Hootsuite released an AutoSchedule feature for scheduling tweets/posts automatically a few months ago and I’ve been testing it since its release. Prior to this release many Hootsuite users were asking for the ability to line up tweets or posts similar to what Buffer offers where you specify the days/times in advance. I certainly wanted this feature so I was disappointed to learn that AutoSchedule doesn’t let users have any say over when posts or tweets actually go out. Here’s my summary of AutoSchedule.
How does AutoSchedule work?
AutoSchedule is based on a secret algorithm and the following blog comment from a Hootsuite employee provides a little insight on how it works:
AutoSchedule posts for your local time that is set by your computer – The timing takes into account the different social networks, so different networks will have different times – There is no frequency control at this time – There are no timing parameters that can be set (Ex. you cannot customize AutoSchedule to work from 9am – 5pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) – AutoSchedule currently only works for 5 profiles at a time – AutoSchedule for mobile is currently not supported but it is on our roadmap
In other words Hootsuite decides when tweets and posts go out and this is presumably based on the activity of your account.
How do I use AutoSchedule?
It’s very simple really and in this demonstration I am scheduling a tweet from my browser. I click on the Hootlet from Chrome to open up the tweet/schedule box as below.
In order to schedule a webpage you need to click on the scheduler as indicated below.
This opens a bigger dialog box and you need to activate the AutoSchedule feature by clicking on the button as highlighted below.
You now have a tweet (or post) that is ready to be automatically scheduled as it is now switched on as the green button below shows. All that remains to be done is to click the AutoSchedule button for the process to be carried out. If you are scheduling a tweet from the Hootsuite dashboard the process is practically the same.
What I like
I like the fact that I can click on AutoSchedule and I can trust Hootsuite (most of the time) to set a time that I’m happy with. I don’t really have to think about it too much. I do check the times that are scheduled and I’m happy with what’s been chosen practically all of the time. It saves me having to line up tweets/posts individually one by one as that is the process that I went through before this feature was introduced.
What I don’t like
I would like a little more control over how it works. I have to manually check the times that have been designated and I do this by clicking on the Publisher option. Hootsuite should consider having a pop up or message showing the scheduled time as soon as the AutoSchedule button is clicked. Hootsuite should also allow users more control over when tweets go out. Personally I would like to be able to set times, days and the maximum number of tweets per day. I schedule and send out live posts/tweets during the day but in the evenings I tend to tweet live so I don’t have a need for AutoSchedule because I can’t send content to be posted the following day for the times I would like. This is one of the advantages that Buffer has over Hootsuite.
I like the AutoSchedule feature and was pleasantly surprised by the times that we’re chosen as they correlate with what I consider to be the best times. I still think that there should allow be more control over when tweets and posts go out as checking when it has been scheduled in Publisher is time consuming. It’s still a new feature so I’m sure they are still gathering feedback and there will be more enhancements in the future. I would imagine Hootsuite probably wanted to differentiate themselves from Buffer but the problem is, Buffer have created such a great product it’s hard not to want the same or very similar features. What do you think?
***UPDATE – November 2012***
I’m happy to announce that AutoSchedule for mobile is now available… a welcome addition!