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This is the RIGHT WAY to Jazz Up Your Tweets

by David · 0 comments

“One thing I like about jazz, kid, is that I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Do you?” ~ Bix Beiderbecke, Jazz Cornetist/Pianist

(Want to know how to jive up your Twitter feed like a Jazz Master? Read on. Or scroll down to the end of the article for an instant answer)

Social Media’s Untouchables

Scheduled tweets are the outcasts of the social media world. People see them as robotic and lazy. Some go as far as calling them spam.

I’m going to champion scheduled Tweets as a vital part of any social media marketing strategy. But before that, let’s find out why some people hate scheduled tweets so much.

Scott Stratten of Unmarketing is clear on this. To him, any self-respecting user of social media should ban themselves from scheduling updates. He writes:

“Stop scheduling tweets. They aren’t 60,000 word books, it’s 140 characters. If you can’t take the time to type them (10 seconds) and be there when they send, don’t send them at all.”

So what’s the big problem with scheduled Tweets? Stratten’s rant followed a mess-up by a Canadian concert promoter who continued to promote a Radiohead concert in Toronto using scheduled Tweets after the concert had been cancelled. Before the concert, the stage collapsed, killing at least one person.

Scheduled tweets can make you look stupid, rude and cold-hearted.

But that’s not the only reason Scheduled Tweets have a sullied reputation. It’s not even the main reason.

Twitter is a conversation. Scheduled tweets are seen as a way of having your say without being present to listen for a reply. With scheduled tweets, you shout your thing then block your ears.

As Twitter power user Jessica Mendes puts it:

“The problem I have with automation is that in a way, it misses the point and opportunity of social media: to see what happens when you swing your fishing line out, using your instincts to guide your timing. In other words, the power of the kismet. Who will you cross paths with this time? Who will be online looking at their stream in the moment you tweet? Who are you meant to connect with? I absolutely adore this element of social networking — like being at a really interesting cocktail party and “working the room” intuitively. Automation misses the boat entirely.”

Mendes confuses scheduling with automation. Unlike Mendes, I think scheduling is great. But automation deserves its bad name.

Automation includes:

  • Automatically sending your new followers a direct message.
  • Setting your media player to tweet every track you listen to and every video you watch.
  • Spray and pray keyword tweeting. This is where you set up a Twitter account to automatically tweet articles and web pages based on a keyword chosen by you.

Let’s be clear: automation is spam. Don’t automate. Ever.

Scheduling is different to automation. We’ll go in more depth in a moment, but for now, let’s just say scheduling tweets is no different from scheduing blog posts. You use it as a tool to manage your time, and to shoot for the highest levels of engagement.

Now that’s out the way, we can talk about jazz.

How to Tweet and Jive Like a Jazz Musician

Jazz has two hallmarks:

  1. A steady, repetitive backing rhythm, played by the band (The classic backing rhythm is 12-bar blues).
  2. An improvised melody played by the star musician. This is different everytime, and changes based on the reactions of the audience. The improviser brings his presence and energy, and draws on the energy of his audience to create a unique melody.

To tweet like a Jazz Musician, apply these hallmarks to your Tweeting.

  1. A steady backing rhythm of scheduled tweets.
  2. An improvised melody of spontaneous, conversational tweets when you’re logged in to Twitter. During this time you bring your presence and energy to Twitter.

Your Backing Rhythm: Scheduled Tweets

Scheduled tweets provide rhythm to your social media presence. They help your followers see that you’re reliable, always around, and that you offer dependable, consistant, useful content.

Scheduled tweets are good for you and your followers.

Scheduled tweets save you time. Social media can be a big time drain. Having Twitter open in your browser all day is a constant distraction.

Scott Stratten’s argument that a tweet takes only ten seconds is disingenuous. Sure, a tweet might only take ten seconds to write. But every tweet is a distraction from your work. And research into procrastination shows it can take 25 minutes to get back into the flow of a complex task after a distraction. When you need to focus, scheduling allows you to keep those pesky tweets out of mind and where they belong: on Twitter.

Tweeting well is about finding a balance between your real life and your social networks. Scheduled tweets allow you to do that. And that makes you a better Tweeter. As social media marketer Jamie Lee explains:

“If it weren’t for scheduled tweets, my presence on Twitter would be seriously lame. I’ve found that since I began [scheduling], I’m actually doing MORE real-time, manual tweeting as well. With the “burden” of getting those core tweets lifted, I have time to go into Twitter and engage more personally with other Twitter folk. It’s been a win-win!”

Additionally, with scheduled tweets, you avoid flooding your followers with a babble of updates when you’re online, followed by stark silence when you’re offline. Dumping your daily tweets into the 30-minute timeslot when you happen to be online is a surefire way to alienate your followers who are online at the same time as you. And all your other followers get excluded from your updates.

Scheduling leads to higher engagement. You reach more people, including those in different time zones. As you track engagement, you can schedule your tweets for times when your followers are most likely to retweet, reply, or follow your link. Tweeting steadily and frequently throughout the day makes you visible to more people.

Lastly, scheduling makes sense from a business perspective. Research by Hubspot found businesses who schedule tweets generate three times as many leads on Twitter compared to businesses who only tweet when they’re online.

How to Schedule Tweets Your Followers Will Love

  • Avoid the tempation to automate based on keywords. We covered that already. Don’t do it.
  • Set aside a time every day to read replies and retweets and engage in the Twitter conversatiuon
  • Schedule tweets at a maximum of one per hour. More often, and your risk looking spammy.
  • When you’re tweeting links, only tweet articles you’ve read and found useful yourself. If it didn’t grab your attention, why should it grab your followers’ attention?
  • Tweet in your niche. This is especially important for scheduled tweets, as they’re the first thing more people will see on your profile. Your scheduled tweets are the rhythm, they say “this is what I’m about”
  • Mix up your tweet types between links, retweets and updates.

Be careful. If you are scheduling news or time sensitive content, as LiveNation did for the Radiohead concert, make sure you can be around to cancel or change the scheduled tweets if needed. It’s best to avoid scheduled tweets on unfolding current events if possible.

When tweeting strong opinions or questions, do this in person when you’re online to respond to anyone who replies.

Tools for Scheduling Tweets

You’ve got more options than you can count on your fingers and toes combined. Here are three of my favorites:

  • Hootsuite. Let’s you schedule tweets in a spreadsheet, so you can prepare and upload hundreds of tweets in a flash.
  • Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck is a fantastic all-round Twitter tool. Scheduling is slow (you have to manually enter the date and time for each scheduled tweet). It’s a good option if you already use Tweetdeck and plan to schedule fewer than five tweets a day.
  • BufferApp. This is my favorite, because it’s so easy to use. You set your tweeting times in advance, and schedule tweets from within your browser at the click of a button. This is the most user-friendly scheduling tool.

Riff and Improvise like a Jazz Master

One of the biggest objections to scheduled tweets is that Twitter is a real-time conversation. Opponents to scheduling argue that you should be online every time you tweet, only tweeting when you’re online to answer replies.

In other words, you should bring your presence to your tweeting.

Sure, some people want to be present everytime they tweet. But that doesn’t mean everyone has to be.

Twitter is not a real-time conversation. When I check my Twitter feed, I read and respond to tweets that are hours, days and sometimes weeks old. Twitter is an ongoing conversation. It’s constantly flowing, like a river. But you can dip in any time.

All of us lead busy lives. We have many things we must attend to, give our presence too.

We can’t always give our full presence to Twitter. And that’s okay. That’s what scheduling is for.

Bring Your Presence to Twitter

But we should bring our presence to Twitter sometimes. And when you do, that’s your chance to improvise. To join the conversation. To plunge into the waters of Twitter for a swim among the torrent of Tweets.

Spontaneous tweets are the place where you open up to your followers. Where you bring soul to the conversation.

This is where you use your instincts to guide your timing, you follow the power of the kismet, and you allow your intuition to help you “work the room” like a cocktail party.

The constant, steady rhythm of scheduled tweets draws in a crowd, building up your followers.

Improvised, spontaneous tweets on top of the rhythm allow you to engage with your followers. They make your Twitter feed unique and special.

To tweet like a Jazz Muscian, you need a band and a star performer.

Rhythm and melody.

How to Tweet Like a Jazz Musician

Jazz has two hallmarks:

  1. A steady, repetitive backing rhythm (The classic backing rhythm is 12-bar blues).
  2. An improvised melody. This is different everytime, and changes based on the reactions of the audience.

To tweet like a Jazz Musician, apply these hallmarks to your Tweeting.

  1. A steady backing rhythm of scheduled tweets.
  2. An improvised melody of spontaneous, conversational tweets when you’re logged in to Twitter.

It’s time you got tooting on your social media saxophone!

David is Social Caffeine’s acting editor. He’s British, but we don’t hold that against him.

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