Those scheduled tweets are so obvious
What is the point of Twitter, you ask? It’s certainly not an advertising tool to be used in the middle of the night while you’re nestled up sleeping. If you’re a small business and you have tweets going out every hour on the hour at all hours of the day, how obvious do you think it is to your followers?
The point of Twitter is to engage in real-time. It’s to share information and communicate with one another. It’s not to be used as a tool to blast your readers with thoughtless marketing slogans. And, in fact, when avid Twitter users see this going on, they do one of two things – they either delete you, or report you for spam.
Now I get that it’s hard to be on Twitter all the time. But if you’re going to be there at all, be real. Talk to your followers. Learn from them. Share with them.
The worst scheduled tweet timing ever
Scott Stratten, better known as the guy behind UnMarketing, wrote a fabulous blog post the other day – Worst Scheduled Tweet Timing. Ever.
Stratten points out that social media runs in real-time. “If you want to play in the pool,” he says, “you better be in the pool for the entire party.”
As an example of a badly timed, pre-scheduled tweet, Stratten shares this story:
“There was a RadioHead concert scheduled tonight in Toronto at Downsview Park. Tragedy struck, and some of the staging collapsed before the show, where at least one person died and many more [were] injured. Obviously the news spread like wildfire.”
In his post, Stratten shared links to posted tweets, some of which express great sadness over the tragedy. At the time, LiveNation, the promoter of the event, also sent out a tweet to let fans know that the show had been cancelled. Half an hour later, LiveNation posted another tweet; this one was very obviously pre-scheduled.
The first tweet read: “Tonight’s @radiohead show has been cancelled. Please do not make your way down to the venue. More details to follow.”
Thirty minutes later, the follow-up tweet read: “Help us create a @radiohead photo album from the show! Share your Instagram photos from the show tonight with the hashtag #RadioheadTO
Whoops! Not only did LiveNation post a tweet asking readers to hang on for more information, but it also provided followers with a rather insensitive follow-up tweet that had most obviously been pre-scheduled. The tweet in question was met with some rather unhappy feedback.
Mistakes happen. We’re human, and humans run our brands. This type of mistake, says Stratten, is preventable, though.
“Stop scheduling tweets,” he says. “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.”
“The problem is LiveNation wanted the benefit of people tweeting about a show in real-time, without actually being there in real time themselves,” Stratten continues. “That tweet sat there for about 45 minutes before somebody took it down. That’s about 45 days in Internet time.”
If you have to pre-schedule tweets, make them generic. Better yet, just don’t do it at all. Twitter is an amazing tool, if it’s used correctly. Using it to share information about yourself without giving readers an opportunity to engage with you defeats the purpose of Twitter entirely. As Stratten says, “If you want to play in the pool, you better be in the pool for the entire party.”