8 Simple Steps to Growing a Quality Twitter Following

Are you using Twitter and wondering whether it’s doing anything for your business?

Do you have a strategy? Or do you find yourself haphazardly tweeting at all hours of the day about everything from what you had for breakfast to news in your industry?

If so, you need a tweet plan.

What Is a Tweet Plan?

A tweet plan is a series of scheduled tweets used in conjunction with your real-time tweeting. The tweets in your tweet plan are carefully crafted to target your preferred audience. The result: Every day you consistently brand your Twitter presence and attract the attention of the people you want to reach, providing them useful information.

And because your tweets are evergreen, they can be scheduled in advance. This means you only spend a couple of hours writing and scheduling up to 4 weeks’ worth of tweets at a time.  Here’s how it works:

Why You Should Use a Tweet Plan

There are three main advantages to a tweet plan.

A tweet plan brands your Twitter presence. Your audience immediately knows what you want to talk about, even when your Twitter discussions take you slightly off topic or you become busy with other things.

A tweet plan brings consistency. Even when your schedule gets busy, you will still share valuable information on Twitter.

A tweet plan saves time. You can write your tweets at your own convenience and schedule them to be tweeted up to 4 weeks later.

8 Steps to Creating Your Tweet Plan

Step 1:  Choose Your Preferred Audience

Before you begin crafting your tweet plan, give some thought to whom you want to connect with on Twitter. There are many different types of people who could help your business.  You will probably have best results if you choose just one or two.  This is your preferred Twitter audience. Here are some suggestions:

  • Prospects: Find out more about what people want and connect with them early in your sales cycle
  • Clients: Find new customers ready to buy your product or service and provide customer support
  • Referral sources: Reach out to people who can help your business find more clients
  • Joint venture partners: Find other peers and research opportunities
  • Business network: Keep your business network alive and share ideas
  • Suppliers: Network to find suppliers and stay up-to-date with industry news

Step 2:  Decide How Many Tweets You Want to Send Daily

Before writing your tweets, you need to decide how many timeless tweets you want to publish each day.  You will base your decision on:

  • Your current Twitter presence and how many real-time tweets you usually send each day
  • Your audience and what they like. You are going to provide your preferred audience with content they want, so this is more a question of how much time they have for you

The important thing to remember is that your tweet plan only provides a backbone of tweetsIt should not become your sole source of tweets on a regular basis.

Many people aim for a total number of about 20 tweets a day including both scheduled tweets and real-time tweets.  In this case, a good number of timeless tweets to start with in your tweet plan would be 3 to 5.

Here’s an example. If you have 20 tweets a day on average and only 5 of these 20 tweets are from your tweet plan, you still have 15 tweets to engage with your followers and to respond to current news.

Important: The tweet plan’s main purpose is to get you on the radar of the people you are most interested in reaching. You still need to engage with your audience.

Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on the scheduled tweets in the tweet plan to connect with people and expect to build your business.  You still need live tweets to engage with people.  Live tweets help you to connect with people in a way that brings them beyond Twitter and leads them along the path you want to take with them.

Step 3:  Decide How Long You Want to Make Your Tweet Plan

After deciding how many tweets you want to put in your tweet plan each day, you need to decide how many weeks you want to run your tweet plan and schedule tweets in advance.  Again, this will depend on certain business factors and your audience.  The two important considerations:

  • How much time you have
  • How quickly you can process the feedback you get from your audience to include in your next tweet plan

My preference: As a freelancer, I particularly like a 4-week tweet plan.  This means once a month I spend an afternoon revising and scheduling my tweets. After 4 weeks, I have more insights and feedback that I’m eager to include in the next tweet plan to create a stronger connection with my market.

Step 4: Find the Keywords You Want to Use on Twitter

You use keywords in your tweets to send a consistent signal to tell others who you are, how you want to connect with them and what you want to talk about.

Choice of keywords. When choosing the keywords to use in your tweet plan, remember your preferred audience, the people you most want to connect with on Twitter.  You want to use the keywords they use.

Number of keywords. The easiest way to write your tweet plan is to choose the number of keywords to correspond with the number of scheduled tweets you want to publish each day.  So if you decide on 5 daily tweets in your tweet plan in Step 1, you should try to come up with 5 keywords.

This means your scheduled tweets will provide your preferred Twitter audience with useful information every day on each of these 5 keywords.

Suggestion: When choosing your keywords, keep Twitter’s 140 character limitation in mind. Use short words or word strings.

Step 5: Choose Different Formats for Your Scheduled Tweets

When you sit down to write your tweets for your tweet plan, you will need to write many in one sitting. Here’s the math:

  • 5 timeless tweets a day x 7 days a week = 35 tweets a week

So, if you decide to plan 4 weeks of tweets, you will need to write 140 unique tweets.

  • 35 tweets a week x 4-week tweet plan = 140 tweets

This is a large number of tweets.  So you want to make the task easy. Using different formats helps you to do this. You will be able to write many timeless tweets on the same keywords when you use different formats.

Another good reason to use different formats when writing your timeless tweets is to add variety.  You don’t want your Twitter feed to become boring.

My preference: I use 7 different formats and schedule one for each day of the week.  I also increase the variety and experiment with results by changing the order in which these tweets are published each week. Here’s a snapshot from one of my tweet plans:

Step 6: Write Your Timeless Tweets

You want to write your tweets to provide your preferred audience with the information they are most interested in. Each tweet must be unique content because Twitter does not allow duplicate tweets.

This next step of writing a series of unique tweets is simple if, for each tweet, you:

  • Keep your preferred audience in mind
  • Use one of your keywords
  • Use one format to write your tweet

If you have chosen to use 7 different formats for your tweets, all you need to do is to write the number of weeks of tweets for each variation of keyword + format.  For a 4-week tweet plan you will need something like this:

Tip: Use good Twitter practices when writing your tweets. Remember to include hashtags and limit your tweets to 120 characters to make it easy for others to retweet.

Step 7: Choose Your Times

You don’t want to publish all of your scheduled tweets at once. This does not look “natural” in your Twitter feed and you would only reach the audience online at that time.  You want to spread your tweets out throughout the day.  Ideally you will also be publishing the majority of your tweets in real time.  By spreading out your scheduled tweets, they will appear in between the other tweets in your Twitter feed.

Tip: Make note of the hours you use for your different keywords in each tweet plan.  This allows you to test the best times for your different keywords the next time you schedule your tweet Plan.

Step 8: Schedule Your Tweets

Now it’s time to schedule the publication of your tweets at the times you have chosen.

There are many tools available to do this. The two most popular ones are SocialOomph and Hootsuite.

Tip: Keep your list of tweets and refer to it along with the feedback you get from interactions with your preferred audience on Twitter to craft your next tweet plan.

Is a Tweet Plan for You?

Although a tweet plan is useful when your schedule gets busy, it’s not a way to avoid real-time tweeting.  The tweet plan’s main advantage is to maintain brand awareness consistently and attract the people you want to meet on Twitter.

But there are different opinions about scheduling posts.  Many people feel scheduling tools take away from the value of real-time interaction on Twitter.  And they are right.

You must find a balance to make this work for your business.  And you can only find this balance by jumping in, listening to your audience and tweaking the content you share on Twitter to get the best results.

What do you think? Would your business find value in using these scheduling tools strategically?

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About the Author, Cindy King

Cindy King is the director of editorial for Social Media Examiner. She spent 25 years abroad in international business development and then built her own international business from scratch by using social business networking. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.NehalKazim.com Nehal Kazim

    It’s very easy to get caught up in scheduling ALL your tweets.

    I did that in the beginning when I still didn’t know what Twitter was but in retrospect, I realize now that it does take value away from my following. I agree with the need for a balance.

    Questions can be a component of the Tweet Plan that engage your audience and then an employee can keep the conversation flowing with a meaningful reply. It can be a double-edged sword.

  • http://bolen.co/ Stephen Bolen

    Wonderful post, Cindy!

    We’ve had success scheduling promotional tweets and tracking ROI based on time of day, type of message, etc. We then save our informational tweets for more real-time interactions, which is obviously more impactful due to the time sensitivity and different style of messaging. Typically, we have our sales-type information frontloaded in the beginning of the week to help push along our longer, B2B sales cycles.

    Follow-up tweets are always helpful as well.

    Again, great insight! Thank you for sharing.

  • http://theconstantgardener-me.blogspot.com/ Constant Gardener

    Thank you Cindy. Being relatively new to frequent Tweeting I was wondering how I could get structure to my Twitter conversation so to speak. This will also help me to structure my blog too.

    Thanks to Nehal and Steven. I will ensure that my plan structures my tweets but doesn’t take them over and that I think about the time of day and even week of certain tweets.

    Find me on – b: http://bit.ly/9RsAhN t: @constant_garden

  • http://www.wchingya.com wchingya

    A timely post, Cindy. I believe tweet-scheduling can work if one knows the ethics and boundaries when using. I won’t mind using it for the sake of productivity and reaching wider connections, but in the end it’s the real-time conversations, further networking on FB, blog visits or emailing that will bring value to the relationship. Sincerity is the key. (Good point on stressing ‘balance’ to make things work)

    This Tweetplan is well structured and I am quite fascinated with your input about using proper keywords to reach potential audiences. Random tweets may bring results too, but without proper monitoring & directions it may take longer time to reach our goals. Accepting Tweetplan as a way to discipline ourselves, prevent procrastination is what I think beneficial to all social media strategists.

    @wchingya
    Social/Blogging Tracker

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    You make some good points Nehal. My main concern was losing my business focus, the reason why I was there in the first place, but following the conversations that caught my eye, but weren’t 100% related to what I wanted to get out of Twitter.

    I’ve played around with this a lot. And no matter what, I always learned from my tweet plans, not just what to tweet about, but also how to tweet with the people I wanted to connect with.

    Crafting tweets with my keywords made a HUGE difference to what I got out of Twitter. It’s as if people immediately understood why I was there and then went out of their way to connect with me.

  • http://www.advancedhiring.com/sales_hiring_blog.aspx Alan Fendrich

    This is a good, solid plan. Best, its actionable.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Stephen, thanks for bringing up the day of the week!

    I’m in France and my audience is truly international, so the time of day is always a tricky one for me. But I need to play around with the days of the week some more.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Thanks Ching Ya. As a solo business owner the first reason for implementing this was really to maintain a good business focus in my Twitter feed. Otherwise, why be there in the first place? At the time there were still many people sharing details of what they had for breakfast or lunch on Twitter etc and I was having a hard time figuring out what to tweet.

    Do you know what’s funny? When you really think about a months worth of tweets with 5 tweets a day, you become critical of your tweets. Over time you try to make them better, to engage in more conversations. I remember the first few tweet plans I really was not happy with them. I learned a lot when I sat down with the results and feedback from the previous tweet plan, and then tried to improve my tweets for the next month and having to write a large quantity of them.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Hey Constant Gardener! Thanks for making the link between tweeting and blogging!

  • http://www.vongehrconsulting.com/ Erroin Martin

    Cindy – Excellent post. Social media is all about planning and for allowing the spontaneity of interaction. What I love about your plan is the balance between scheduled and natural interaction.

  • http://www.jonfmoss.com JonFMoss

    Answers the objection: I don’t have time for this stuff! Thanks for putting out some sensible ideas.

    @jonfmoss

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Hi Alan! So, are you tempted to put something into action? If so, please let me know. I’d love to see your tweets.

  • http://www.asktheebayqueen.com suzieeads

    Thanks! Twitter freaks me out a bit.. I never know if anything I tweet is valuable or not.. Great Post!

    Suzie
    http://www.asktheebayqueen.com

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    LOL Susie! I can so relate to this! This is exactly how I felt when I first started on Twitter. Of course, now I know that if I find something interesting, someone else will too.

    I tweet on a wide variety of cross-cultural topics linked to my interest is international business. But sometimes the topic “culture” attracts people with non-business related interests and this can also challenging.

  • Chad McClendon

    Do NOT tweet quotes from other people. It makes you look like you have nothing original to say.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Chad, I disagree. Certain quotes can be very inspiring to an audience. For example, if I were going after marketers, a nice quote from David Ogilvy would be something that would resonate with them.

  • http://orkutheroes.com Zaheer (zazo)

    Great post by Cindy, thanks for sharing with us.

  • http://www.simplewebtoolbox.com/ Bonnie Landau

    This is a great post! I do use scheduled tweets to promote our blog, but besides that I do live tweeting. I had never considered doing scheduled tweets that were meant to provoke a conversation because I may not be online to answer if somebody responds. Quite by accident I found out if I use hashtags in my tweets, certain people RT them because they are following tweets with that hashtag. I think it’s also important to track who is mentioning you on twitter and do live personal thanks. I’ve seen people use schedule tweets for things like Follow Friday, and that just missed the whole point! Twitter is about conversations, and people RT your posts is a great opportunity to start talking to people!

  • http://www.collegiateliving.com/ CollegiateLiving

    good ideas..thanks for sharing

  • merrylrosenthal

    A very interesting and helpful article. It’s interesting that what you suggest is a paradox: scheduling “canned” content in advance for “live” tweeting. However, it’s a paradox that really can work to one’s advantage. Thanks for that!

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Great post Cindy! I have a small variation on this – I just recently helped develop a set of tweets to use during a Tradeshow for a client. The crafted tweets fell under the categories of Pre-conference help, Booth Info, Specials, etc.., and that allowed for the freedom to tweet real-time about great things happening right there in the Hall. We are doing it again for Macworld2010. For other clients I use this system of weekly scheduling to maintain focus, too. I like to do it on Sundays and I use Hootsuite because it’s easy to check stats. I’m a big fan of Twitter and have met so many interesting people there in chats and conversations. Thanks again for a great article – I’m sending out to the Twitterverse!

  • http://bit.ly/googlemike Mike Fraietta

    I agree with Bonnie that you should be available for live tweeting.
    In my opinion, scheduled tweets takes out the human element of your handle.
    I’m sure this can be great depending on your goal, but not if you’re looking to humanizing a company or your personal brand.
    It’s a step back into the one-way conversation world. No thanks.

    Michael Fraietta
    Jive Software Community Manager & Chief Listener
    @MichaelFraietta

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Yes, it’s often a question of mindset when something can work both ways. I think in this case, it’s more than a willingness to connect with people…probably more like a “drive” towards meeting people.

    Many people around me thought I did this to save time, and this really was not my case. I still tweeted live whenever I had a chance in addition to the scheduled tweets. It really was a question of always maintaining a business focus and doing something to connect with the people I wanted to connect with.

    I think you also need to think about your audience and how to communicate with them. Get familiar enough with Twitter and the tools so you can concentrate 100% on the communication you want to have. It’s hard to come across as “canned” when you do that.

  • merrylrosenthal

    Yes, Cindy, a combination of preset and live Tweets is the best of
    all possible worlds, as Candide would say. :)

  • http://healthdesigner.blogspot.com/ Marti

    I am relatively new to social media networking, but have tried to educate myself on its many facets. I know one of my problems is not being focused enough into a specific niche & I am working on that. But I am getting frustrated at not getting the results I’d hope for in relation to the amount of time I have put in. I certainly appreciate the information you have shared in this article. Timing is everything! :) I am wondering how long a person needs to be consistantly at this before they start seeing some results.

  • http://www.ahaingroup.com/ Niall Devitt

    Wow Cindy, great article! I think a tweet plan is great so long as you continue to interact too. Most professionals realise that someone can’t be on there the whole time. I love the thinking behind this, Thanks so much for sharing :)

  • http://www.about.me/lewisevans777 Lewis Evans

    Great post Cindy. Thanks for some useful insights. I like the structured breakdown of the Tweets that you suggest.

  • http://NaomiTrower.com Naomi Trower

    I disagree with this. I love to RT other quotes and give them the credit.

  • http://www.virtuallyamazing.com/ Grace White

    Great post, thank you. It will reinforce what I just discussed with a client.

  • http://www.beautipage.com/AandO Tisa

    Wow, thoroughly helpful!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/TisaYonts Tisa Yonts

    Wow was this helpful!!!

  • Chad McClendon

    A timely post, Cindy. I believe tweet-scheduling can work if one knows the ethics and boundaries when using – wchingya

  • http://www.barcodeid.com/ Julie Leonard

    I’m new to Twitter, and I find myself caring LESS about what people had for breakfast, or that they’re waiting in an airport or that they’re driving to a conference, or that it’s snowing outside, or that they retweeted 50 posts from other people talking about more random things that don’t interest me or my company. I have yet to see much of value on Twitter and it seems like a huge waste of time. I know everyone’s saying it’s the shizzle…. but, how so? People link to articles – big whoop. I can get links to those via the blogs and news sites I subscribe to. People answer someone else’s tweet, but we can’t see the original thread, so it’s like coming in late on a conversation! (@LL123456 You got that right. I enjoyed the trimax too!) Who wants to spend time reading that? If I search for topics “of interest,” I get a page of non-applicable randomness with the message that “older tweets are not available.”

    I (and my colleagues) have yet to see how Twitter is worth while for small, industrial B2B. How exactly do I “Find” prospects, clients or referral sources, as stated in Step 1 in the post? Very few people are “talking” about my industry (and if they are, they’re RT-ing an article I already saw in an industry journal.) I see very few examples of B2B Twitter, despite the continued claim (and is it even true?) that Dell has made $1.6 million by using it. It’s like reading strangers’ opinions of a news story. Who cares! Isn’t time too precious to read 1,000 different opinions on something, in the hopes of finding one useful nugget? If someone could enlighten me, I’d love to “get it”! What am I doing wrong? I look forward to anyone’s advice and guidance.

  • http://twitter.com/krenee76 Kiesha

    These are definitely tips that will help me push my Tweet Plan just that much further – the 7 types list is very insightful. I think everyone needs a plan – it will help them avoid flooding the stream by allowing them to spread their tweets throughout the day so people don’t get annoyed with back-to-back tweets from one person.

  • Claire Bougoire

    Twitter gets a lot better once you get dialed-in. I think the problem you are having is you don’t know who to follow or why (look into twitter lists to find good ones that others have made). Once you can figure out who to follow twitter is a great tool for consolidating that communication. I don’t have time to read 100 blogs a day, but I can breeze through 40 tweets while waiting in line for my coffee and get the highlights.

    Also, you can read the conversations as a single thread if you use the right client – look around.

  • garymonti

    I am new to Twitter. This is quite good. One problem – still a bit overwhelmed. Any references for spooling up to point where I can effectively execute what you’ve recommended?

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Michael,

    I think you need to be open that there is a place for both scheduled and live tweets. For example, when an article goes live on this site, those tweets are prescheduled so we do not have scheduling conflicts or forget.

  • http://facebook-advertising-guide.com/ Kris Olin

    Great post again here! This is a good plan, however it does seem a bit laborious. Having said that, most things that need to be done properly tent to be laborious.
    -Kris
    http://twitter.com/KrisOlin

  • http://www.sparkminute.com/ David Spark

    This is great advice. I always thought the idea of scheduling tweets was idiotic because it’s such a real-time medium. But you introduce a novel concept of creating a tweet plan of scheduled tweets to act as a backbone for your brand. Really interesting, and excellent advice for the seven different types of evergreen tweets. Much easier to think of 140 for the month. Not a tantamount project. Very doable. Thanks for the post!

  • http://twitter.com/tradeshowguy Tim Patterson

    I’ve just started lining up tweets ahead of time on Hootsuite (great tool) to go out every couple of hours, especially if I’ve got something I want to promote. I view Twitter as a giant stream, and if you just throw in one pebble you won’t make much of a splash. If you toss in a thousand pebbles you’ll splash a lot of the folks on the beach and they’ll be pissed so I think you have to be careful. By doing it every few hours the chances of someone seeing the repeat-tweet is rare (plus I try to change up the wording a bit, too). I’m finding that a mixture of pre-scheduled tweets and my random stuff is a great combination – finding a lot more click-throughs to my posts.

  • http://twitter.com/FRANKLY_ALLEN Frank Allen

    Well here goes the newby weighing in. The entry by JLeonardBIS was enough to have me comment on the real benefits to business applications and driving customers to one’s web site… After studying the whole social media phenomenon over the last couple of weeks I truly do see the benefits properly utilized. If I for example am providing real value in terms of information then as such organic growth will indeed take place. The thing is there has to be value. If I were to be flooding the Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn .. then people catch on real quickly as to what integrity isn’t! If there is a meaningful message readers will soon discover in short order what your really passionate about.

    This particular post was great and very well written (quite obviously) by someone who knows the information intimately. I thank you and the Social Examiner for assisting me in my quest to acquire knowledge of how to use Twitter the right way.

  • http://twitter.com/FRANKLY_ALLEN Frank Allen

    It does have merit and will soon be a powerful communication tool in most industries. It really depends on the industry as well. I can speak with a little authority on industrial distribution and that very few in the Alberta marketplace (fasteners, power tool supply, MRO & OEM) use social media as yet. Those however that plan ahead and become first in will have the added advantage of attracting a new group of clients… my thoughts – Rome wasn’t built in a day! Like all good things they take time and for the company I represent the use of Twitter is exactly that a mid to long term plan to educate and provide/draw awareness to our brand etc.

  • http://www.wchingya.com wchingya

    Sounds like a lot of trials and errors to make the plan work, but well worth it. :-) I’m all about experimenting too. When the scheduled tweets earned you the potential clients, then it’s another new phase of networking. I actually think there just may be a second-phase of Tweetplan for the group, don’t you think? Organizing and lists – those are the words that come into my mind.

    @wchingya
    Social/Blogging Tracker

  • http://rosedesrochers.todays-woman.net/ Rose

    Sounds like a lot of work, but the outcome would be well worth the work. Great post!

  • http://justinflitter.co.nz/ justinflitter

    Sorry but suggesting that part of a social media strategy, whether personal or business, is to plan how many tweets per day is poor advice in my book. Sure have a plan and goals and some clear content guidelines but restricting your level of engagement to x number of tweets is weird.
    If you set your tweets to 20 per day and on the 20th tweet you get 10 replies starting several conversations you’re preventing yourself from getting maximum benefit from your work

    Offline when you’re talking to your friends or networking at an event you don’t schedule what you’re going to say. Perhaps as a part of a campaign you might schedule so you can focus on the conversations, but thats a special occasion.

    Being social is about being yourself, being yourself and being social is not an automated message. Sometimes you tweet more than other days, sometimes you talk more than other days, thats life.

    Anyway thats my 2 cents worth.

  • http://blog.gts-translation.com/ David Grunwald

    Dear Cindy, thank you very much for that post. I just spent about 2 hours on Hootsuite and wrote about 10 scheduled tweets using your suggestions. It will take a while to see it it works but I have a feeling it will and I will get you an update as the results unfold.

    I would like to mention a few things I liked about your ideas:

    1. It forces you to think and focus. For my first 6 months on Twitter I had no idea what I was doing, how it can help my business, how to harness its power for my benefit. I am still learning about it constantly (and having loads of fun in the process) but I did not have a specific long-term strategy. When I first read your suggestion to schedule tweets 4 weeks in advance I said to myself that this woman is crazy. But after thinking about it, I conclude that it is a brilliant idea. If all you are doing is recycling news articles, retweeting other people’s ideas and keeping up with trends–then Twitter is a waste of time.

    2. Bridging between the old web and the new web. My company website has a few thousand pages of valuable data that were complied over several years. The website is visited by over 1,000 people a day through the search engines. Your suggestion about a Twitter strategy got me to think that I could probably use Twitter to drive more traffic to the website, as an alternative to SEO.

    3. It forces you think and focus, part 2. As you develop your Twitter strategy, you are also forced to focus better on your general long-term promotion strategy and reinvent it. If all you have to say on Twitter are RT’s of other people’s stuff, corny cliched quotes and recycled news, what does that say about yourself. Time to get off your butt and start working!

    Best, Dave
    http://twitter.com/davegrun

  • http://www.twitter.com/smartens83 SMartens

    It’s an interesting approach to create a static plan like this, but imho this is just too theoretical.
    In my eyes, a rough strategy is enough to be successful once you know how Twitter really works.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Justin,

    I think you are missing the point. It’s not about “restricting your level of engagement to x number,” it’s about making sure you are regularly providing valuable content to your community. There’s nothing unusual about it. Heck if we did not have a strict schedule on this blog we would not be successful.

    And yes, even when you are networking at an event, most people have a hope to connect with at least XX quality prospects to justify participating in the event in the future.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Phyllis, I love your story. I guess we both understand how an intelligent use of scheduled tweets can maintain the business focus of your Twitter feed and let you get on with other stuff too. And that this does not mean you are not there for people.

    You’ve also got me thinking about scheduling in tweets once a week. When I first started, I really appreciated a month’s worth of tweets in there. And that way I was sure I had variety. But many times a week would work well for me now. I’m going to give it a try.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Hi Gary, it’s a great question. I think most of us were overwhelmed in the beginning and still go through phases of overwhelm trying to keep up with the new shiny Twitter toys. I’d start with just listening. And looking for good people to listen to. Then sift through those good people and find people you really like and start connecting one person at a time. After a while you feel more comfortable and know how to lead the conversation and find the keywords that resonate most with others. Then things get easier. Hope this helps.

  • garymonti

    Cindy,

    Thank you for the thoughtful response. I shall take your advice. It
    brought back to light something I read a few weeks ago. The goal is to
    connect/communicate with people. Twitter is a tool, not an end in
    itself.

    Gary

    Gary Monti
    Center for Managing Change
    4694 Cemetery Rd, Ste 396
    Hilliard, OH 43026-1124
    USA
    e-mail: gwmonti@mac.com
    web: http://www.ctrchg.com
    twitter: http://twitter.com/garymonti
    (c) 614-226-1333
    (f) 614-245-0627

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Glad this helped you David.

    With regards to finding focus, sitting down to write a months worth of tweets really gets you to think more than just writing a weeks worth. As you can read in my reply to Phyllis above, I think I’m going to try writing them a week at a time for a little while. I find that despite scheduling them in, there is interaction, and I learn more about my audience… so I like updating my tweet plan.

    I’d love to hear if you notice any results or not. My inbox literally exploded with emails within a week of implementing my first tweet plan. People wanted to connect with me outside of Twitter.

  • http://soloicious.com/blog Solo.icio.us Authors

    Cindy, this is a wonderful post. I learned about “tweet sets” just a couple of days ago, and now I come upon your article that reinforces this. Thanks so much!

  • JLeonardBIS

    Wow thanks. Your post was full of generalities with no concrete examples or research to back it up. This is the same crap I’ve been hearing from the beginning, lots of promise and talk but no substance. How do you speak with a little authority? What are your credentials?

    At least Claire gave me a place to start.

  • Granmol

    For those that need help grasping twitter, I suggest Mashable’s twitter guide book at http://bit.ly/uDAo
    which incidentally I found on twitter.

  • http://www.craigfilek.com/ Craig Filek

    Excellent post Cindy – what I like about this strategy is you have marketing consistency, with room for personality & real connections!

  • http://twtrcoach.com TwtrCoach

    Hi Cindy.

    I am a big fan of your Tweet Plan and the principle behind it.

    Like Michael stated here.. the plan is not a ‘limitation’ but more a opportunity towards getting more quality followers. And for me like someone noted before here there is nothing wrong with connect this strategy towards your blog or other Social Media channels.

    This plan also make it easier to tie your tweets against analytical tools. Like some of the short url services has a lot of great stats you can use to figure out how your plan is working, and make adjustments as needed..

    Cheers… Are

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Bonnie, you make a great point about reaching out to give personal thanks. At the beginning of 2009 I made a New Year’s resolution to speak to at least 1 person I meet on Twitter by phone or Skype. I didn’t make it through the whole year – it often took up a full hour. But I did manage to speak to a new person about 3 times a week for more than half the year. And this really got me into the habit of quickly making the connection with people I find interesting on Twitter.

    On another note, I like hashtags for events and similar things such as my cross-cultural twitter interviews… but I have to learn to use them more often in my tweets. I don’t like reading tweets with long series of hashtags and I guess I need to get over that block so I can start using them more.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Hey, you’re welcome Niall. I’d love to see what keywords you come up with if you do a tweet plan.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    I can hear your frustration, so let me try to give you some practical advice.

    Instead of focusing on Twitter and the tools, try to look at your people skills.If you walk into a crowded room saying that you don’t want to meet anyone there, chances are you’re not going to make any connections. If someone mentions they like an article in a magazine and your response is to say that you’ve already read it and then you walk away, you’re not going to connect with people are you?

    There are different ways of using Twitter. When you don’t know where to find the people you are interested in, an easy way is to provide links and interesting information on the subjects that connect both you and the people you are looking for. It’s just a signal to let people know what you find interesting and are open to talk about. When you notice this, you should take a look at and get to know the person who is tweeting about these subjects and also look at who is following these people.

    Listen with an open mind. And you also want to make sure your communication comes across as being friendly, otherwise no one will want to get to know you more.

    If it’s too frustrating for you now, give it a break and come back when you are in a mood to be social. There will be more articles here soon about the very first step, which is listening. And I’m sure we’re going to publish more B2B case studies for Twitter too.

  • http://blog.myprojecttracker.com Barney Austen

    Hi Cindy. I like it! Started doing this when we post blogs on MyProjectTracker. Makes alot of sense – we schedule tweets out by about a week now. This will build over time though – we’re testing it to see how it runs..

  • karenhochman

    20 Tweets a day??? For anything other than a “breaking news” Tweeter, I’d unsubscribe from anyone who sent out more than 5 tweets a day. (1) Who has the time? (2) No one has 20 exciting things to say every day. Quantity is not quality; be very judicious in what you share. If you have so much to share, you probably need to break your followers into lists.

  • Mugsy

    I agree, this does make sense, and it is easy

  • Mugsy

    You obviously didn’t read the same article as me. “It should not become your sole source of tweets on a regular basis.” This is just a way to hit certain topics at certain times. You can always do your research and copy the tweets to a text document, then leave that text document open and near you. Copy/paste/enter. Seems silly to fill in a text file and not an auto-tweeter.

  • http://www.healthwriterclachar.com/ Sarah Clachar

    Great info! Thank you Cindy and commenters. Any suggestions on scheduling strategy – what time of day is best for what kind of tweets – or what day of the week. There was a slight reference earlier, but not too much info on this. I’d love to get some feedback on this.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Hi Barney! Do you use keywords or hashtags in your tweets? Can you see which ones resonate with people?

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Sarah, I’ve heard different things from different folk. In general, most people say the middle of the week works best, but weekends are also great times for me. In general, most people target tweets on the hour and around key times of the day, such as waking up, getting to the office, breaking for lunch, getting home or before going to bed. Most of my followers also respond during work hours. And I interact with people from all over the world across all time zones.

    The best thing to do is to start listening to your followers.

    On a similar topic, I want to start a scheduled “chat time” and use a hashtag for this with TweetChat, to bring others together. Just need to figure out the best time for everyone, which is not easy.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Tim, I like the image of pebbles being thrown in a stream! Be careful of repeat-tweets. Sending the exact same tweet is against Twitter’s rules. They are beginning to take action on this too. I’ve found that my tweets change over time as I learn more how to build stronger relationships with people on Twitter.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Kris, I guess this is really the marketing approach to using Twitter. And marketing requires lots of work to be done in the background. It’s also why you can’t rely on the scheduled tweets alone. You also need to live interaction to create the relationships.

  • http://brite-talk.com Andrea DeBell – britetalk

    Thanks for this post. Exactly what I needed. I’m new to Twitter and even though I like the interaction I often get overwhelmed trying to keep up with the flow of tweets. I love your recipe of mixing canned and real time tweets as well as mixing the format, using keywords, and scheduling times. Extremely useful all around! :)

  • http://richardmclaughlin.biz/ McLaughlin

    I have an unfair advantage because I know Cindy so well and I have actually see this Tweet Plan pay off. When people tell me they are starting out with Twitter I give 2 bits of advice and the second is to follow this Tweet Plan.
    I have never had a negative comment from people that have put the plan in place. Such a great way to support your live tweets, and so easy to put in place. The only question people have of me is which tool to use – is X better than Y. I answer by asking do they have a Mac or a PC. Just like the Mac vs PC choice, this comes down to a question of taste, what you feel good with and what works best for you.

  • http://www.meylah.com/ Ram Dutt

    Fantastic Model. Clear Concis with great plan. Thank You so much for well organized information.

  • John Baptist

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. Who cares if you have a Twitter following? You will never be prom queen.

  • http://www.business-academy.ch/ Jamadu

    Wooooooow this is the most ridiculous thing i have ever seen.

  • http://twitter.com/Susanna_Sun Susanna Schwab

    hi all. i’m a absolutely beginner, but already very fascinated and i can see the big picture of the possibilities of Twitter. i’d like to ask you if it’s not also a good idea to tweet something every day on the exactly same hour? you know like the first cup of coffee in the morning – a must-have? for example i write short daily horoscope following the maya calendar. so wouldn’t it be nice, if the first click in the morning is the actual information of how the day could become? like the news with the first coffee ? do you have experience in something similar? thanks for your inspiration! greetings from switzerland :-)

  • http://blog.myprojecttracker.com Barney Austen

    Hi Cindy – Keywords, yes, hashtags – no – but I should be, it would be easier to keep track i think and shorter than the keywords themselves. Have just started measurement now on the blog and hits to the beta page of the product as a consequence of the “tweets” that go out – time will tell how successful it is.

  • http://richardmclaughlin.biz/ McLaughlin

    Ching Ya, you know that everything we do in Social Media is trial and error :-)

  • http://www.mediafunnel.com/ Elise Bonner

    Thanks for this thorough report, Cindy. Another excellent service for scheduling tweets is MediaFunnel (http://www.mediafunnel.com). Easy to use, well-designed interface that lets you do everything from brand monitoring, alerts, tweet assignment, capture leads through its Salesforce integration, analyze clicks AND it is the only collaborative social media publishing platform with a built-in editorial review process. If you have multiple users contributing to your Twitter stream but you need to have some oversight to make sure brand management, legal compliance, etc. issues are met, MediaFunnel is essential to your business. (Our PR firm has been using MediaFunnel for several months and we are now helping them spread the word!)

  • http://www.ExpandTheBrand.net Tia Dobi

    As a professional GhostTweeter, I absolutely use timed and live Tweets with tremendous success for clientele. (Now if I only had enough time in the day to implement them for myself!)

    Tia D.
    Hypnotic copywriting and niche marketing that sells more
    http://www.ExpandTheBrand.net

  • Mahoney

    What is a ‘professional GhostTweeter’?

  • http://www.ExpandTheBrand.net Tia Dobi

    Hi Mahoney,

    GhostTweeting is a (newer) form of: Ghostwriting. That’s because Tweeting is actually writing (that’s published in a certain format…in this case: Twitter and the softwares that feed into that).

    A Ghostwriter is a person who writes one or numerous speeches, books, articles, etc., for another person who is named as or presumed to be the author.

    So I write Tweet messages that originate from other people’s Twitterfeeds…and those persons are (correctly) presumed to be the author [of the Tweets].

    Other professional Tweeting services I perform include responding to incoming Tweets; ReTweeting messages, cherry-picking Followers and too many line items to list here.

    Trust this helps. Thanks for asking!

    Peace and profits,

    Tia D.
    Hypnotic copywriting and niche marketing that sells more
    http://www.ExpandTheBrand.net
    (310) 839-2468

  • http://www.ExpandTheBrand.net Tia Dobi

    Easy. Hire a professional.

  • Mahoney

    Thanks Tia, that is what I assumed, but I wanted to be sure. You do have quite an interesting offer.

    Peace and profits, (I think I’ll steal that)

  • http://www.debtgotoguy.com DebtGoToGuy.com

    Hi Cindy, Great post – thank you! I will be sharing this as soon as I submit this comment, and I know quite a few people who will appreciate how you’ve broken it down into simple, implementable steps. You’ve demonstrated how we can use Twitter without going to the extremes or either “tweeting at all hours” (spending too much time) or automating everything (being a robot). I especially like your “7 formats”. Well done!

    Quick question – for anyone who may know…

    I help people get out of debt, specifically large amounts of credit card debt. While my company offers unique educational audios and videos online for free to help people make their best choice, not just selling one “solution”, there are many competitors with whom most people associate with spammers, sleaze balls and generally a bad neighborhood. I fight against this and help people avoid the many unscrupulous operators in the debt industry.

    The problem, which you may be able to identify with by now, is that “debt” is not a social topic. It’s not something people like to talk or tweet about. A search of my keywords will give you a list of my competitors, but mot my prospects. Twitter is great to connect with others in my industry, but so far it has eluded me how I can connect with my target audience who desperately needs my help through Twitter. My prospects use “debt-related” keywords when searching Google, etc, but not when Tweeting…

    Any ideas on how I can find and connect with my target market on Twitter when they are not using or searching my keywords?

    Any and all feedback and comments are appreciated : )

    BTW – I found your post at the suggestion of Richard McLaughlin @_McLaughlin — via LinkedIn / Twitter Power for Business Group. Thanks Richard!

    Thanks again Cindy!

    @DebtGoToGuy

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Hi DebtToGoGuy, I understand your problem as I’ve got a similar problem even if it’s to a lesser extent when bringing up the soft cross-cultural people skills for business. Business people don’t often like to admit publicly that they need help in soft skills. This is why I started scheduling tweets based on 5 different keywords all related to my core focus area.

    There are different kinds of tweets and the engagement tweets are the best. But if it’s hard to “engage” with people on your topic, so you need to focus on using another type of tweet.

    Try broadcasting information your ideal person would find useful. I can assure you they’ll pick it up. Make sure to use those related keywords as often as you can so they know how to find you again (this will be the kind of person who needs to get to know you).

    You’ll probably have the same kind of results as I do. The people that matter to you most will be hesitant to connect on Twitter, but they’ll check out your link and if your email address is easy to find they’ll email you.

    This doesn’t mean you should only use scheduled tweets. You’ll still need to interact, show you’re a real person and build credibility both on Twitter and on your website.

    Hope this gives you some ideas.

  • http://chrismerriman.com/ Chris Merriman

    A lot of this rings true from my experience with post dating blog entries. Thanks for the clear and concise guide :)

  • Jenni Wright

    Good article and lots of great comments too. Thank you for the interesting information one and all.

    Totally agree with your last reply Cindy, I think the clue in social media is… it’s social media. If I am going to connect with someone on Twitter I look for whether they are tweeting spam (because that’s what constantly posting “go here if you want to make money at home” is) or if they have a real connection, a social connection. I am also on LinkedIn and find that good for the longer conversations.

    I’ll give your plan a try and see what happens. Hadn’t really thought about the keyword aspect… silly me. Can you tell I’m still quite new at all this?

  • Jason Koning

    Great article, I live in New Zealand – so a large part of my potential market is asleep while I’m awake. I’m going to schedule some for while I’m asleep – see if that has any impact!

  • http://abundancehighway.com SuzieCheel

    Thanks Cindy,

    I know a need a plan and have been putting this off- what you have outlined is brilliant
    thank you

  • Tim

    1000 Tweets, impressive.

  • http://www.theindianwear.com/ Online Sarees

    Great post. thanks for sharing with us. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. I like about this strategy. again thanks.

  • Tim

    wonderful grasp of Engrish

  • Tim

    Twitter is a tool and too many people think that it is more than that.

  • http://twitter.com/srLeoSalazar Leo Salazar

    Cindy, this post is a month old but it is a classic! This should be required reading for anybody who Social Media.

  • http://twitter.com/An0n_S3c §Ë¢U®¡TY®

    Good.

  • http://www.tutkiun.com/ Mayur

    Would you like to show off your tweets on topics covered by your site?

    http://www.tutkiun.com/2010/04/show-off-tweets-by-keywords-twitter.html

  • http://www.CindyBrock.com/ Cindy Brock

    OK. Now I’m confused. I have a very small following on Twitter – and most of these people are the same people who follow me on FaceBook. So, how do I find people that might be interested in what I offer? If I go out and follow someone, I cannot send tweets to them, correct? So the only way I can get their attention is if they choose to follow me back. How many people actually follow someone that is following them? I am very open to doing this correctly. I have a book coming out next week and I want to maximize what I do. (BTW: I LOVE the scheduling idea. Fits right into my “internet marketing to do list” for each day!

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Hi Cindy, based on your questions here, I think you need to take a step back, get rid of everything you’ve got in your mind about Twitter and then come back into it and this time think about what you can say to be of interest to others. What is it about you (or your book) that would interest the people you want to connect with on Twitter. This will get you on the right track.

    Right now it seems you want to force people to follow you without giving them any reason to want to connect with you in the first place. This is why the cocktail party analogy is a good one. You would not just barge up to people, grab them by the arm and force them into your group of followers, would you? There’s chit chat first with people you meet for the first time, then you bring up subjects to see if you have things in common and, if you do, then you hook up with them elsewhere.

    The tweet plan outlined here is a way to publish the content you need to interest others. No matter how busy you get, or whether you get caught up in slightly off-topic conversations, your twitter feed will always have the kind of content that appeals to the people you want to meet.

    The dance of massively following people in the hope they follow you back does not have any real business value, does it? Sure, you’ll end up with a large list of accounts you could to spam with your sales message, but who’s behind these accounts? Will your message even be read? Probably not.

    If you have interesting content in your twitter feed and you try to connect with real people with similar interests to you, then people will start following you. As you get more followers this way, you’ll probably find there will be many more people following you than you can find to follow.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Leo, thank you for the kind words. I see you’re also involved in international business – it’s interesting how some of the tactics we use in traditional international business work well when applied to social media.

  • http://www.agent-seo.com/ Jacob Stoops

    Excellent tips. I didn’t know you could gain so many followers just by scheduling tweets. I had always had issues with large gaps of inactivity due to not always being online. Thanks so much for the help :-)

  • http://www.ingagenetworks.com Courtney Wiley

    Great post, Cindy. At INgage Networks, we tend to not schedule our tweets, but you’ve given me cause to pause and re-consider.

    Q: Have you found that a certain time of day works best for increasing responses to your tweets? For example, the last report I read said that 4p (any given time zone) was the best time to tweet.

    Do you agree/disagree?

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Hi Courtney, if Twitter is working well for you now don’t change things drastically. There are many ways to network with it. But I have to say that I’ve played around with the tweet plan a lot and it really does make a difference when you are methodically using keywords that work well on Twitter for you. I get more business inquiries as soon as I implement one.

    With regards to the time of day, I’d actually test this. I’ve head of a few people who get different results. I blog about cross-cultural skills for international business and my audience is often very present over the weekend. Knowing my audience, this makes sense to me. So the standard recommendations don’t really work for me.

    Also, once you get a following, once people know you are there and value you on Twitter, I don’t think it matters too much where they are. I have Twitter followers all over the world who like to stay connected, so I make sure I share the links I share on Twitter elsewhere too. Even the Twitter interviews are published on my blog. I’ve seen people put this type of “duplicate” information on a Posterous page or even on their Facebook profile. This makes it easier to communicate across different time zones.

    It really is about finding out what works for the people you want to connect with. So give something a try, monitor feedback closely and adjust until you’ve got it right.

  • http://www.savvy-social-media.com/category/social-media-strategy/ Gail Grannum

    Hi Cindy,
    Your Twitter strategy has added a deeper dimension to my own monthly plan. I integrate “scheduled” tweets with the interactive. Makes sense to structure my comments with the same keywords I already use in other aspects of my business.
    Do you know Google’s feelings about hashtags? Do they give added juice or penalize the use?
    Gail

  • http://www.canvaspop.com Jenn

    Thanks so much for a great post Cindy… This was very informative and took my planning and strategy to the next level.. I am so excited to start strategizing and implementing.

  • garymonti

    Thanks again for this response. Coming back to this when stumbling to learn more helps!

  • http://realestate-webpagesblog.com Parham Baker

    For those in real estate, tweetlister.com is invaluable. It will “tweet” listings to their followers on a scheduled basis. Has a number of VERY cool features… it is a part of the social media mix I use with my clients… and I ask that all the other agents in the office follow each other, and retweet. This really builds!

  • http://www.small-business-graphic-design.com/social_network_marketing.html Rhonda B

    Nice post! This is helpful.

  • Paula

    This was brilliant post. As a twitter newbie I felt like a dinosaur walking into the social media world. Thank you for sharing your knowledge

  • http://twitter.com/ram002 ram002

    This is very useful especially for beginners

  • http://twitter.com/InFioreWorks April E. Simons

    Thanks for the informative and to the point post Cindy! You make great points. I like the fact that I can schedule tweets. I am all about the engagement part of Twitter – however, there are times when I am away from the computer for an extended period during the day and don’t get to say “hello” as much as I like. It’s good to know that I can, at the very least, share information with the great followers that I am honored to have.

  • http://wearqr.com QR Code Marketing

    Creating a twitter following still just seems so daunting to me. I appreciate the step-by-step though.

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  • http://www.howmakemoneyyoutube.com Gary Travers

    Great post Cindy. Really well explained.  Off to create my schedule now. Find I am really enjoying twitter – more than I thought I would!

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  • Miss Noni Cavaliere

    Great post! Super useful…

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    Great article. This comes in handy as I prepare to increase my Social Media marketing efforts. 

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  • esta h. singer

    AWESOME post Cindy! Though my “influence” scores are high, tweet & RT good info, and interact with influencers (all whom have become friends) I find I struggle to keep up – even when I schedule tweets (use Hootsuite.) I lack daily/weekly structure and planning. Tweeting since 2009, so there wasn’t much guidance and twitter resources in early years. Thank you for a well-thought out plan! #SavedMe ;))

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  • Maria

    Great tips Cindy! I have a question: How many times per day should I post/schedule the same tweet (for instance, the link of a blog post) and how many days per week?

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Maria, this was written a few years ago. Today you would need to change the text of the tweet and test to see how often you should tweet it out. It really depends on when the different segments of your audience are online. You want your tweets to be seen by different people.









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