This is a common question for those new to Twitter, I even saw it posted today on Govloop  While I gave a short response there I wanted to also give a longer one on my blog, I hope it helps.

First off…..  There is no “right” answer.  I tweet 50+ times a day, others tweet once every day or two.  There is no magically correct number.  Your “right number” depends entirely upon your personal, business, or agency goals.   Here are some rough guidelines that I have come up over the course of my 20K+ tweets:

What time to Tweet?

The majority of my Twitter community is US and Western European based.  While I am working hard to find and engage with people in other areas of the world, the reality is that these people are awake when I am and I can maximize my waking hour interactions with people in these areas.

I refuse to use automated twitter tools like twitterfeed.  I did play with this tool, which takes RSS feeds and tweets them out on a schedule, but found that I could not control the quality of the information I was tweeting.  If you are going to tweet you should make sure you are comfortable with the information you are putting forth.  If it is completely automated you cannot guarantee that it is in-line with your beliefs.  Is your reputation worth the risk?

I do, however, automated tweets for blog posts, as I believe in tweeting new posts five or six times to reach a broad number of people.  When do I typically send these tweets, the ones that have my name own words and thoughts behind them?

  • Between 10 AM and 11 AM ET.  This catches people on the East Coast of the US midmorning and the West Coast of the US as people are coming into the office.  It also allows Western Europe to see my tweet as they near the end of their workday. 
  • Between 4 PM and 5 PM ET.  I this batch I once again maximize eyeballs on the East Coast at the end of the workday and catch the West Coast just after lunch.

I may also play with a 1 or 2 AM EST scheduled tweet to see if that enables me to get the post in front of other audiences.  Will let  you know if I do.

How Often to Tweet?

The answer does vary based upon a number of factors including your goals, the time  you have available, what's on  your mind.  However, as a broad guideline, here are my thoughts:

  • Just starting out, a newbie.  Stick to 1 — 5 times a day at most.  Really listen and focus on retweets of people you are learning from, people you are following.  If you come across something that adds value to your small community, share it.
  • Politician or Corporate Executive.  Most in this category stick use twitter for press releases, one-way communication.  If you are in this category, your team will publish information for you as it is available.  While I would urge you to follow the rules of the individual (see below) most of you will probably choose not to (and that is okay).
  • Business or Agency.  Yes, feel free to use this channel for press releases but also monitor and share information relative to  your market.  Engage with those in your community as much as you can afford time-wise.  Focus on those that you decide are influencers in your marketplace and get to know them.
  • Individual.  You will find the right frequency and your community will help you.  If you are tweeting too often with low quality information you will see your community size fall. However, unless your goal is to race Ashton Kutcher to the top of the charts, don't lose too much sleep over the community size, especially the regular ups and downs.   Be genuine, engage with the people in your community and have fun.

How often do you tweet?

For the last decade I have worked as a senior engineering manager for SAAS applications built upon the Microsoft technology stack.  This has allowed me to have an exciting day job focused on delivering real customer value in the form of products, services, and social conversations.  When I am not wearing the CTO/CIO hat I continue to engage in co-creation of value with customers, partners, and vendors and I enjoy writing this blog, engaging in conversations in real-life and twitter.  If you want to learn more about CRM, Social Business Strategies, or any other topic I am likely to have an opinion on, stop by and leave me a note.

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