Q: I attended your Twitter for Business 101 workshop and you mentioned that there are tools that help you understand the best time to post tweets. What are they and how do they work? — RD
A: The popularity of Twitter continues to grow as they just passed the 500 million user mark and continue to grow.
Before I (@TheDataDoc) go into the specific tools that allow you to be more strategic about when you “tweet,” let’s do a quick review.
In my workshops, I stress the three keys to being successful in social communications: Listen, Engage & Measure.
Twitter has become the first place that just about anything that happens in the world is first reported, making it a great resource for listening to what is happening in virtually any industry or what others are saying about your business.
Those at the leading edge of the social/mobile revolution have figured out how to have the information that they care about find them instead of the other way around.
Apps like Flipboard (http://flipboard.com) for the iPad and iPhone for instance, convert tweets into a display that mimics magazines and newspapers, making the information you seek just show up in an easily digestible form for us oldtimers.
Following trusted sources for your information (just like you have always done offline) works the same way on Twitter. You would follow the Twitter profiles you believe are trustworthy sources whether it’s a traditional news organization or an individual that you trust as a source.
Becoming a trusted source yourself has a lot to do with what you tweet and when you tweet it. The what-to-tweet question is much too complicated to cover in this advice column, but the when to tweet will help you post when your followers are most likely to see your info.
Another issue is frequency of your tweets as it is nearly as important as timing your tweets.
I’ve tested a lot of the free and pay tools that do an excellent job including WhenToTweet (http://whentotweet.com), TWeetStats (http://tweetstats.com and Tweriod (http://www.tweriod.com) but one in particular that I recently discovered I find to be exceptionally useful.
I really like the combination of features in a tool called Timely (http://timely.is) especially for those struggling with the time element of social media.
Timely will quickly analyze your past tweets to help you understand the best times of the day to post, but then it goes one step further; it allows you to start queuing posts for both Twitter and Facebook based on the times it determines are best for your followers.
You simply go into the Settings menu and decide how many posts per day you want to make and whether you want to post on the weekends or not.
Based on your choices, it automatically queues your posts based on your settings, so all you have to do is start compiling what you want to post and Timely will automatically take care of when to post.
You can also track the performance of your posts with the built-in analytics, so you can understand the type of content that strikes a chord with your followers.
Many tools give you these types of capabilities, but most of them aren’t free or as simple to use for beginners.
The best feature of this toolset is the ability to add a ‘Create a Timely’ to your web browser’s bookmark bar which allows you to quickly add relevant information to your queue as you are surfing the Web.
If you aren’t able to sit down once a week and schedule out your Twitter and Facebook posts, you can use this tool to simply add posts to your queue as you run across information that you want to share.
If you just keep adding relevant information to your queue, you can efficiently start to build a following because it will automatically keep posting at the best times. It even alerts you when your queue is empty.
Ken Colburn is president of Data Doctors Computer Services and host of the Data Doctors Radio Program, noon Saturdays on KTAR 92.3 FM or at www.datadoctors.com/radio. Readers may send questions to email@example.com.