Introducing Twitter’s scheduled tweets

Twitter logoThis week, Twitter announced the long-awaited introduction of scheduled tweets to their Ad Products. This means that marketers using these services can choose a specific time and date for a Tweet to go live, up to a year in advance, just like we’ve been doing on Facebook for yonks. This new scheduling feature is available for both organic and promoted tweets making it easier to plan content in advance.

The scheduling tool is can be used directly from ads.twitter.com and allows the date, time (to the minute) and time zone to be specified. The update hasn’t just been rolled out in English; scheduled tweets are available to Twitter Ads users in all supported languages, which is great news for global brands.

Twitter’s Product Manager, Christine Lee, said that the update will benefit advertisers, pointing about that it lets you “publish content at any time without having staff on call,” as well as giving you the “flexibility to plan content in advance for events like premieres and product releases.”

Although this allows for flexibility with scheduling campaign content (on weekends for example) without needing a staff member to manually post content, this should never replace the ‘real-time’ aspect of the platform, nor the authentic proactive community management. The most interesting element of Twitter is the ‘news’ stream and therefore scheduling any sort of news-related content in advance or ‘second-guessing’ any news stories could be a risky move.

Having said that, there are benefits to having this function exist as an integrated part of Twitter. Firstly, it eliminates the need for any third party services, which often cost to use. It means marketers are able to direct share pre-schedule tweets from the native platform, which allows them to keep track and analyse posts in more detail. It’s an extra advantage that Twitter has recently upgraded their back-end analytics tool.

This is also a real advantage in certain cases where the marketers may have only been able to schedule and promote tweets with paid support by posting ‘duplicate tweets’ (meaning one tweet would be organically seeded and the other would be promoted in the Twitter timeline and then hidden from the brand’s newsfeed to avoid repetition). This process can now be eliminated, making sure that only one tweet is scheduled in advance, allowing the planning of a paid media strategy in more detail with a longer lead time.

However, I think it is important to note that although this is a benefit overall, the fact that we can now schedule tweets is not the answer to a social media strategy.  It does not mean that you can pre-schedule 10 tweets a week and just leave the community to manage itself. Twitter is a reactive platform, and should be used in this way in order to gain and retain followers.

So why is Twitter doing this? While it may not be an obvious new form of revenue, it should encourage marketers to use more promoted tweets, which is still Twitter’s primary money-maker. Or perhaps Twitter is just responding to demand from marketers, who’ve been clamouring for an update like this for a long time.

Either way, this will be well-received from marketers everywhere, undoubtedly along with a few moans about how long it took to come about. And as Twitter prepares for a record IPO, eyes are firmly on the platform to see how it’s going to innovate further and justify its worth.
Emma Gannon is a consultant at We Are Social.