simplify twitter 5 free tweet schedulersYou’ve probably heard that if you use Twitter for your business, then you need to be sending out tweets several times per day. Why? Because if your connections are following more than a handful of people, their timelines are changing rapidly. Most Twitter users, even active ones, cannot sit and read tweets for hours on end. The window of time when most people are scanning their timelines is usually a few minutes here and there. So, posting once or twice per day simply isn’t enough. And posting several tweets within the few minutes that you might be logged into Twitter is not effective, either, because you’ll flood your followers’ timelines for brief period and then miss anyone who might be checking in later. Furthermore, your target market may be checking Twitter more often at 7:30pm, for instance, long after you’ve logged off for the evening.

So, how do you send out several tweets throughout the day without sitting at your computer? Use a Twitter automation tool. Now, there are many purists who believe that scheduling tweets is not authentic and just wrong. However, if you want to use Twitter to widen your reach while growing your business, then the following tools can really help and all are free to try.

1. Bufferapp. Bufferapp is fairly new and they describe their service this way: “Never flood your followers again. Add Tweets to your Buffer and we spread them out for you during the day.” The basic plan is free and very handy.

2. Twaitter. This is a great service, especially if you want to schedule tweets that recur for a specific period of time. Let’s say that you want send out a tweet every day in order to promote an event that will take place in 10 days; Twaitter allows you to schedule a daily tweet and give it an end date. A free basic plan will get you up and running by logging in with your Twitter account. You can actually schedule up to 10 tweets per hour, but you might lose some followers if you post that often.

3. Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck is a very popular Twitter management tool that also allows you to also post to LinkedIn, Facebook and Foursquare. You can also use Tweetdeck to schedule tweets for the future. For instance, maybe you want to thank several people for their retweets. Instead of sending out a flurry of “thank you’s” in a few minutes, you could space out those tweets throughout the day. Tweetdeck is free and must be downloaded to your computer.

4. Hootsuite. Similar to Tweetdeck, Hootsuite provides a simple interface for scheduling tweets into the future. Hootsuite is a web-based application and is free for the basic plan.

5. Timely. Timely ( analyzes your past 199 tweets and then figures out the best times to send future tweets. They use this information to auto-schedule your tweets and learn as your audience grows. We’re still testing this one, but we like the intuitive concept. Timely does not support Internet Explorer.

Getting the most out of Twitter’s capability to increase your web traffic and audience  is usually going to involve a tweet scheduler. You may not like the idea of scheduled tweets, but it’s a common practice and small businesses use tools like the ones listed above all the time.