Scheduling your tweets is a semi-contentious subject for some who are very active on Twitter. Some say you should be present when you tweet; no scheduling. Others know you can’t be on Twitter constantly or you won’t get anything else done. This post is to help those who know that automation tools make it possible to leverage Twitter and still grow a small business. Consider one of these eight tools — they just might change your life!
1. Hootsuite  is probably one of the best known scheduling tools. Its closest competitor, Tweetdeck, was acquired by Twitter recently. With Hootsuite, you can shorten links, save drafts and schedule your tweets from a simple Web dashboard. Free version and paid plans starting at $5.99/mo.
2. BufferApp  schedules your tweets for you. You simply add your tweet and it selects a time to send it for you. It gives suggested times when it will send your tweets, but you can modify them. Free version and paid plans starting at $5/mo.
3. SocialOomph  is one of my favorite tools because it lets me track keywords and mentions that I want to follow on Twitter, plus it sends them to my email inbox. They offer a free version and a paid professional version for $29.97 per month to let you automate even more aspects of your Twitter life. The professional plan includes Facebook automation, too.
4. Timely  studies your last 199 tweets and then figures out the best time to send your tweet. The system then uses this info to auto-schedule your tweets and learn the best times to tweet as you engage with followers. Pretty powerful concept. Signing up is free.
5. Optify offers Twitter for Business and it is a robust tool set. You can schedule your tweets and track them. There is a free plan for small business, but the professional level plans (start at $99/mo) are extremely powerful and let you track your entire website including advanced traffic and lead management.
6. SproutSocial  is a holistic social media management platform that includes scheduling not only for Twitter, but also for Facebook, LinkedIn and email. You can also monitor the Web and maintain contact notes. Free 30-day trial, then plans start at $9/mo.
7. Twaitter  is a free Twitter scheduling tool. One of the things I found interesting was their Tweet Calendar, which looked useful for planning purposes. Plus you can automate your blog RSS feed to go to Twitter as well.
8. Tweetings for Twitter  is focused mostly on iPhone and iPad users, but has Mac and Chrome extensions, too. This link takes you to their iTunes listing page, but also shows other tools that are too numerous to list! One-time app download is $2.99.
Most heavy Twitter users that I know schedule tweets. It’s not because they don’t want to engage with their followers and contacts; they are engaging. They just do it at specific times. And they use one of these tools to schedule great content-filled tweets throughout the day.
What tools are you using? Tell me in the comments or on Twitter.