There are several tools available that can schedule tweets to post at a specific time on Twitter; they can be handy for a number of reasons. For example, you could create several tweets for Monday through Friday with a list of the guests that will be appearing on your podcast or radio show. You could also schedule tweets at different days of the week announcing special promotions for your small business, restaurant or whatever. These scheduled tweets could also simply be reminders for your followers about anything else going on in your life such as a tweetup, convention or other event. Scheduled tweets can also be good for those that want to post something for their international friends or clients in different time zones.
With these tools, you are no longer required to send your tweets in real time, because you can write them in advance, making them a perfect solution for those of us who can’t find the time to jump on Twitter on a consistent, regular basis. Whenever you find a pocket of time for Twitter, you can sit down, write several tweets, and queue them up to post at a later date.
Here are some of the better free Twitter automation tools that I’ve seen. There are a few good tools that require a paying a fee, but the selections in this roundup are all free, with some of them offering a more advanced premium package, should you want or need it.
Twuffer does one thing only: sending tweets you place in its queue at the times you schedule. Nothing fancy, just a simple calendar-based interface to pick when you want your tweet to go live.
SocialOomph (an app formerly known as TweetLater) provides a suite of tools, including a free edition that includes the ability to schedule your tweets.It also provides a premium suite that includes additional tools for Twitter and Facebook automation. However, if all you want to do is schedule your tweets then the free version will do the trick. There are a couple of extra perks that I’d like to mention here. Besides scheduling tweets, the free edition of SocialOomph also lets you create and save drafts of tweets that you can reuse over and over again. While that might smack of spamming, it could actually provide some non-nefarious benefits as well, particularly if you often end up writing similar tweets. The other features I like is that it lets you use your own URL shortening service such as Bit.ly, and you can also schedule tweets to publish to multiple Twitter accounts.
FutureTweets doesn’t take the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach that SocialOomph does but it does schedule tweets rather well. If that’s all you need, than this one will work for you.
HootSuite is a popular Twitter client that happens to include the ability to schedule your tweets for future posting. You can access HootSuite via its web site or any number of special desktop apps and browser add-ons. You can view, edit or delete scheduled tweets from a column called “Pending Tweets.”
Twaitter (soon to be renamed Gremlin) is another powerful suite of free services that includes a scheduler for tweets. The thing I like about this one is that it also connects to Ping.fm, which means you can not only schedule posts to Twitter but also to many other social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. It also includes an option to save drafts and includes follow management tools.
CoTweet is designed for organizations with multiple Twitter accounts and/or multiple Twitter members that work as a team to manage their online presence. Included in its arsenal of useful tools is the tweet scheduler, which has a calendar that helps schedule your tweets. Another handy tool is the ability to assign tweets as if they were tasks, thus giving your account a project manager (of sorts) for Twitter.
There you have it, just some of the free ways that you and your organization can schedule to Twitter, and some other social networks as well. Some of these services include an option to schedule recurring tweets, which could violate Twitter’s Terms of Service. Both Twitter and its members frown upon such behavior because spammers have abused this kind of feature; think twice before setting up recurring tweets too often.
Do you use any of these tools, or any others, to schedule your tweets?
Image Credit: PhotoExpress user Adam Borkowski.