Now that I am no longer on Twitter I’m no longer required to pretend I was entirely uncalculated in my Very Good Posts. I can, with minimal fear of infamy, give some simple tips on how to present your content on Twitter so people will actually see it.
This guide assumes you already have a few followers (a couple hundred at least). It’s also gonna focus on free tools. No ads.
I’m not gonna sell you too hard on why you ought to do this.You worked hard on whatever it is you made. Of course you want people to see it. Why not spend a little additional effort to, you know, make sure it gets seen? Back when I had an account, I had 4,500 followers and my average engagement (that is, post interactions) for all posts was somewhere between 2-3% (with great posts hitting 10-15% sometimes). Considering most users hit 0.5% and 1% on average, that’s not bad. I wasn’t doing anything fancy.
Your goal: Post things people wanna engage with at times when people are actually around to do that. Simple. Let’s split that problem into two parts: engaging posts, when to post them, and how to make posting them at those times easy.
If you focus on one metric, focus on engagement. Engagement is the percentage of people who see your post who then go on to click a link, follow you, like, reply, or retweet. Focus solely on engagement and followers will come. Better, they’ll be people who actually wanna hear what you have to say.
Be voicey. Voice is a publishing term and hard to define, but the best definition for this context I’ve heard is “saying unique things in an unusual way.” For example: What profiteth a man should he have 30,000 followers, but two faves per goddamn post? That’s voice. Not everybody’s gonna like your voice. I swear, and swearing turns a lot of people off. However, I learned my audience likes or does not mind swearing, and people who don’t like me don’t like me when I keep it clean. So, I swore. Find the constellation of things about you some people are wild about and a handful can’t stand. Lean into that.
Use calls to action. If you want people to read what’s behind the link, ask people to do so. If you want people to retweet, ask them to in the tweet (use this one very sparingly, but it DOES work). Yes, it’s a little blunt. Get over it.
When To Post
The absolute best times to post are Tuesday through Wednesday from 2 to 3 PM. The second best times to post content are weekday mornings from 9 to 11 am.
My suggested strategy is to post at one of those times and then retweet it at the next peak time. (Example: Post Tuesday morning and then boost Tuesday afternoon; boost Tuesday afternoon and then retweet Wednesday morning etc).
Major problem: you have a life. You can’t always be available every Tuesday through Wednesday 2 to 3pm. So if you have the link you wanna share already or a post you wanna retweet, why not schedule it?
How To Schedule Content
There are two tools I used to schedule tweets and retweets: Tweetdeck for scheduling posts and Buffer for scheduling retweets.
First tool in your tool belt: Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck is from Twitter. It’s just a slightly different, more granular interface from Twitter. One of its features is the ability to schedule a tweet. As of today, you can’t schedule tweets with images or schedule threads, but you CAN schedule links and use a link to another tweet to create a quote tweet.
There’s a lot to explore in Tweetdeck (as you can probably tell; it’s very visually busy), but I’m only going to focus on scheduling a tweet. In the top left corner, there’s a button that says Tweet.
Hit it, and a tweet menu will open up to its right. Write a tweet as you normally would. If you hit Tweet, it’ll go out now. Instead, hit the second button down: “Schedule Tweet.”
Hitting that button will bring up a time and calendar. Just enter the time you want (it’s always the local time you have set on you account) and click the date you want it to go out.
You don’t have to do anything else to confirm. If you were just looking and your options and change your mind, hit the “Remove” button below the calendar.
If you refresh the page, you should see the scheduled tweet in the Scheduled Tweets column of Tweetdeck. Under the scheduled tweet, there should be a link to edit it (both the content and time) there.
The second tool in your tool belt is Buffer. This is a third party browser plugin and website. Once you sign up for Buffer and install the browser plugin, Buffer will be a button in your browser and under sharable content like Tweets and Facebook posts. The icon looks like three diamonds, stacked.
You can either schedule it from the dropdown menu (the arrow next to the Add To Queue” button) or just add it to the queue. You have up to 10 posts scheduled and queue at a time for a free account, which was plenty for me.
At the Buffer website under Settings > Posting Schedule you can set what times buffered posts will appear. You can see the times days I used: 7:37 am Central time Monday through Friday and Tuesday through Thursday at 2:20pm. I was trying to hit peak times for both coasts.
Try not to post an hour before or after a scheduled tweet. If you post a lot in an hour, Twitter seems to penalize you by showing those posts to fewer people.
This is just for content you’d really like people to see or for spacing out posts. Don’t use it all the time.
Not all content you’d really like people to see will be your own! Using this (posting their content at high impact times) is a really easy way to make yourself indispensable. How many times have you asked people to share, and they did it at 11pm on a Sunday or by promising to signal boost and forgetting? Stand out. If you have Tweetdeck and Buffer in your repertoire, you can hit a button or two while it’s on your mind and not only keep your promises, but do so in a way that really does them some good.
Remember when sharing others’ tweets: to quote tweet is human, but to retweet is divine. Only quote tweet if you have a full-throated endorsement relevant to their audience. Use those sparingly. Otherwise, default to passing the mic.
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