, I’d probably not have stuck with it this far. Seriously. There was a time when the english language internet was overwhelmingly US based but now there is room for other cultures and markets to thrive without having to always adjust to their timezones, spelling, currency etc.
So how do you handle your blog posts through Twitter? Do you match up your scheduled posts with a corresponding scheduled Tweet? Or are you using a separate tool to tweet your recent blog posts?
For example, I’m using Twitterfeed to tweet my recent blog posts, some of which are scheduled.
I wondered how you where still tweeting blog posts after you told us you were going to bed, nice tools.
Sometimes I will save a tweet for later for the reasons you mentioned … say, if I want feedback on something when most people are asleep, or in the middle of another conversation.
However, I think services like TweetAhead take away from the communicative aspect of Twitter. After all, if you’re not there when you send a tweet, you can’t respond to any responses. It’s confusing and I’d almost say inappropriate to respond to tweets a few hours after they’re sent, unless they’re very specific replies.
Personally, I don’t see a problem with timing your tweets. After all, I time my blog posts and they often go live when I’m not at the computer… twitter picks them up and tweets about them for me, so why not let twitter tweet about other stuff when I’m not actually there?
Geez, I’m tired and not making sense. You know what I mean.
Oh, and a shameless twitter plug, you can find my tweets at http://www.twitter.com/cdhinton
Ah, I’ve actually had thoughts like that. I future posted a post in WordPress, but then realized that I couldn’t future-tweet about it when the post goes live (I’d be sleeping by then). I know there’s probably a tool that allows you to do that but I just didn’t feel like testing that out just for that one reason.
Yeah im just learning Twitter i think its pretty cool how it works easy way to get noticed
Darren, I have a topic I’d like to suggest if you wouldn’t care to cover it, please…
Since I signed up for Twitter, I’ve been trying to participate, but I’m not quite sure what to Tweet. I share my new blog posts, link to new editions of my newsletter and e-zine and I share links to articles and blog posts I enjoyed reading. However, when I try to participate in other ways, I’m lost, so to speak. Instead, I just sit and read the conversations; I don’t know what to say. If someone asks a question I can answer, I’ll answer it, but as far as starting a conversation, I don’t know where to begin, and not sure how to jump into a conversation without being rude. Do you think you could cover a topic telling new Tweeters like me how to start a conversation with your followers? I sure would appreciate it.
This might rub some the wrong way but it’s an excellent idea and I agree with it whole-heartedly. How many times do you try to mentally remind yourself to say something in a couple of minutes or do something later today only to find that you end up forgetting? If you’re as busy as I am sometimes (and we all are), then it’s happened on more than one occasion.
Preparing your tweets and having them written and within reach as a reminder to tweet in a few minutes or in an hour or so is a great idea! It may sound schemish (it’s not a word but you know what I mean) but it’s a great way to ensure you get your message across.
To answer Misti’s question, you really just need to jump in and not be afraid. If someone replies, great. If not, then think of ur tweets as adding to the greater good of the Internet.
Don’t expect a ton of responses at the beginning. Like most social media, it takes time. I’m just now starting to get a few more responses from my tweets (& I have a following in the mid 100s).
I think that the key thing is to be urself (especially if you are generally a pleasant person, which you seem to be). Most people normally welcome compliments, suggestions & sometimes advice. Wittiness definitely helps, too!
TTYL (tweet 2 ya L8R)!
Yes, great idea. Pre-prepared tweets can be one answer to “how to start a conversation with your followers?” Particularly, for someone like me who wants to make new friends. Friends who are not interested in the topic of my blog – Pune real estate market. But when we follow each other because we share some common interest like social media marketing or SEO.
eMarv, Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it very much.
The pre-preparing of tweets is a great idea. It allows you to spread your updates out a bit instead of having to cram them all in together. I’m using a simple notepad file, saving a the headline and link or a short comment. From there, it’s a simple copy and paste.
so that’s not you I see on Twitter some mornings when I get up at 4am :) I thought you were an early riser.
This is great Darren, I can now work out how to get more followers etc and hence more exposure.
I do love the way you keep adding value here that helps all of us would be 6 figure bloggers
Timing is very important. Waiting for a captive audience is the most effective way to provoke interesting conversation… and isn’t that was Twitter is all about? For years I have been using a similar tactic for everyday conversation. I’ll think of something and then wait to ask it during lunch with a group, or during happy hour. One drawback to using TweetLater could be that you are not present to respond… which to me, diminishes the continuity of a conversation.
Thanks for the tips Darren!