How to Batch Schedule Tweets with Hootsuite

Tired of writing each tweet by hand? Instead of individually scheduling every tweet, you can write them in a group (batch) and then upload them all in one go. I use Hootsuite to do this, though there are other tools that let you do the same thing. Socialoomp is another I use, though the UI is a bit flaky.
Batch schedule tweets with Hootsuite

How to Batch Schedule Tweets with Hootsuite

The first thing you need to do is write the tweets.
In Hootsuite, you need to follow this format:

DD/MM/YYYY

HH:MM,

“MESSAGE”,

“URL”

Batch Scheduling Tweets – Setting up the Dates

Note that all dates/times are relative to currently selected time zone. You can setup the option under the Admin section in Hootsuite.
Batch Scheduling Tweets – Setting up the URLs
URLs must contain “http://”
Batch Scheduling Tweets – Sample Format for Batch Tweet
25/12/2011 12:00,”Enter your message here”,”http://www.ivanwalsh.com”
This tweet will go out on the 25th of December 2011 at mid-day, which is kind of handy as you’ll probably be at home on Xmas day.

Batch Scheduling Tweets – Other Rules

  • Schedule messages at least 10 minutes from upload time
  • Assign times that end in 0 or 5, e.g. 10:00 or 10:45
  • One messages per time slot
  • No duplicate messages

Using Excel to Create Batch Schedule Tweets File

If you use Excel, format the first column to conform to HootSuite’s date requirements.
To do this:

  • Click on the “Custom” tab in Format.
  • Save your Excel document as a .CSV file.

Batch Scheduling Tweets in Hootsuite

Batch schedule tweets with Hootsuite

  • Create the file with the .cvs extension
  • Open Hootsuite
  • Click in the Compose Message Box
  • Click the Calendar icon (i.e. To schedule a message)
  • Click the Schedule in Bulk option
  • Select your file and upload it
  • Select the Twitter account you want to use (otherwise it defaults to the first account)
  • Click Submit

If it doesn’t work, look at the next section for answers.

Common Errors With Batch Uploads in Hootsuite

You may encounter the following errors:

  • File format – make sure it’s .cvs
  • Make sure your text editor doesn’t strip out the formatting. I use TextEdit (Mac) and NotePad++ (PC)
  • Be careful when you save from Excel to .CSV that the formatting doesn’t get mangled.
  • Dates are the wrong way around. 07/05 can mean May 7th or the 5th of June. Check your settings in Hootsuite and use the same format.

Sample Batch File For Scheduling Tweets

Start with a short test, such as the following:
28/07/2011 11:30,”test – pls ignore”
28/07/2011 12:30,”Social Media writing skills – what do you want to know?”
28/07/2011 13:30,”Social Media writing skills – drafting ebook today”
and then create longer batch files depending on your needs.

Why Schedule Tweets?

I do this (mostly) when I want others to know that I’m:
Bulk schedule tweets with Hootsuite

  • Working on a new project that coming online soon, i.e. Create interest in advance
  • Writing a new ebook, such as Social Media Writing Skills, and I want questions from others to help write the material
  • Looking for answers for an on-going problem, e.g. Does social media justify the efforts

I also use to schedule shoutouts to others and Follow Fridays. Why wait til Thursday night to do it!
Conclusion
The key is to use a little common sense. See what you can batch and then do it. Make sure to engage with others in real-time as well to balance your twitter streams. And make sure to monitor the results. See if it works. Are you getting feedback? Do people respond to the tweets? Are more clicking through to your site?
Do you schedule any of your tweets?

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